Oftentimes we are told to do more, work harder, and restrict calories to lose weight. I can tell you from personal experience that I did not find my healthiest or strongest self in this mindset. When I first began my fitness journey, in 2015, I went 12 weeks without missing a workout, without eating out, or eating a single food I deemed “unhealthy”. I would go out for dinner with friends and just order tea, and eat when I got home. I would workout despite being sick because I thought I was being tough.
This sounds like dedication, right?
Practicing fitness in this way gave me anxiety about social situations (which I never had before) and was really just creating a new unsustainable way of living. Here are 5 reasons to ditch the all or nothing approach:
- It’s Unsustainable: I always tell clients to make lifestyle changes they can stick to not ones that have an expiration date. For example, if your goal is to lose 20 lbs in 2 months, you will have to go to drastic unsustainable measures. Ie. extreme diet restriction and frequent intense workouts. Whereas if you don’t give yourself a time frame to lose the weight and simply focus on adding more whole foods, protein, complex carbs, and consistent strength workouts, you’re likely to reach your goals and sustain them long term.
- Rest Days are Important: We need breaks from working out. I hate the quote, “The only workout you’ll regret is the one you don’t do!” BS! When you’re sick, feeling like you’re on the verge of getting sick or you’re plain exhausted and run down, rest! The gym will be there tomorrow. Our bodies are not machines and we have to treat them with the love they deserve.
- Your Happiness Matters: When we overdo things and experience burnout, our spirit suffers. Working out and eating healthy should feel good! It should not feel like a burden. Think of extreme dieting and workout routines as a pendulum: the harder you force yourself to stick to a rigid and demanding routine, the harder the fall will be when you enjoy your favorite treat or skip a workout. Whereas by implementing healthy sustainable habits to fall back on, we can enjoy a satisfying yet “unhealthy” meal, without guilt or fear of falling off track!
But what the heck is a balanced approach to fitness?
Some days I don’t want to workout, some days I don’t want lots of vegetables. That’s reality. When you start to look at being active and eating well as a lifestyle, it’s easier to remember that missing one workout or eating poorly at one meal or for one week won’t undo all your hard work. It’s what you do consistently that gets you results – good or bad. So those days you struggle, just remember, sometimes “something” is better than “nothing”.