Maybe you don’t complete cardio for the full 30 minutes, maybe you don’t eat the same way in front of others as you do alone, maybe you ignore what your body is telling you when an injury recurs because it’s better to be tough than care for the problem, maybe you have a gym membership with automated withdrawals that you haven’t used in over 6 months, maybe you are a size 14 but hold onto your size 8 clothing, maybe you say negative things to yourself about your body when the truth is your body does an incredibly effective job and generally looks quite nice.
Did something immediately pop into your head? When we strive to be healthier, slimmer, or more athletic we only stand in our way when we avoid the present truth. The fact is – if you don’t REALLY know where you are you can’t get where want to be.
This is not a guilt ridden suggestion. Having been privy to hundreds of individuals’ stories and struggles with weight loss, food and fitness programs, I want to help you see your habits clearly. When you truly see where you are you will know HOW to get where you’d like to be. Clearly seeing where we omit, exaggerate or (most popular) ignore healthy or unhealthy habits is an incredibly liberating experience. You will find room to celebrate how well you are doing in some areas and a clear perspective on the habits that are standing directly in your way.
How does one get honest about the big healthy habits?
Hire an expert or write it down. I inadvertently did both – and even as a fitness professional for almost ten years with plenty of great healthy habits – I had a moment that wasn’t pretty. About a year ago, while seeing a chiropractor, I was asked to keep a food log. No problem I thought, I have clients do this all the time – had the form already in my files and was almost proud to share my diet. In the prior two years, although good to begin with, I had revamped our household’s cooking and eating patterns. We had fruits and veggies coming out our ears, variety on the plate, seasonal foods incorporated, lean meats and fiber gracing every dinner and occasional indulgences to keep the balance. So, I was shocked and a bit more than embarrassed to see that in one day I had consumed four cans of Orange Fanta. Yes, FOUR. I might as well have been injecting high fructose corn syrup and Yellow Number Three. I’m not oblivious. I know the importance of diet much more than most but, even an as an expert in the field, I had slowly developed a bad habit.
How do you develop a bad habit?
Take a look at the first habit that popped into your head. Usually, rationalizing and no self monitor facilitate untruthfulness. In terms of my experience, when I quietly noticed that the pop seemed to be gone rather quickly, I thought: “someone else must be drinking it too” (nope – hubby, babysitter and toddler are not to blame) or “it was OK because I had such an active job” (ignores the detrimental effect on my teeth, bones or organs), or “it wasn’t really that much because I have no other vices or indulgences” (that’s akin to: “I don’t have to change the oil in the car because I always rotate the tires.”) I share this with you to remind you that it happens to all of us and to offer my support and encouragement.
What you can do
I invite you to take a look at your habits – see where you really are and you will absolutely be better suited to get where you want to be. Do you remember the thought that popped into your head at the start of the article? I suggest this is your starting point. Keep a log for one week; whether it’s exercise, taking your medicine, negative chatter about your body or what you are eating. Follow the steps below:
- Focus on your immediate thought to “How do you mislead yourself?”
- Write down that habit/thought pattern honestly for one week
- Take look once the week is up
- Decide how you could best help yourself (remove the candy jar from your desk and buy yourself fruit for break time, complete your cardio during your favorite show, see a physician regarding that injury and really follow their advice, donate the “skinny clothes” to a charity, replace the urge for negative chatter with thoughts about the assets your body has)
- Implement and record the new healthier habit and/or enlist the help of a professional
- Celebrate your new, heathier habits
Give yourself that sense of perspective and accountability. My sincere hope is that you find success by being willing to take an honest look because even in healthy habits, the truth will set you free.
Michelle Blakely, NSCA-CPT, USAW
President, Blakely F.I.T. Inc., Outstanding Personal Training Exclusively for Women
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