How many times have you heard this, “if I just eat this, I’ll have my summer bikini body in a few weeks!” OR “If I just do this exercise my abbs will pop in a week!”
As much as we want a fast track to results with health, there are no shortcuts. We seek the shortcut as we don’t want to put in the hard yards. We don’t want to find the discipline needed to bring long term change with our health and lifestyle.
Thinking like this has people on the yo yo dieting cycle that is largely mindset not physical changes. I learned in my days in the Australian Army that discipline meant doing the opposite of what I felt like doing.
The quick fix generally comes with instructions like, just eat cabbage soup every day for three weeks. No, please do not do this, although I remember a few decades ago being the latest fad. It is not nutritionally sound on any level. The quick fix appeals as it seems simple to achieve. The thoughts of “I can do that” over run the reality of what may really happen.
What I have seen in my clinic experience is that, the fixed mind on that quick fix result results on obsession and eventually runs either of two ways.
1. A few days into this the person is in overwhelm and stops because it is too strict to adhere to. They stop all together and generally break out in the opposite behaviour, like give up and binge eat.
2. They run with the idea the few weeks and that brings a result that is not maintainable. This is because they go back to the old habits that got them out of balance in the first place.
So, what’s the answer? My goal as a naturopath has been to help people to succeed. To win, and really feel that any changes they make to health and lifestyle are achieved and maintained long-term. To break the yo yo cycle. Now this is not just with diet and exercise. This can be with sleep, positive thoughts or even dealing with emotional triggers. If we try to make radical change too fast, we are more likely to fail.
I would rather see someone make change progressively and build on each level of change for long-term results, than go out too fast, fall over and give up.
Imagine this scenario with your sleep. If I thrive on being a night owl, hearing that going to sleep before 9.30pm can support stress hormones and adrenal glands can be motivating enough to think about going to bed earlier. The thought of doing that every night of the week will immobilise most people. It is too much of a radical change too fast. The idea of going to bed early five nights a week to begin with feels achievable. So, when 9.30pm comes and I think to myself, “I really should go to bed”, the old me kicks in and I think no, I don’t want to do that. Tapping into discipline, we instead think, I want to stay up, however Jen said do the opposite. Even five days a week will start to gain the health benefits of dealing with stress better. This becomes achievable and able to be built on where being too strict is not.
Long-term change will only come with the discipline to make maintainable changes. Starting a new regime short term and no structure for maintenance is a recipe for failure.
Let’s set people up for success. The closer we stick to the plan the faster we get the results, true. Going out too fast and giving up will never bring the desired long-term results and change.