Quick Fix vs Lifestyle – Make your mind and body work for you!
Ok, hands up who would love a quick fix to drop some weight, tone up your tuck shop arms, and banish your housework? Hmmm, wouldn’t we all! But, just like housework, any quick fix for your health just leaves a bigger mess to clean up later.
Perhaps it’s time we stopped focusing on expecting quick results and started to focus on the long game of a healthy lifestyle. But how?
Rely on routine
Motivation can be a great driver to achieve your goals. There’s only one problem, motivation is like an unreliable boyfriend – never there when you need it most! Instead of relying on motivation, take control of your routine. Schedule your workouts or meal prep into your day. We know this is hard with, well, ‘life’ but if you make a non-negotiable commitment to that time for your health, just as you would make a doctor’s appointment, it will become a habit that doesn’t need (or rely) on motivation.
Stop being so mean… to yourself!
That little inner critic can be a nasty piece of work. Self-criticism is associated with increased stress, binge eating and depression. This is often why the ‘quick fix’ doesn’t work for health because we haven’t worked on the most powerful fix of all, our mind.
It’s time to acknowledge your inner critic and take away its power over you. And while you’re at it, ditch the all-or-nothing perfectionist attitude too. Science says that practising self-compassion boosts your ability to achieve lasting health. So, next time your inner critic raises its voice, challenge your thoughts and redirect them to a more compassionate approach (like you were talking to a friend).
Is your metabolism really to blame?
Metabolism is simply the bodies process for burning fuel (calories). Some people require more fuel to function and others require less. Whether you have a fast or slow metabolism, if you’ve gained weight it’s because you have not adjusted your calorie intake to meet the needs of your body, therefore you store the excess energy as fat.
It’s time to stop blaming metabolism and start listening to your body. Question whether your hunger is thirst, whether you feel full and if you really ‘need’ that cookie with your coffee.
Being aware of your metabolic needs gives you the power of knowledge. As you age you require less energy to function because you tend to have less muscle mass and more stored fat. The good news is, if you burn off fat and build lean muscle mass your ability to burn calories improves.
Manage your expectations
Your current health status is a culmination of years (or possibly decades) of lifestyle habits. A habit is a subconscious choice that you’ve practiced over and over. Avoid setting yourself up for disappointment by expecting a quick fix in habits. Habits, by nature, take time to form but that doesn’t mean you can’t change them. The key is to be patient, consistent and make small incremental changes. We often make grand statements about stopping this habit or restricting that habit. The second we do that we are creating a battleground for our mind. Instead of fighting your perceived ‘bad’ habits it’s more effective to look at forming a new habit that gradually crowds out the old one.
Learn a new language
Habla Espanol? No, we don’t mean Spanish! By simply changing the way you use words you can reframe your behaviours. Research suggests that changing your words from restrictive, such as “I can’t have that chocolate cake”, to choice-based language like, “I don’t need/ want that chocolate cake” empowers you to make healthier choices. Try it!
Measure your success
Using the scales to measure your success is the ‘quick fix’ option. Yes, it can be useful to monitor your weight, but don’t use that as your measure of success. Try monitoring your moods, energy levels, sleep, sugar levels, how your clothes fit, hitting specific targets such as increased water intake, or the positive example you’re setting for your kids. And, remember to celebrate your wins!
Ultimately, the ‘quick fix’ option is not going to give you the long-lasting results you want, whatever they may be. Living a healthy lifestyle will have positive side-effects beyond weight loss but remember, “Life may not always be the party we hoped for, but while we’re here we may as well dance” (JC Stein).
We would love to see how you’re incorporating healthy living and your dance workouts into your life, so please share your experience with us in the Strictly You Facebook Community.
Words by Kylie McCorquodale BSc (Biomed) Dip.Ed.
Kylie McCorquodale is a health writer who specializes in medical, fitness, wellbeing and educational content. Her passion for healthy living is balanced by a penchant for wine and chocolate. Kylie trains daily for triathlon and is willing to dive into the deep end of almost any adventure.