I’ve become more aware over these last few weeks that my belly is getting kinda squishy. My first thought was, I need to start doing some Pilates. However, my current exercise routine includes two strength days, two run days, two bike days, one or two swim days, and two yoga days. The observant person will notice that adds up to nine or ten, therefore many days have two workouts, either back to back or split up.
Clearly, a lack of exercise is not to blame for the squish.
It’s the mindless snacking, the rationalized treats, and the second helpings that are to blame.
Studies are mixed regarding whether exercise suppresses or enhances appetite. Whatever the outcome of that, though, you can easily undo your hard-won calorie burn with a few seconds of pleasure. Literally. A three mile run may burn 350 calories. Two plain Krispy Kreme doughnuts have 380 calories.
What’s easier? Running for 30+ minutes or NOT eating the doughnuts?
However, when we think about what can we do when we need to drop a few or tone up, exercise is the first thing that comes to mind…mine at least. As a health coach specializing in fitness and nutrition, I know that you can’t out-exercise your fork; that you get fit in the gym and lose weight in the kitchen. So why would my first thought be to do more exercise?
Stepping aside for a moment, let’s look at someone embarking on a new diet plan. Maybe it’s vegetarianism, maybe it’s paleo, but chances are it’s drastically different from how that someone is currently eating. Why? Why not just tighten up their current diets, ditch the sugar, white flour, huge portions and late night snacks, and carry on with a lightened up version of their normal? Instead, they spend hours on Pinterest researching recipes. They clear out their pantries and go shopping for ingredients they’d never heard of before. They get excited about it, telling anyone who will listen – and often those who don’t even care to – how awesome their new diet is. Nay, how awesome their new life is.
Why? Why is it easier to think “I need more exercise” rather than “don’t eat that”? Why is it easier to overhaul your entire pantry rather than just make some moderate and beneficial changes?
In both cases, I believe the answer is ACTION.
It’s something to DO. To brag about. Get pumped up for. You’ll find a new community – whether it’s a new group of hard-ab’ed people in Pilates or an online forum of people navigating the same new diet as you. You can post to Facebook – “My abs are kiiiiiiilling me!!!” or post a pic of your latest clean eats creation. You get Likes. People are cheering you on and praising your willpower and dedication. It’s very motivating. You’re doing something to improve your health and life.
But on the other hand, making small moderate changes is hard. Somehow, bragging on Facebook that “I kept my portions small and rational” doesn’t pack the same punch. Somehow not eating dessert in bed after the kids have gone to bed seems harder than finding time for another fitness class. That sounds ridiculous to write out. It’s saying that it is easier to run 3 miles than not eat two doughnuts.
But what we eat is a complicated function. It IS easier to follow a whole complicated new diet because it gives us hard rules to follow. Staying consistent with moderation is hard, because a lot of times one is too much but a thousand isn’t enough. We have habits, emotions and routines set up around our foods. When you make drastic changes, it throws all that out the window. If you’re lucky, some of your new changes may stick. But most people lose interest and return to all their old comforts when the initial excitement wears off.
So what I’m proposing is a six week Action Plan of small, simple things you can DO. Rather than “not eat dessert” we’ll be talking about easy, actionable things designed to outsmart your willpower.
You don’t need to spend hours reading the latest dietary bestseller, scouring Pinterest, and killing yourself at the gym to tone up and lose a few pounds. You just need a bit of common sense, and something to get excited about!
Join me on Facebook at Your True Shape to join in on the action! For six weeks, there will be a weekly task and smaller daily tasks. You’ll find a community of people dedicated to living Simply Healthy. We’ll share our little successes and get excited about them. We’ll take six weeks to form new habits based on what works best for your life, not by following some scripted plan!
The fun starts Monday, June 16. Like Your True Shape on Facebook and check in each Monday morning for the weekly Action. Our goal is simple over complicated, strategy over willpower. Best of all, it’s totally FREE!