Two Tools to Make Your Diet Consistent
Maintaining a consistent diet is the holy grail of leanness, and it is what women struggle with the most. I am not immune to this struggle. For a loooong time I had a rigid mindset. Certain beliefs and attitudes I embraced were limiting my ability to be consistent.
The issue with consistency is not that we don’t know what to do. The issue is that we struggle to do it routinely, especially when we have an attitude that is rigid. When life gets crazy, we stray. It is clearly a thinking game…a perspective…. and an attitude adjustment.
Thought patterns are worn in our brain whether desirable or not. For example a negative behavior, such as going too long without eating all day, then arriving home and eating excessively to unwind is the result of a thought pattern.
We can change that habit for a time, but WHY is it so hard to be consistent?
BECAUSE…If a behavior takes ALL of our mental focus to complete routinely, at some point we are going to exhaust our ability to perform that behavior.
We need that mental focus, aka will power, in many areas of our life. (relationships, work, parenting, financial responsibility ). Couple that with fatigue, job or relationship stress, anger, anxiety, or a major life event, and we run low on will-power and mental focus to manage it all. We can use that willpower for our diet, and be a bitch to our family, or we can blow our diet, and deal with other stressors successfully.
Consistent behavior is what we can repeat without exhausting will power. It is automated, not forced.
To be consistent. We must have the tools to manage, regardless of circumstances. Consistent behavior does not mean being perfect. It means being able to redirect a behavior as needed.
How can we automate our behavior to be effortlessly consistent?
Patience and Discipline.
Thomas Sterner in his book, The Practicing Mind, explains how patience and discipline can be a paradox. “The problem with patience and discipline is that developing each of them requires both of them.”
Using patience and discipline repeatedly will lead us to behavior that becomes more automated. At first it does take up a significant amount of our willpower, but over time the patterns get worn into our brain, and slowly become automated.
What can we do to improve our success?
Utilize these two effective tools:
1. Use Social Support Challenge a girlfriend, workout buddy, sister, or anyone who is empathetic to your situation, to join you in your new behavior pattern. Empathy means she has had, or is having, the same experience as you, and understands first hand what your struggles are.
2. Get a coach who is empathetic to your life situation. If you are a 40ish working Mom, your ideal coach is not not the 28 year old single trainer at the popular gym. While he is likely very adept at exercise and nutrition, he cannot put himself in your shoes nor understand your struggles. The point is, find a coach who has life experience similar to yours.
It has taken me time and patience to replace the attitudes that made me inconsistent. I was not immediately successful, but I kept working at it. The first few days were the hardest. The more I practiced, the more I became comfortable with the new attitude. The new attitude made the desired behavior consistent without exhausting will power.
In an earlier blog post, I shared how I changed my attitude and my journey. Admittedly, it is a work in progress. You can read about it here: Journey to Consistency
Remember to be grateful for all that you are,