Enjoy the Process
Enjoy the Process
The vast majority of people are not training for something so specific that they need an incredibly restrictive diet. There are times when a particular goal or event might result in dialing in nutrition so strictly that indulgences would fall off the plan but for the general purpose of health and fitness that isn’t the case. Even in a calorie deficit, indulgences can play a key role in the mental aspect of continuing with an, at times, slightly uncomfortable diet.
Habits rely on a dopamine driven feedback loop, if it feels good we are more likely to do it again. We can strive to choose all perfect, optimal foods for every single macro but the fact is that food does bring, and is associated with, pleasure. If a diet is so restrictive we cannot enjoy a cookie at the end of a day, a portion of chips, an ice cream with a friend, or an extra scoop of Mac & cheese every so often then we are doing ourselves a huge disservice because there is no balance. Balance is absolutely necessary for the sustainment of habits and balance is the key to consistency.
When we have balance we are less likely to go from being incredibly strict and restrictive Monday through Friday and then spend all weekend gorging ourselves on everything we “can’t” have during the week. Or Friday night. Or whenever we tire of keeping an unrealistic standard of perfection for our nutrition. Whether we can maintain that for two weeks or three months, at some point the wheels will come off. Balance allows for consistency and consistency is what builds sustainable habits.
Establishing this balance relies heavily on shifting our mindset from product oriented goals to process oriented goals. When we strive to lose ten pounds or fit into a certain size of clothing once we attain that product goal we have nowhere left to go so we resort back to old, ineffective habits. The goal has been achieved and so the habits we used to get there no longer serve their purpose. However, in a process oriented system the very habits we build ARE in and of themselves the goal, the weight or inches lost are praiseworthy milestones, but no longer the be all end all stop to our journey.
Having process oriented goals also allows for quicker transition back to our desired habits when we do fall off track. When we enjoy the process we are more quickly and more likely to readily reengage with our systems and habits as opposed to if we feel stressed out by them or dislike them entirely. The more our overall system is enjoyable the more likely we are to sustain it AND the more likely we are to incorporate the balance we need to sustain it for the long haul while still being able to achieve product oriented goals along the way.
- Drink some water
- Eat a veggie (or two or three)
- Log your protein
- Be brave
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