“I really shouldn’t eat this ice cream. But I had a long day and I deserve it.” “I know I should get the salad, but everyone else is having a burger and a beer. I’ll cheat on my diet today, but I can just make up for it in the gym tomorrow.”
Mindset. What is your mindset towards your health? Towards your fitness? Does it seem like some vague, ambiguous part of your life that you “should” care about because your mom and doctor told you to, but you don’t really know how to start caring about it? I mean, we all want to be healthy, right? We all want to feel better. We all want to look better. We all want to feel more confident and independent. Right?
So why do some people have an easy time staying fit and healthy while others struggle for years, even decades with their weight loss, health, and fitness routine? I think it comes back to mindset.
When we find ourselves in the loop of “I’ll just outwork my loose nutrition habits in the gym” and it’s a constant balancing of your health checkbook, if you will, we never see results. NEVER. We get stuck in a lack of consistency, and it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’m not healthy, so I make unhealthy choices and force myself to exercise to punish myself for making those choices.
I lived in this headspace for years as I navigated the waters of losing fat, gaining muscle, and finally feeling happy when I look in the mirror. When I finally stopped feeling anxiety about getting dressed and trying on clothes, hoping I didn’t have to go shopping for larger sizes again. It was a massive relief.
But it took time and a lot of mental development to get there. After a decade of experience, I can confidently assure you that whatever changes you hope to see in your body, health and fitness have to start in your mind before you see them unfold in your body.
It doesn’t have to be a major mindset shift, but it does have to start shifting and evolving. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about… I recently sat down with Sally. Sally is a close friend, and she’s been trying to get healthy and fit for close to 30 years, but she’s constantly struggling with self-confidence, injuries, a lack of clarity as to what she should do at the gym to see progress, and a lot of self doubt. She thinks she’s alone in these feelings. But the interesting thing is that most people I talk to are in a similar boat.
So, how do we start solving this problem? Clarity. Awareness. Consistency. Intentionality.
We have to understand WHY Sally cares about her weight. WHY she wants to lose “x” pounds. It’s because she is terrified of going on a cruise with her husband and friends because she’s so uncomfortable in a bathing suit. It’s because she feels ashamed that she’s the “unhealthy” spouse, or the “unhealthy mom”. And that’s not a good problem.
The actual problem? She generally lacks awareness that she’s unhappy because she buries those emotions on a daily basis so she doesn’t have to deal with the pain. But guess what? It’s still there. As humans, we’re just really good at rationalizing, ignoring and shutting down those feelings because we don’t want to acknowledge that they’re problems. So we shut them out. We focus on Facebook. The news. Politics. Our friends and families. Our jobs. Until it’s time to go on that cruise. Until we stop feeling any desire from our spouses. Until we go to try on a new dress or shirt and realize it’s not as flattering as we hoped.
And then we feel pain. And we shut it down and bury it because we KNOW we have a problem, but what we don’t know is how to fix it. Or we don’t have time to fix it. Today’s not good, but definitely next Monday… Clarity. Awareness.
The solution isn’t exchanging 30 minutes on the treadmill 3-4x/week or doing some hardcore restrictive diet for 30 days. Although those might be well-intended, they’re examples of the blind leading the blind. What works? Making small, intentional, consistent decisions that reflect the decisions of a healthy person. Every day.