This year, my New Year’s Resolutions are all about what goes on in my head.
I’ve had a pretty full on 2015 (who doesn’t feel that way, really?) and in the process of vaulting through 20+ countries on a year-long travel binge, my body has, invariably, suffered a little. Not as much as it could have, certainly, and I’m actually pretty proud that I was able to maintain my health as well as I did, but there’s no doubt that I’ve finished 2015 chubbier and less fit than I would like (and unable to fit into my favourite jeans – sob).
Losing weight and trying to keep it off is basically a giant head-fuck. It’s two steps forward, one step back, constantly shifting goal posts, never knowing what size you actually are, wanting to believe compliments that never quite truly sink in. It’s thinking you’ve got this all sorted and then in a nanosecond smacking so hard into a festive eating and drinking binge you get concussion and the ‘good’ you feels like someone you once knew, and only briefly. It’s a love/hate relationship with your body that sees you smashing interval sprints on the treadmill one minute, and a family size packet of M&Ms the next.
I’ve spent a lot of time pondering this all over the last few days, during this magical week between Christmas and New Year, when, in Australia at least, the energy in the air is a heady mix of quiet reflection and sun-drenched optimism. My December has been a little mad. Actually let’s include October and November in there as well, as I came back from overseas, moved house (twice), enrolled in my Master Coaching qualification, finished up one crazy-busy job and started a second crazy-busy job. Then the festive season tightened its grip and I’ve felt my grasp on what I know about nutrition and health slipping. Because here’s the thing. It doesn’t matter a damn how much I, or you, or anyone, knows about the mechanics of weight loss, health, nutrition, exercise, it all comes down to how well you can train your mind to support you in it. And my trained monkey mind only plays by the rules about half the time.
I know what to do, when and how, but when the will to do it deserts me it doesn’t just wane a little, it completely fucks off to the far side of fuck and then fucks off some more (as a friend once eloquently described it). Knowing this, I’ve started reading a book recommended to me recently called The Beck Diet Solution (I’ll review it properly soon) which basically applies the known psychological ‘truths’ behind Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to weight loss, arguing that most diets fail because people haven’t yet learned how to train their brains so that they think like a thin person and their mental habits work for them rather than against them.
Although some of this might sound a little basic, I would argue that none of us are ever so advanced in our personal missions, or have enough mastery over our own lives to not occasionally need to go back to first principles. This is absolutely the case with me. I’m only partly successful at staying committed to my healthy lifestyle and I realise now this is because I’ve done only half the head work.
Here are a few examples of when sabotaging thoughts undermine my best intentions:
“I’m so good most of the time, I can indulge in this now and it really doesn’t matter”. When ‘most of the time’ because 30% of the time, then yes that ‘indulgence’ absolutely does matter.
“It’s only food for shit’s sake, it shouldn’t be this hard to resist, and who cares anyway?”
“So you’re a little flabby around the edges these days, who cares? Perfection isn’t realistic or achievable anyway”.
“Just eat the food Gen and save your energy for things that actually matter, like mourning the shitty state of Australian politics”.
Hmmm. All these things might be true sometimes, and may reflect a ‘healthy’ relationship with food. But not every Tuesday afternoon, Friday nights and all day Saturday and Sunday. Nobody ever achieved anything being so half-arsed.
So, this coming year – 2016 – is going to be all about committing. I’m committing to doing the head work, knowing that by retraining how I think about food and my body, the actual mechanical stuff becomes more natural. Theoretically (and I believe this having personally experienced it) when your head is in the right place the rest just flows.
‘The rest’ incidentally, if you’re interested in the ‘doing’, is going to look something like this:
- Avoiding wheat and sugar. It’s not for everyone but it works for me.
- Going back to seeing my personal trainer once a week to help keep me accountable.
- Committing to 3 workouts a week in my home gym.
- Practising the CBT techniques in The Beck Diet Solution.
What I hope to avoid doing:
- Obsessively planning my meals and counting my calories. My work and Coaching commitments demand flexiblity and if I don’t allow for it I’ll drive myself crazy. I’m working on the theory that if my diet is low in unhealthy carbs and high in protein and good fat, my appetite will re-calibrate and self-regulate. Will it work? Hope so!
So there you have it GIs – 2016 – the year of committing, staying the course, staying in the country (mostly 😉 ) and just generally keeping the faith. Do the work and results will follow, but as importantly, I expect doing the work to pay other dividends – building up the body of evidence that I can be committed and self-loving and have a whole lot to be proud of.
Happy New Year, friend 🙂 And if this is your year – the year to really get things moving, then contact me for a free Life Coaching session and we can help kick it off to an awesome start together.
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PPS. All images sourced from Bigstock.com.