Take a moment to visualize the most stressful day you had in 2017.
What about the most stressful week or month? Think back to a time when you were traveling for work more than usual or had an extra busy week in the office.
What was your default setting?
“We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.” – Archilochus
During that day, week, or month what did your diet look like? Did you work out first thing in the morning? Did you have a moment of gratitude for your significant other or family? How did you treat the people around you?
A healthier lifestyle isn’t built upon motivation, it is built upon training, repetition, and habit. Becoming healthy is becoming aware of your default settings under stress; it’s accounting for the least common denominator. Let’s say you want to lose 10 pounds (of body fat) in 2018. This won’t occur until sometime between mid March and May 1st. What habits will carry you past the point that you feel motivated.
I hate “challenges”
For the second year in a row, the Whole30 Challenge was ranked worst amongst 37 other diet protocols. Not only does it provide the false hope of a plummeting scale (mostly water and lean tissue loss), but it never accounts for your most stressful day. Is the prescription of the diet something that can be maintained during your worst, most travel-filled week of 2018? No.
Building Sustainable Habits
Honestly, it’s MUCH easier to give you a list of “good” and “bad” foods and say “eat this, not that” and give you points for eating “good” things. Black and white. Good and bad.
But, what are you going to do in May when you slept in, need to get your kid ready for school, and the best you can do is grab a cup of coffee as you rush out the door, forgetting your work bag? What happens when you don’t have someone over your shoulder saying “sweet potatoes good, donuts bad”? What’s your default training?
This year, our New Year nutrition “challenge” is called “Building Sustainable Habits.” Honestly, it’s not really a challenge. It’s training. It’s understanding your default setting when things get tough. It’s finding 2-3 things that you’ll fall back on in June. It’s creating a nightly routine so you have a small handful of vegetables and a turkey sandwich sitting in the fridge when you slept through your alarm.
There is no motivation – only training.