Depriving Yourself for Fitness Success Doesn’t Work

“8 out of 10 dieters fail.”
“95% of people who diet gain the weight back.”
“New Year’s resolutions fail.”

You’ve probably heard all these alarming and pessimistic statistics and maybe even felt quite defeated by them. Well, if you’re a nerd like me you’ve looked up a few scientific studies on diets, weight loss and willpower and while the results regarding the possibility for diet failure (i.e. regaining the weight) are inconclusive, the studies often lacking in proper sample size and sometimes using unreliable methods, there is one thing I am certain about: You are not doomed to fail if you decide to make positive changes in your life.

Unfortunately, many diets don’t focus on positive habits. Instead, they remind people they need to sacrifice, just try harder, give up things we love to get smaller and ban certain foods altogether. Even if there are certain bad habits and poor choices in our lives, we will do better without, I have found that focusing only on trying to quit them is not as effective as you would think.

There is a huge difference between dieting vs. creating new healthy habits. Dieting is depriving yourself ample calories so that your hangry outbursts make your friends want to shove giant chocolate croissants in your mouth to shut you up, becoming a cardio bunny who runs for hours on the treadmill and eats nothing by carrots, lettuce, ice cubes, Balance Bars and fat free Jello pudding snacks, and telling yourself that your favorite foods are now “Off limits!” which lasts until about 7 pm when you then eat the fridge and then in a final act of “fuck it” thinking make a trip to the 24-hour drug store for a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey.  Positive lifestyle changes i.e. adding healthy habits into your life that modify the way you make decisions is a much saner, happier approach.

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How to Create a Success Mindset in Work, Life and Fitness

“Success isn’t just about what you accomplish in your life it’s about what you inspire others to do.”
– Anonymous

I think about success quite a bit and how to create a success mindset and tools. As far back as I can remember, I have wanted to make something of myself, I just didn’t truly know what that something was until I found Muay Thai in 2002. The idea that I could be anything I wanted as long as I set my mind to it was something my mother gave me at an early age and I am grateful for her optimism. Unfortunately, limitless possibilities and big dreams where some of the only tangible tools she gave me in regards to success and I had to figure out the others on my own; it’s a good thing she also taught me the importance of independence at an early age. In my youth I encountered quite a few road blocks to success. After spending most of my teens and early twenties pulling a crashing world around me due to my love of all things pleasurable and my inability to delay gratification I was saved by finding Muay Thai. I attribute much of my success in sport, work, love and life to my passion for Muay Thai, but underneath that love, for a long time I still had a ton of fear. That fear is still with me, there is just much less of it now. Each training session, each fight, each victory, each lesson I would squeeze out a little bit more of the fear every day as I worked on my self development both as an athlete and a person.

My journey is not nearly finished. I want to keep growing until the day I die. There is always more I want to learn and accomplish, but the tools that have helped me succeed this far, I’d like to share with you now…

 

aquarium_fresh1. Create the space in your life to grow bigger

I’ve been thinking about this one a lot lately. I compare this thought to a fish tank. A few years ago my boyfriend wanted a big fish tank. The kind you see in movies, artistic placed in the middle of a room in a big, baller mansion. I was hesitant at first and thought they would be a pain in the ass to keep up with and clean the tank (I was right), but they are also pretty to look at (he was right) and they have taught me an important lesson.

When fish are in a small tank, they won’t grow to their full potential, instead they remain small to fit the tank and it’s limited resources. Many types of fish if you put them in a bigger tank, will grow and flourish to the size of the tank provided. However, some fish, even different ones of the same breed just never grow. When I asked our pothead fish cleaning guy (yes we had to hire a cleaner because I was tired of arguing over who would clean the damn tank) why one Angel fish got really big and another stayed small he just replied, “Oh, well some are just like that… maybe they don’t wanna get bigger.”

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How to Set Action Goals & Get Results!

 

How many times have you set a weight loss goal or made a resolution in your life and not been successful?

…Or been temporarily successful, only to put the weight back on or backslide later? Some of my clients come to me with a history of repeated failed attempts at weight loss. I know this can be disheartening at best and at worst can lead to a vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting and self-loathing. As an athlete in a weight class sport for ten years, I sympathize, the scale can feel like your worst enemy.

The scientific and nutritional reasons why diet and exercise often fail people is a topic for another blog. I’ll touch it briefly by saying that successful clients don’t focus on calorie restriction (especially low calorie, low fat and hi carb diets) and excessive exercise. Instead, they focus on real food choices, food quality, lifting weights & finding joy in sports (like Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu, basketball, rock climbing or tennis).

Today I would like to focus on how to set a fitness, health or even a life goal, something that when done correctly can bring great happiness and fulfillment to our lives. I’ve written before about willpower and neuropsychology has lately been the research topic that is most interesting to me. Goals setting is just a part of the willpower and habit human experience. If you want to know more, see the end of this blog for recommended reading.

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