Everything about Be Strong is about you choosing to do something differently than you have done before. A different way to eat. A different way to move. A different way to live.
The last few weeks we have looked at the basics of living differently – preparing and planning properly, learning from failure and getting up and carrying on – not giving up!!
And the decisions we make to change these things, to live and do things differently, are ultimately ours, and ours alone. But if you don’t make the decision to change something how do you ever expect anything to be any different for you. The power to achieve your goals is 100% in your hands.
Being accountable to your choices!
We know that 80% of our opportunity in adopting this new healthier lifestyle is about the food. It’s about making the right choices when it comes to food, to eat the food we love, that is within the calorie allowance you have been given.
If you make good choices for the majority of the time, for long enough, then you will see the long-term results that you want.
Poor choices might be crash dieting into the realms of steamed fish and broccoli or going carb free, or even choosing a commercial shake diet to follow.
Good choices are just taking the time to look at all the food you like over a period of a week, and checking they fit into your calorie allowance.
Poor choices might be not spending the extra time to check your portion sizes and make the food fit in your calorie allowance for a couple of weeks to get to grips with what your portion should look like.
A good choice is choosing to weigh out your pasta or your porridge, or even your potatoes, to make sure you are getting it spot on. This is something you don’t have to do for long, just until you get used to what your portion should look like.
Poor choices might be not tracking the alcohol on a weekend or the take away, or the extra treats, that we kid ourselves and pretend we don’t have, or just plain forget that we have had. How many calories a week do we miss because of this?
A good choice, is getting that little notebook or your phone out and recording everything you put in your mouth, with the associated calories every single day for a couple of weeks, so you can learn what works for you.
Yes, it’s boring but it works, and it’s not necessarily forever. Just until this new lifestyle beds in and becomes your way of life.
The discipline to make the right decision
Making good decisions and good choices doesn’t come easy. It is so easy to throw caution to the wind, and think ‘Sod it! Just this once!’ But how often is it ‘just this once’? To have the mental and emotional strength to make a good decision takes discipline. But the more you practise discipline – the easier it gets.
Let’s think about our heroes, whoever they may be for you – just picture them for a moment. Did they get to where they are without discipline? There will have been days for them, when their motivation is lacking, when they really don’t want to do what they need to do, but they make the right decision anyway. Because they have discipline.
And discipline isn’t just for those we wish to emulate. We are all capable of this discipline. There are aspects of all our lives, where we make a good decision based on our discipline rather than the will to do something. For instance, there will be days that you don’t want to get up at 6.30, to get ready for work, drive however long it takes you to get to work, and do a full day’s graft, but you still do it. And that’s not motivation, that’s discipline, because you know you have to. There will be days when you really can’t be bothered to ‘adult’ but you still do it – because you have the discipline to do it – the discipline to make the right decision – because you know you should.
Even now as I write this article, amidst the battle that is the 12th week of lockdown homeschool with a disengaged child, on a rainy Monday in June, I get up to make my 4th cup of tea of the morning, with my tummy slightly hungry as it’s getting on for lunch, I have to exercise discipline to make the right choice and not dip into the biscuit tin. But as I walk back to the dining table that is now also our school room and home office, I feel a sense of accomplishment as I return only with my brew, and not the contents of the biscuit tin!! And that feels good!
If you have the discipline to make good decisions when you are feeling at your lowest ebb, with zero motivation, then every other day will be easier. And the more you do it, the easier these decisions become, until it’s no longer a decision, its just what you do.
The best way to make a good choice, is to make sure it’s an informed choice. How do we do that? By gaining as much knowledge about your options to ensures we make the right choice for ourselves.
You wouldn’t choose a holiday without researching the potential resorts, hotels, flights and prices first. You wouldn’t buy a house without researching the area, the crime rates, schools, amenities, traffic levels, having surveys done to make sure it’s in good order. So why do we choose to look after our bodies without doing the right research and being as informed as we can be. If we took the time to research what was good for us, understand why it is good for us, and what benefits it would give us, it would help us in making the right decisions.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that we need a degree in food science and nutrition to make good decisions. It can be as simple as looking at a food label, and deciding if the ingredients and the nutritional breakdown are what we want them to be. That act alone, will help you make a good decision. If you pick two similar products up in the supermarket and look at the food labels; because you are trying to reduce your calorie intake I could almost guarantee that you will pick the product that is lower in calories.
When eating out (now we are allowed to go back out to eat), we can still make good informed decisions, even without calorie information. Reading menu descriptions, and looking out for words that give hints as to the ingredients that might not be a good choice for us – butter, cheese, oil, cream, deep fried, battered – and avoiding those things. Selecting things like steamed, light, grilled, lean – just because they are these things doesn’t mean they won’t be delicious!
Ultimately the choice is yours. Do you choose this healthy lifestyle? Do you choose for the scales to read less than they currently do? Do you choose to feel happier, healthier, fitter than you do at this moment in time? Then if you do choose this way of life, you have the power to control that with every decision you make.
A little education, a little motivation, a little discipline and most of all a little practise will get you to where you want to be – one decision at a time!