Work Smart Not Hard!
Working smart means getting organised and finding the most efficient ways to do things, becoming more productive, saving energy, getting better results, and making things easier. All this in turn has positive effects on your motivation and self-esteem.
So could we work smarter when it comes to lifestyle change? Looking at lifestyle change, getting healthier and fitter and/or losing weight like a project at work, with a critical eye, might just help us get the job done quicker and easier and be less tiring and stressful.
We have talked quite a bit recently about shortcuts. Shortcuts are only any good, if they get you to the right destination quicker than planned. But how many times have you taken a ‘shortcut’ on a journey and it’s ended up with you covering an extra 100 miles, and 2 hours in the car? I know I have!
When it comes to weight loss we often try shortcuts – skinny coffee, juice or shake diets, keto, pills – and do they get us to that long term destination of being happy with our weight? No! You know the drill and I am not going to into it here. So is it really a shortcut? It absolutely isn’t, it’s a detour from your ultimate destination.
Ultimately our destination is to maintain a happy weight and a level of fitness, and stay there – not to yo-yo up and down. Nobody wants to be dragging their ‘fat pants’ out of the back of the wardrobe a few weeks after hitting their weight target, because they have stopped doing whatever fad diet they were on and started eating ‘normally’ again. In fact, nobody wants to have ‘fat pants’ lurking at the back of the wardrobe, full stop, they want to chuck the ‘fat pants’ in the charity bag, never to be seen again, as soon as they hit their goal.
The most direct route to our destination is to ‘eat smart’, ‘move smart’ and ultimately ‘live smart’ all the way to our goals and beyond.
Eating Smart would allow us to get the most from our food, whilst maximising our chances of success. A good way to think of eating smart, is by getting the most taste or enjoyment per calorie. Now this will be really personal, obviously depending on what our own personal tastes are but we can liken this to a factory owner, to help us put this into context.
Imagine a factory making clothing, the factory manager would research all the fabric suppliers the quality of their product and how much they charge. If the factory manager could buy the same quality fabric from one supplier at £2000 a tonne, or from another supplier at £1000 a tonne, it wouldn’t make business sense to buy from the supplier who charges more. He could employ 250 people to hand sew all the clothing the factory would make, or he could employ 250 people to machine sew the clothing, and the output would be far greater. He would be sourcing supplies at the lowest cost, and producing the greatest amount of clothing possible, with his workforce.
You can apply the same logic with what you put in your mouth – to make sure you eat smart! Do your research, what’s the most efficient way to eat, what gives you the most bang for your buck when it comes to calories, what gives you the tastiest food for the least calorie spend. Think of your daily calorie allowance like a daily budget and spend it wisely, on food you enjoy, but that is lower in calories.
Tracking your food allows you to do just this. It gives you complete control over the food you eat. It allows you to look at the food you want to eat, check the calories so that you can write it down or log it, and then make a good choice based upon that information. Whether that choice is to go ahead and eat it, have a smaller amount of it, or choose something different, lower in calories, but equally enjoyable.
The benefits of tracking your food are therefore two fold – the knowledge you gain is undoubtedly the key to your success, but whilst acquiring that knowledge, you will make better decisions about the food you eat. It’s a win win situation! All it takes is your phone or a pen and paper and a bit of thought.
We say this all the time, but there is no sense in doing sessions at the gym every day of the week, if you don’t enjoy going to the gym. Find an exercise you enjoy, and build up slowly. This is the smart way to move. Just because Rick and I run, doesn’t mean that we want everyone run. Of course we advocate it’s benefits, but it isn’t for everyone. If we could give one exercise to everyone who came through the door to a Be Strong session, it would simply be to walk more. Walk with friends, walk alone to get head space, walk to the shops, walk to see your friends, just walk. But whatever you do, make sure you always enjoy it. And remember, that exercise is for getting you fitter, it will not be the reason you lose weight.
To make sure we are living smart, we need to take a step back and do a bit of navel gazing, to make sure we are giving ourselves the best opportunity for success, by living smart. Look critically at our approach and decide if there are any improvements that we can make. Are we doing anything that could be done more efficiently?
General – Are we maximising every opportunity to hit our goals, whilst improving our general lifestyle? Are we putting the effort into the right areas to align with our goals? Do we have a clear goal? Do we have a plan to achieve it?
Shopping – Are we shopping at the right times, with the right knowledge and preparation? Are we buying the right foods?
Meal planning – Are we planning our meals to fit in with our nutrition program? Are we planning food we enjoy?
Exercising – Are we exercising enough? Too much? At all? Are we enjoying our exercise?
Food tracking – Are we honestly tracking calories? Are you tracking only what looks good on the tracker or in your book? Are you tracking those extra bits that you pick at? Are you tracking what you drink as well as eat? Are you tracking what you eat after you have ‘closed’ your tracker in an evening?
Eating – Are we eating nutritious, filling foods, that help us to feel energised, healthy and not like we are on a diet? Are we eating the Eatwell plate? Carbs, Protein and lots of fruit and vegetables at every meal occasion?
Drinking – Are we drinking enough water? Are we drinking too much alcohol, milk- or fruit-based drinks, with hidden calories?
Every once in a while, it’s worth checking in with yourself, to make sure you are doing all you can to ‘live smart’. But an ideal time to do it would be:
- When we don’t feel like we are achieving our goals
- When we know we aren’t on track and are frustrated about that
- When we are tired
- When we feel like giving up
- When we feel frustrated with the whole process
Check in with yourself to make sure you are eating, moving and living as smart as you can!! Maximise your chances of success, by being smart!!