BY MONIQUE BARTLETT
You diet and exercise, but you push yourself and criticize yourself on a consistent basis. You need to cut yourself some slack and keep your motivation high. Too much motivation or too little motivation may not get you the results that you desire. By using a more strategic approach you can make mistakes and not beat yourself up about it. By using what’s considered the 80/20 approach, you can make healthy choices 80 percent of the time and give yourself room to let loose a little 20 percent of the time.
This thought process will leave you room in your weight loss and exercise program for setbacks as well as cheat days. When using this process, you need to change your thinking. Don’t get down on yourself for not having a good day or for giving in to a craving. Don’t use the words “good” or “bad” to describe the food you eat or your habits. If you think this way it may cause you to binge eat or depress you and you will continually put yourself down and it may cause you to perpetrate the unhealthy all or nothing behaviours and patterns that you’re trying to avoid.
Set yourself some goals but establish a range for these goals. This creates more flexibility and gives you something to work towards. For instance, you need to make your goals concrete so you know exactly what you are doing and have something to measure your behaviour by. Saying, “I’ll walk sixty minutes four to five times a week” is better than just planning to walk everyday but yet have no concrete plan as to how often, at what time and what route you will take.
Make time in your schedule to relax and do fun things. Take time off from exercise each week. Focus on something fun like spending time with family and friends, going to a park, going to the beach or weekend away from home. This will relieve some of the stress and pressure that you may have been putting on yourself during what can sometimes be a stressful time.
Make sure to recognize and celebrate your accomplishments. When you hit a goal that you have set out for yourself, buy yourself something you’ve been wanting like a pair of shoes or new clothes. Place a note on your bathroom mirror or in your car or on your calendar to remind yourself how great you’re doing and how far you have come. Remember that this is a journey and that you have made it this far. Be patient, because you may not lose weight as fast as you would like but be realistic because you may hit a plateau, it is part of the process.