Have you ever turned down a restaurant invitation for fear of going over your calories or eating out of your nutrition plan? Did you ever regret eating one dessert so much that you just continued to eat badly for the rest of the day? If you did, you’re definitely not alone.
I’ve been through the obsessive diet mentally and know many people who are in the same boat. Even though eating smart and planning your meals is necessary in order to reach your fitness goals, it shouldn’t haunt your dream or make you feel guilty to not following your diet to the T.
In order to make your fitness lifestyle be somewhat more enjoyable, embracing flexibility is key.
1. Flexibility Allows You to Mess Up: We’re all humans, therefore everybody messes up every now and then. It happens. Being mentally flexible with your diet will allow you eat out of your meal plan without feeling too guilty. Sometimes you just need a scoop of ice cream or some cake, and you shouldn’t feel bad about indulging every now and then.
If you program your mind to understand that one cupcake will not break all your progress, you won’t be inclined to mess up your whole day just because you fell off the wagon for one meal. It’s all about mentally being flexible about your eating habits, this will save you so many headaches and disappointments.
2. Flexibility Ensures Long Term Habits: If you restrain from going out to restaurants or birthday parties for fear of not eating well, you pass up on a lot of important events, which is not sustainable for the long term. The purpose of a flexible lifestyle is to allow you to enjoy all the wonderful events in your life without feeling guilty about it.
If you’re preparing for a competition, certain short term sacrifices will have to be made, such as cutting your calorie consumption prior to the competition and eating exactly what the coach tells you to eat. That’s fine. If your goal is to create long-term habits that will keep you healthy and fit for the long-term, you will need to approach this lifestyle in a more flexible way.
A friend of mine shared with me her secret to staying so fit throughout the year, and I was pleasantly surprised to hear that she was very flexible about her diet and fitness regiment. Basically, she ate healthy during the week, when get togethers were minimal, and allowed herself to eat and drink (within reason) whatever she wanted during the weekend. She still ate mostly healthy, but she enjoyed a restaurant dinner on Saturdays with a few glasses of wine without any guilt. She’s been doing this for five years and she always looks amazing!
Again, aim for the long-term, not just short-term quick fixes.
3. Flexibility Encourages You To Enjoy Life: It’s all about living a life that you enjoy living. Not eating your birthday cake because “you’re on a diet” shouldn’t be part of anyone’s vocabulary.
A flexible lifestyle allows you to have fun and enjoy yourself without constantly crunching numbers or thinking about how much you’ll have to run tomorrow in order to burn off tonight’s off the sheets dinner. A flexible lifestyle allows you to go on vacation without worrying about how you won’t be able to follow your training plan, because you’ll find a different way to burn off calories.
This is a lifestyle. You have your whole life ahead of you to reach the body you want, but you only have 24 hours today to enjoy yourself and those around you. Don’t let a strict training routine or diet plan stop you from going on vacation, enjoying your birthday cake or celebrating a good news with a glass of champagne.
Remember, one bad day won’t break your week’s or month’s progress, consecutive off days will break your progress.