There are a number of sayings that remind us that there is a repetitive nature to world events and also to what goes on in our own lives. It’s often been said that “History Repeats Itself”, “The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same” and also that if you hang onto your old clothes for long enough, eventually they’ll come back into fashion.
Numerous boom times have been followed by economic downturns, oil prices peak and drop down again, and there are always wars going on in some part of the planet.
So how can we use this fascinating insight to help you get fitter, stronger or leaner?
I believe that for many people, there are also times of Boom and Bust in their fitness and nutrition programmes. You may have noticed that you’ve had times when everything went almost perfectly for you: you felt motivated to exercise on a regular basis, and even though you might not have had cravings for cabbage soup, you were probably happy to maintain a mostly healthy diet.
So if we can do it sometimes, why can we not do it all the time?
In many cases it’s simply a case of life getting in the way: other, more pressing concerns pop up and take our focus away from our fitness goals. At other times we think we’ve arrived, that our goals have been reached and now it’s just a case of plain sailing with no effort required.
No matter what the cause may be, it can feel very frustrating when all of your hard work seems to have been a waste of time. I see this all the time with clients who tell me that they used to be very fit and active, but now they find that their energy levels have reduced, while their waistlines have expanded.
In many cases this loss of fitness occurs over a period of years as work and family commitments change. But these feelings of deteriorating health and fitness can also occur over shorter time frames.
The short term Boom/Bust cycle is most noticeable around Christmas and also at summer holidays. Most people use these occasions as goals for getting into their best shape – they want to look good on the beach or at Christmas parties.
However, once that goal is achieved, all bets are off! All the good habits tend to be put aside and it’s not long before the pounds start piling on again. It’s at this stage that many people feel very de-motivated, and some may even have a tendency to start doubting their own willpower and self-discipline.
If this has happened to you in the past, or you’re currently going through a Bust phase of the cycle, let’s look at some ways that can help you get back on track.
Don’t judge, just Notice
I’m currently studying for my Precision Nutrition Level 2 Coach Certification. This programme deals with the psychological/motivational side of coaching rather than the “eat less, move more” technical side. One of the suggested techniques that can be used by coaches and clients to help bring awareness into their daily lives is the practice of Noticing and Naming. In other words, just be aware of what you’re thinking and what you’re doing on a daily basis without judging it.
So, rather than beating yourself up by thinking “I’ve put on weight because I’m lazy and have no willpower”, you could just notice that your current diet and exercise routine is not helping you stay fit and lean. It’s just an observation with no judgement attached.
Decide to Do Something About It
After noticing how you are thinking, acting and feeling, you may decide that what you are doing is perfectly right for you at this time. If that’s the case, carry on as you are and enjoy it while you’re at it!
However, if you decide that you want to feel or look better, then it’s simply a matter of choosing behaviours that will lead to these outcomes.
Do what Works For You
It’s not rocket science. Being more active and eating better quality food will improve your fitness, health, energy levels, mood, and also reduce your body fat levels. The trick is to find exercise that you enjoy, and combine it with food that doesn’t leave you feeling like you’re on hunger strike.
If you’ve succeeded in getting in shape before, then all you have to do is go back to doing what worked the last time. If you follow the same successful routine, you can be pretty sure of getting the same successful results!