I’ve been in the fitness industry for 10 years, and over this time, I’ve spoken to so many people who want to create a balance in their lifestyle, especially diet. It’s super important to understand what this actually means in order to start acting on it, let me try to break it down for you.
Understanding your own balance
Balance is about understanding what is most important to you, it’s only when you reach this understanding that you will see how truly ready you are to make the changes necessary. You definitely don’t need to become a boring person to better your health and fitness, let’s start by grabbing a piece of paper and pen and making two lists, on one write down all the non-negotiables, those things you cannot live without, that you must do, or you must have, things like a coffee in the morning, or a sneaky chocolate bar once a month. Now write a second list, one of all of the things you’ll be prepared to let go of, things like dessert every night in front of the tv while you're watching your favourite show. Once you’ve written it all down, you can now see where you can make subtle changes that will stick and not seem so daunting.
The other side of success
There are so many success stories in the health and fitness space, and they all follow a similar pattern: person is in the worst mental and physical state possible, person hits rock bottom, person decides it’s time to take action, person dramatically changes entire lifestyle, person sticks with it to achieve desired results. Now, what you don’t often see, is that same person after the next 12 months, because eating so clean and restricting yourself of all indulgences is a really hard thing to keep up all the time. There are so many people who rebound and lose all the hard work and dedication. This is because of a lack of balance, and they may not have stopped to consider their goals long term. The easiest part is losing the weight, the hardest part is maintaining it. Adjust your goals and expectations where necessary, ensure you’re being realistic about what you will be able to achieve at that present time.
Set realistic and ongoing goals
You’ve got to know what you want to achieve and be able to measure how much it means to you before you start. Start with smaller goals, celebrate the wins and then set bigger goals to propel you forward. Keep a list, something you can look at every day to keep on track, plan your wins as well as your goals, how can you celebrate losing that weight without that glass of wine? Perhaps a day trip to a beautiful beach could be more rewarding? Let’s face it, we’re human, we need growth, we get frustrated with staying the same. Don’t re-write the same goals, reach for more and change it up. Everyone has a different story, be the best version of yourself that you can be, and although it’s hard don’t compare yourself to others, try to get inspiration from them instead.
Variety is the spice of life
Having variety in your life is so important, it can increase productivity and engagement. It’s the same with food. Experimenting with different styles of cooking and different flavours can widen your love of food and create an interest in foods you had no idea you loved. It’s also really important to eat a variety of different foods as they provide different types and amounts of key nutrients that your body needs to grow, repair and protect. Shopping at different grocery stores could inspire you to find and try some new things that you can’t find in Woolies or Coles. I’m not saying you can’t indulge, you can totally indulge, you just have to pick your times and what you’re going to indulge with, and keep the frequency of this down to a minimum. Even the most hardened bodybuilder has an offseason and will sneak a bucket of KFC original recipe into their diet every now and then!
Do something that challenges your mindset, fitness, character, resilience and patience. Do something you normally wouldn’t do. Do things you tend to avoid. You will be surprised how much character and resilience this builds in your quest to add balance and success into your life. Start surrounding yourself with people that have achieved what you want to achieve. Another tactic that has worked with my clients is to create the void or the gap in where you are now and what you want to achieve in the future and fill it up! An example of this would be to go out and purchase a clothing item 2-3 times smaller than the size you are now and throw away the big sizes immediately, or register for that season of soccer now and make yourself get fit enough to play a whole season. Sometimes the push is all we need!
Be self aware
Let’s face it, we’re all influenced by those we’re surrounded by. It’s important to be aware of what things are going to impact you the most — like Friday night after work drinks, or sweet treats. Moderate your drinks and snacks to reduce the chance of a big binge, don’t keep these things at home and involve your loved ones on this journey with you, their support can really help to build you up to achieving those goals, you might even be able to make an impact on their life too!