Far too often, people get over zealous in their commitment to achieving their fitness and nutrition goals, only to ultimately fail at their attempt. What exactly, do I mean by this? Here lies the notion of instant gratification, and wanting immediate results. Someone will set out to achieve their dream physique, and have an unrealistic expectation of the amount of time it takes to achieve it. In the endeavor to achieve their dream physique, a person will try and do a complete 180 overnight, in terms of drastically changing their diet and exercise regime. For most people, this drastic change usually ends up in a failed attempt. Because the changes were made drastically almost overnight, the sustainability of the lifestyle change is usually short lived. In terms of nutrition, the reason for this is when a person tries to change their entire lifestyle overnight, they are usually only able to keep up with the changes for a short period of time before they succumb to feelings of being deprived. Once a person begins to feel deprived of certain foods, those cravings can lead to the inevitable binge, which can then lead to that individual feeling guilty and/or discouraged. This leads to them giving up on their positive changes all together.
The same can be said for the exercise component; When a person goes from exercising very little (or not at all) to trying to exercise several hours a day, almost every day of the week, you can be assured that there is going to be a negative feedback associated with this. Since the body has not been properly acclimated to the physical stresses that are now being placed upon it, the individual can end up feeling extremely sore for long periods of time (a week or even longer), and actually feel like they have less energy than before (even though proper exercise should have a positive change on energy levels). Just as the burnout can quickly set in from doing a 180 in terms of the nutritional changes, the same can be said for the exercise component; if a person feels extremely sore and tired all of the time, their motivation to exercise will be very low, as they begin to only associate it with pain and a lack of energy.
Thankfully, there is a proper way (or a way that gives you a much better chance for long term success, at least) to make a lifestyle change in terms of fitness and nutrition. When it comes to nutrition, you can't go wrong with the "80/20" rule... Eat clean, healthy whole foods 80% of the week, and give yourself 20% wiggle room to indulge in things that may not be the best for you, but will satisfy your cravings. This way, you are less likely to feel deprived or that certain things are "off limits," and ultimately it allows you to stay committed and consistent, sustaining the positive changes for the long term! For example, if you eat fast food, drink soda, eat fried food, and eat sweets several days (if not every day) of the week, don't eliminate everything overnight. Start with eliminating the soda. You may be surprised to notice a positive change just from this, in only a few weeks. Once you feel confident that you have kicked the soda habit, try cutting down your sugar/sweets intake. If you eat sweets every day, start with 3-4 days a week, and progress from there. Then you can reduce the fast food and fried food intake, and so on. This is simply an example of how to go about making the changes, but you can see here that because the changes are gradual, there is a much greater chance of long term success because you are able to ween yourself off of things little by little. Once you have gotten control of the unhealthy eating habits, you can still allow yourself to splurge here and there (if desired), and this is where you find a balance! With regards to exercise, try and think along the same terms; if you are not exercising at all, try starting with one or two light exercise sessions a week. Even just 20-30 minutes can make a big difference. Once you feel comfortable with the exercise, you can slowly begin to add in additional days and/or increase the amount of time you exercise. Doing it this way should allow your body to properly acclimate to the physical stresses and it will not be such a shock to the system. If you are one of the few that can do a complete 180 overnight and achieve long term success, then by all means, more power to you! But for the many, even though instant gratification is a notion that is always present, it is the understanding that the best chance for long term success and sustainability comes from gradual changes and always finding a balance with your efforts!
For more helpful fitness tips, pick up a copy of my eBook "40 Fitness Fixes" at: www.40fitnessfixes.com. You can also connect with me through my other social media platforms listed below.
Train hard, and enjoy the journey!