by Game Changer Strength and Nutrition Coach Rob Riccobono
Tell me if this sounds familiar:
You start a new diet to try and shed some pounds. For the first few weeks, things could not go any better. You stick to your nutrition plan, you go to the gym 5 days a week, and as a result you are down 5lbs! Then one night, you go out. You promised yourself you would be good and stick to your diet, but before you know it, you have a slice of pizza. And the next thing you know, you eat the entire pie!
You come to the realization that you ruined your diet, there is no way you can salvage it, and you might as well go back to your old habits. You face the facts: you can never have the body you want.
This is EXACTLY the kind of attitude that makes people great at losing body fat, but terrible at keeping it off. When you make nutritional changes, the most important thing to do is to keep your long-term health and goals in mind. If you stray from your diet and have a small treat, how much can that really set you back? A day or two?
Let’s examine even a worst-case scenario. You had a great run of good nutrition changes, then you go on vacation for a week, give into temptation, and eat everything in sight. Has this slowed down your progress? Absolutely. Does it ruin your chances for achieving the body you want? Absolutely NOT.
How much could a poor week of eating slow down your progress? Maybe a week, or two, or maybe three weeks at the most? I’m assuming you are planning to keep your progress and good health beyond the date in which you would’ve originally reached your goals. Maybe now you hit your goal body weight on June 1st instead of May 1st. Maybe now you fit into your old clothes in the winter rather than in the fall. Maybe now you get to stop taking health medications after 10 years instead of 9 1/2.
A small step backwards is no reason to give up on your goals, especially when your health (and possibly your life) is on the line. You are human, you will slip up. Unless you lock yourself in a safe house with limited amounts of food, I promise you will deviate from your plan from time to time.
Keeping with good nutritional habits is not like playing a game. There is no specific score you need to reach in order to win. Having good nutrition 80% of the time is better than having it 0% of the time.
Choose a nutrition plan that is easy and flexible enough to stick with for the majority of the time. When you slip up, just remember that you can get right back on track at your next meal. It might take you a little longer to get to your destination, but all the matters is that you get there. Keep in mind WHY you are trying to make progress. Your health is too important to give up on.