There never is a perfect time to diet ,but there can always be a better time ,
In my opinion, a Pandemic isn’t a great time, and either is November/December. Combined , it’s a huge dieting red flag for me.
The following goes against the grain , but swapping your focus will allow the next diet you encounter to be the easiest you’ve ever had , and if done correctly , the last you’ll ever need.
Let me explain why and also allow me to give you some suggestions and tools that I personally use with my own clients to navigate this time better. Ultimately setting you up for a better January for when the diet wagon pull’s up calling at all stations.
First things first, why should you listen to me… I’ve successfully worked with and applied the principles I’m about to share with you , with 1000’s individuals to finally get them off the diet roundabout. I’ve seen every trend, the good, bad and the ugly in the past 15 years in fitness/diet industry.
If you want to build a mansion you need sufficient foundations, without the building simply won’t last . Hell it won’t even get off the ground. A successful transformation is only successful if it lasts, cast your memory back to every other diet you’ve done, every low carb disaster , every cabbage soup quick fix . At no point did you ever say to your-self , “I could do this forever ”. You couldn’t possibly make it last if you tried. Boring, bland and full of cravings.
Right now stress is high, even those who seem to have it together, will be feeling this a little , it’s all new, we don’t know how long it will last, and what new worries each day brings.
Being realistic Christmas will be somewhat (dramatically) reduced this year, the office party, bottomless brunch catch ups with old pal’s, even the mighty 12 pubs will be put on hold,
This gives us a perfect time to capitalise on , to build the foundations you overlooked for so long.
Set your sights on Summer 2021, your first sun holiday in 18 months. You want to dusty off that new bikini you bought for the cancelled summer 20 Marbella trip with the girls and finally hit the beach in the best shape of your life.
The greater the build, the greater the foundations must be. So we need some time. And right now Covid / Lockdown gives us the gift of time and the gift to finally ditch the diet .
The foundations for that successful transformation in my opinion should contain a focus upon the following pillars,
– Sleep & Recovery
– Stress Management
– Mental Wellbeing
While you may feel Food is the biggest issue , it’s not, Stress is the insult, food is the response,
We get stressed when under fatigue from poor sleep, which in turn creates poor digestion , all the above impacts our mental wellbeing, which in turn sees us shy away from exercise , sending cravings through the roof. It’s a vicious cycle if left unattended.
So you can see why these are all considered our foundations , without addressing one, the others cannot improve, and why I also left food until last, that generally falls into place when the others are in check.
While I mentioned before, there is never a best time to diet, getting these in line, spending a period of time that allows you to focus on them, will see you in a far better position to succeed and finally ditch the diet.
To move onto some practical advice and what we can implement immediately,
Nothing will have a more profound impact on sleep than routine , imagine taking a 2 year old out of their sleep routine, it creates carnage, they’re unsettled, moody, cranky , irritable, you are no different to a sleepless toddler, except you rely on excessive caffeine to get you through the day,
Having set sleep/wake times is key, even when out of usual routine , with Covid, work from home and travel disruptions , our “usual” wake sleep times are all over the place, keeping a routine in place 7 days a week is essential to high quality sleep, watch the excessive caffeine too, I love a good cup of joe, but I suggest a cut off of midday for the last intake to help improve sleep quality .
“An ounce of prevention is worth a lb of cure” , Benjamin Franklin.
A question I’ll ask every client when coming on board, “what are your hobbies” usually I’m left looking at a blank face, as grown-up’s we generally don’t have anything for some selfless down time, it’s all go, there’s rarely an off button where we unplug from the day to day mayhem we face, if even for just 5 minutes,
It can be incredibly simple, what seems to work best is something the individual used to enjoy and actively engage in , if its making a jigsaw, an adult colouring book, an old instrument , I don’t particularly care, provided they enjoy it and it switches off the busy brain.
Many think of stress management as sitting cross legged meditating or writing in a journal, while they are fantastic, you may not enjoy them as much as something you once loved, rekindle that old hobby flame.
This can be covered in so many ways, but out mental health needs reps , just like or biceps or glutes do , what you use is down to personal preference, but putting pen to paper and writing out some daily gratitude can be incredibly powerful, especially during high stress times like now, start with the prompt “today I’m grateful for” and add 3 things below, they don’t necessarily need to be earth shattering or profound, it can be something small but personal, but express gratitude non the less, One of my favourite additions for mental wellbeing is some daily nature exposure, getting outdoors and into the great outdoors , 20 minutes daily , make it part of your routine, this could be a quick hike in the hills or even a stroll along the canal , it all adds up.
Focusing on eating in a low stress environment , chewing food thoroughly , being generally mindful about how you eat as opposed to just what you eat can see a dramatic increase in gut wellbeing, decreasing bloating, mechanically breaking down food and easing digestive movements, remember Your Stomach doesn’t have teeth.
Quality not quantity , is what you are doing adding value or taking away from your health , chasing every last Instagram live HIIT class or clocking up an extortionate amount of steps daily will only increase stress , use this period wisely , not to become a busy fitness fool, but to get stronger, building some lean tissue along the way. You can get incredibly strong using just bodyweight workouts, you don’t need your usual gym here to progress.
Food is fuel , fuel to provide energy for our day to day activity, somehow its viewed as the enemy as opposed to our ally, so many come to us struggling on low calorie , low carb intake, but also massively low energy, using this period to improve energy , not only to provide energy, but to increase hair ,skin and nail quality and health , btw that’s the best kept secret in the beauty sector. Plus , going low calorie continuing to diet over the coming weeks into a period of high calories i.e. Christmas is a recipe for dietary rebound disaster.
While this may seem overwhelming , so much of the above can tie back into and cross over with each other,
Adding the journaling into evening /morning routine for sleep, involving some exercise in nature, using the time spent eating a meal as some quality down time as opposed to eating on the go,
Simplify and succeed,
If we start January in a better position , with more cards up our sleeve, more tools to call upon, feeling better , moving better, digesting better, sleeping better and managing stress better, you’ll be in a bulletproof position to be at your all-time best for when we get to hit the beach again in summer 2021 .
Build the foundation before the mansion.