It dawned on me recently that I had lost ten pounds and was keeping it off. My legs had never been so toned, my skin was glowing and I was BM-ing like a rock star.
And it wasn’t because I had amazing willpower. It wasn’t because I was forcing myself to eat iceberg lettuce or dragging myself to the gym. What was surprising about my transformation was not so much the transformation itself but how little sacrifice I had made.
This is exactly what I do for eat and exercise:
Meal plan: I eat one meal a day, usually. I don’t have any restrictions on that meal. I can eat carbs, sugar, starches, dairy, whatever I fancy.
Exercise plan: I bike to work most days and go for a long run or bike ride on the weekends. This amounts to half an hour to an hour of cardio. Every now and then I lift weights or do body weight strength training exercises.
So am I saying you should do these same things and will get the same results? NO!!! The secret to losing weight and getting toned aren’t what I do.
The secret is: I love this diet and exercise program.
I don’t eat this way or exercise this way in order to change the way I look. If these activities made me fatter, I would probably reduce them, but I would still try to find a way to keep doing what I’m doing. I look forward to them.
I mean, I generally have excellent self-control, just not for diets. I have only ever been on 2 diets and I quit both early. Gained back the weight. And you know why? Because people aren’t great at making themselves miserable. People hate telling themselves they can’t have what they want. And you know what? That’s ok!
It’s ok if you want to be happy. The secret isn’t to learn how to deal with misery. The secret is to find a way to get to your goal that you frickin’ are addicted to.
So if you love binge eating, as I do, and hate restricting yourself from certain foods, maybe intermittent fasting is for you. Maybe it’s working out so much that you can eat as much as you like. Maybe it’s savoring your food. Maybe it’s going for a walk after you eat.
If there’s a healthy food you love, focus on incorporating more of those into your diet rather than what you “can’t” eat. So if you love apples, eat an apple before your biggest meal. If you love radishes, roast them, saute them, eat them raw with salt and pepper. Make the healthy thing you love the appetizer and it turns out, you’ll end up eating a delicious craveable healthy food and there will just be less room for the unhealthy.
The secret to being frugal is not to deny yourself everything but to concentrate spending on the things that you love. As an obvious first step, stop paying for stuff you hate. Stop paying for the gym if you hate going to the gym. Get rid of anything that’s only ok or that you just do on autopilot.
And then focus your attention on things that you love. Focus on travel and then it becomes easier to stop shopping. Focus on seeing loved ones and you start bringing your lunch to work. Focus on getting your company off the ground and you will gladly cut cable.
Whatever it is, the secret to being happy and being healthy is to make it consistent. And to make it consistent, think about adding more pleasure instead of adding more pain.
The problem is not with you. It’s not that you lack willpower. It’s that you shouldn’t use willpower for everything.
What craveable healthy or frugal habits can you incorporate into your life?