Patience is NOT my virtue.
I try, I really do. But I find myself being impatient far more than I would like to.
My friend Lizzie and I were catching up last week and got to chatting about fitness & nutrition, two things we are often discussing. While we have two very different fitness goals, we have been great about sharing them with each other, motivating each other, and working out together when we can. Two things about our conversation stood out to me: 1) the holiday season always makes it hard to stay on track and 2) both of us are impatient with progress.
In regards to staying on track during the holidays, I wrote this post, but today I want to focus on patience.
For me (and many people I’m sure), after 4 days of eating broccoli, chicken & sweet potato, I want to see noticeable progress. In those 4 days I’ve probably turned down at least 5 tempting items and I want instant gratification for it. But, much to my dismay, the transition and body composition changes take much MUCH longer that than.
Once starting a new plan they say it takes 4 weeks for you to see changes in your body, 8 weeks for friends and family, and 12 weeks for acquaintances. So realistically, I need to be patient and stick with something for a month before noticing any changes.
I fall off the bandwagon more than I want to (don’t we all?). Some days its small – I had a few tortilla chips instead of my sweet potato at lunch number one (I eat two), and some days its bigger – I skipped the gym and ate pizza and a cupcake for dinner (then felt really sick after).
I’ve been feeling quite down on myself lately. I mentally beat myself up for not being strict enough with my diet to reach the lofty goals I set for myself. I’m torn between wanting to be super strict so I look and feel amazing, and wishing I didn’t care so much so I wouldn’t stress about it. In the grand scheme of things I would say I’m usually pretty good about finding balance, but for some reason this last week has been mentally rough for me.
I get jealous of all these women who are newer to the workout game and seeing results so quickly, or those people that somehow look amazing and credit their physique to “walking the dog & cleaning the house” (yeah, sure).
I know my weaknesses: carbs & processed sugar, and how my body reacts: immediately add belly bloat/belly fat. Some people hold extra weight in their butt or hips, me? All stomach – hence why I’m very self conscious of that area.
Because of all this, Lizzie and I started comparing our January 2017 selves to our January 2016 selves, and only then did we truly realize how much progress we each made over the past 12 months. In 2016 I worked with two trainers, corrected my form for lifting, learned a TON about nutrition, and made great strides moving toward cleaner, better eating. I make better choices at restaurants and at home, and I put a lot of focus on protein intake.
Above all else, I want my lifestyle to be maintainable.
Because if you can’t maintain it, you’re never going to move from the mindset of quick fix, to a healthy lifestyle.
For anyone starting their journey, start slow and gradual. It is unrealistic to think you’re going to go from eating out 5 nights a week to meal prepping everything right away. I’ve been working at this fitness journey for years and I still don’t meal prep perfectly.
For me, I’m not terribly concerned with the number on the scale – I’m looking to put on muscle – so ideally I will be losing body fat but actually gaining pounds. If you’re also looking to gain muscle I would recommend tracking progress with photos, how a specific pair of pants fit, and your body fat percentage. For me, my “tracking” clothing item is this Express skirt (seen here). When I was about 7 pounds heavier in December 2014 that skirt was TIGHT. As in I hope I don’t have to sit down tight.
My goal now is to be able to fit at least a finger or two under the waistband.
If weight loss is your primary goal, then by all means hop on the scale once a week. I don’t because I know myself, and I will be hung up on the number for at least a few days. I’m short and I’m dense,what can I say?
This post got a bit longer than I meant, but this is something that has been on my mind lately, especially with the new year.
I can’t remember where I heard this, but one phrase has been sticking with me, and I hope to focus on it for the entirety of 2017:
Strive for consistency, not perfection.
Stay strong guys, we’ve got this 🙂
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