"Ariane, can we start the program after I get back from the wedding and trip I have planned? I'll be better able to focus."
This is one of the most common explanations I get when it comes to scheduling a time to start.
This belief is so common and it's actually one of the biggest one that keeps you in yo-yo dieting mode.
Do you know what this statement tells me about this person's likely beliefs?
She is waiting for a period in her life without outside distraction or temptations.
She is putting off change because she believes change can only happen without outside distractions.
She doesn't believe she can change while there are outside distractions.
She believes that a wedding or trip are times when eating well isn't possible.
She believes there are times in life to indulge and times to restrict.
She likely has an all-or-nothing approach to health.
She may have perfectionistic tendencies.
Well, you know what my answer is?
There is never a perfect time to start.
The best time to start is always today.
The next meal, the next workout, the next moment you have to tune in and feel what you really need.
If you want to create changes that actually last the rest of your life, then you have to learn to manage the challenges we all deal with: stress, schedule changes, kids getting sick and staying home from school, summer vacation, weddings, disappointments and whatever else life puts on our plate.
The only way to make lifestyle changes is to learn to navigate the tough times.
Everyone can eat perfectly for a few days. But, not everyone has learned yet to deal with negative emotions.
It's in our nature to want to avoid negative feelings. When we feel sad or disappointed, many of us want to get away from that feeling bad as quickly as possible. Because it's uncomfortable.
And, it's so much easier to scroll through Instagram than to feel the feelings. It's so much easier to eat a cookie when you're sad than figuring out how to move through that sadness and lessen that emotion.
It's so much easier to blame someone else for your misery than actually taking charge.
Easier in the moment. But, harder in the long run because not only do we just avoid negative feelings, but we also have to deal with the negative effect of our poor coping strategies.
THAT'S exactly what sets those apart that are life-long-dieters from those that live balanced lives.
Those that live in balance have learned to navigate the challenges. They have learned to continue taking care of their health, fitness, food and emotions during the tough times.
Those that are life-long-dieters tend to be the ones that let the outside circumstances dictate their internal state. And that then affects their self care.
This was a big realization I made in my 20s after many years of yo-yo dieting and jumping from diet to diet. I was exhausted. I just couldn't go on like that anymore and I resolved to figure out how to live a balanced life that wasn't so mentally exhausting because I felt so bad about myself.
Many years later these realizations became the motivation for me to help others feel good in their skin. Without extremes, diets, counting, tracking, weighing. And, to manage whatever life throws at you while continuing to take care of yourself.
After all, when stress hits and you stop taking care of yourself, you'll be far worse off once the stress is gone. And then you'll have to undo even more damage.
So, if you're still wondering when you should start, I can only say: Right now is a perfect time to start. Change starts with just one step. One good meal. One minute of moving. One positive thought about yourself.
Beliefs Drive Our Choices
This is one I see in clients with a history of YoYo diets.
When you can change it, a whole world of balance frees up.