Skinny, low calorie, weight loss, why does everything have to sound so diety? In America, we live in a strange paradox; overall, we are a very unhealthy country but are totally obsessed with health.
Contrary to popular belief, healthy food does not have to taste like a shoe, and weight loss oriented goals do not have to eliminate all the enjoyable things in life, case in point: the svelte enchilada and mindful margarita.
In this article we are staying away from words like skinny and weight loss because more negative connotations typically come to mind than positive.
Personally, skinny makes me think of the underweight models seen on magazine covers or the housewife on an obsessive journey to get back to her high school weight.
When I think weight loss, I think of the focus obsessively being on weight, numbers, and literally loss. This does more harm than good to our psyche, while the process should instead be about how it makes us feel: stronger, more energized, more in control of our life, etc.
When I imagine svelte on the other hand, I see someone who is strong, lean, elegant and healthy.
It is less diet and more lifestyle, as is being mindful about what you eat and how it affects you; thus, the mindful marg! Okay, a little cheesy I know, but let's get to how to make this healthy and delicious dinner!
This recipe is so simple and delicious, part of me wants to cry tears of joy. Okay, maybe not that dramatic, but this is an amazing alternative to a normal margarita that, will run you between 450 and 1100 calories (depending on size), and between 50-150g of sugar. Holy crackers.
In a sense, there are two extremes with alcohol consumption, the people who are heavy handed on their pours, and those who obsessively count portion size or restrict consuming them altogether.
Being mindful is a balance that falls in between these two extremes. It's nice every now and then to have a drink at the end of a long day, and when paying attention to your health, in general it's important to know what you put into your body.
Mindfulness is knowing that you can substitute your standard ingredients for alternatives that are going to be way better for your body, and drink in moderation by picking 8-12oz. glass sizes and leaving the 16-20oz. glasses in the cupboard.
Moderate alcohol consumption is defined as up to 1 drink per day in women, and 2 drinks per day for men. A standard drink is 12oz. beer, ~5oz. of wine, and 1.5 ounce shot of hard alcohol - the higher the proof, the higher the calories.
Compared to the Cantina marg, that's not too bad at all!
It is very frustrating and even discouraging to set a goal, start out strong, ride the wave of motivation for a couple weeks, only to then crash and burn when that wave eventually hits shore and washes out.
It is easy to be envious of the people who seemingly have endless motivation and energy to chase down their goals and dreams, but why limit yourself with self-doubt and this form of scarcity thinking?
You too have the ability to harness that same human potential and fire up a furnace of motivation that burns long after the start of your new goal and even forms into something stronger and more life lasting that motivation: internal drive.
Make your goals visible
One of the best ways to believe something into reality is to a) write it down and, b) put it where you can see it everyday.
Start by first writing out your goals, this will help clear your focus and, if this is a repeat goal, may even help you identify what led to past failure. If you don't know where to begin, you may find this worksheet helpful.
Next, pick one or two of the goals that resonate most with you. These can either be outcome goals (the ultimate prize) or process goals (the small carrots along the way).
It is often more helpful to put the carrots out, as it feels good to achieve that particular goal, check it off, and then refresh it by writing another.
These two simple steps make your goal more than a wish and something you want to achieve and have already started working towards by writing it down and placing it where you can see it.
In Strength's Finder 2.0, author Tom Rath writes, "Take time to think about the future. The more time you spend considering your ideas about the future, the more vivid your ideas will become. The more vivid your ideas, the more persuasive you will be."
And we may all agree, that sometimes it is ourselves who we need to persuade most.
Cultivate A Proactive Mindset
Turn inactivity or reactivity into proactivity. An inactive state is one in which you find yourself potentially paralyzed by fear, uncertainty, self-doubt, or comfort and may no longer feel challenged or fulfilled at the end of the day because of this.
You are where you are, too comfortable or scared to go anywhere else.
A reactive state is just as bad. You've fallen into step with the flow of society: traffic patterns, average thinking and goals, falling in line circuit training at the gym, feeling like work is monotonous, waking up and coming home to the same routines, etc.
Nothing feels particularly uplifting besides your evening show and paycheck.
Contrarily, in a proactive state we actively seek to learn. This could be learning new skills, about other people, new places, and obviously, new knowledge. Some ways you can be proactive today:
Become Obsessed With Progress
In this book, Be Obsessed or Be Average, Grant Cardone states, "Quitting has become normal. So many people set their sights on what it takes to just get by instead of setting their sights on what it takes to thrive and prosper and set their sights on a course to be successful."
Part of the problem as well, is that the majority of us don't like to be uncomfortable, when in reality that is the only way to grow. The discipline it takes to remain consistent in our good habits eventually falls victim to the draw of our old comforts.
Don't get caught in the trap of stressing yourself out with the thought of needing to consistently take action to avoid falling back into the black hole, instead transplant this fear with obsession and addiction to the thought of improvements and progress.
These thoughts will keep you hungry for the work required, a much better and motivating feeling than dread!
Finally, celebrate the small successes: able to do 5 more push ups than two weeks ago? Sweet! Finished your audiobook? Yes! Cooked that new recipe for a group of friends and they loved it? Oh yeah! And so on... a win is a win is a win, no matter how big or small.
Find an Encourager
Having accountability in your life is positive, yet occasionally annoying. We can all probably think of someone who nagged us into hating the positive thing they were trying to enforce; namely, a parent, spouse, or perhaps Type A friend.
Avoid recruiting this type of accountability partner because ultimately, this is not their role in your life and unless you have made this goal together, they will run out of energy to encourage you along the way and eventually come to see it as a chore that isn't as important to them as it is you.
This is where professionals come in, and not necessarily the type you have to pay for.
Find a mentor in your area, they often will help you free of charge as a way to pay forward the help they received in the past.
Link up with someone who attends a mutual place of interest, say at one of those evening meet up groups, who wants your support as much as you want theirs.
Or bite the bullet and hire a professional, like a personal trainer or dietitian to help you filter through all the misinformation bouncing around the internet and to get you on the right track once and for all.
Incorporate even one or two of these action items into a daily routine and you are going to keep that motivation fire warm. Become great at all four, and you will have a hot burning fire that eventually evolves into lifelong internal drive as you become one of those people you were once envious of.
There’s a wide range of views when it comes to the way we view rest. For some of us, taking a day off from activity sounds like a terrible proposition, while for others a full day off to lounge and watch Netflix sounds like heaven.
Then, of course, there’s everyone in between those extremes. These tips will help you to make recovery productive and effective, thereby allowing for reduced soreness and increased energy the day after a workout.
The Overrated Day off
Let’s go back to the extreme example from above and all imagine not venturing from the couch or computer other than to use the bathroom or open the fridge.
This type of “lazy Sunday” may be an anomaly in sunny places like southern California, but during the dark, cold winter months in Alaska and other northern climates, it actually sounds pretty darn nice to be cozied up next to friends or family with some warm beverages and your favorite shows.
Now don’t get me wrong, this a great option for a few hours.
But to not move for longer than that is a sure way to give yourself a case of the Mondays.
From personal experience, I can tell you it is never fun to be coupled over on the baseline before the next whistle blows, sucking all the air out of the gym with labored breaths while trying not to vomit mom’s lasagna and famous chocolate cake from the previous day.
Like anything, when we spend our time doing something we enjoy, it makes it easier to do that activity on a consistent basis and ultimately avoid the dreaded case of the Mondays by making sure we are still active and hopefully not allowing us to overindulge in heavy foods while just sitting around snacking.
Perma-Sore: It's a Thing
On the opposite extreme, not taking the proper recovery measures between days of training can lead to feelings of fatigue, constant muscle soreness, achy joints, and overall just feeling worn down.
This is not to say that you may be slightly overdoing it and need to throw in more days off (there, I said it), but there are certainly things you can do to help your body optimize it’s natural healing processes. Let’s have a look, shall we?
1. Ferraro, Author Katie Ferraro Contributor Katie. “The Power of Protein: 5 Sports Nutrition Experts Share the Performance-Enhancing Benefits of Protein.” ACE, www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/professional/expert-articles/6940/the-power-of-protein-5-sports-nutrition-experts-share-the-performance-enhancing-benefits-of-protein.
2. (UCTV), University of California Television. The Role of Fascia in Movement and Function, YouTube, 27 July 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=raCBeQ-gXfs.