The flaws of "Starting over on Mondays"

So, if you have followed my blog for any length of time then you will know that stability in mind is one of the most important things to me, so I talk about things that can help with that a lot. I read an article yesterday about how it's just impossible to get away from all of the diet information that's out there. I don't want my blog to be another diet blog. I want to help you to reach your goals, but I want you to recognize that I love endurance sports, and I love health. The product that I provide helps others to lose weight, but that's not my end goal. All of my clients know this. 

I do my check ins on Mondays, and I can't count the number of emails that I get each week that "I have fallen off the wagon this weekend and starting back fresh today." Now, just that statement doesn't sound all that bad but the reality that most of the time the context is "I'm so overwhelmed that I cheated this weekend so much. I feel awful this morning. I'm going to be really diligent now, and I'm not going to cheat. I'm so upset with myself" and this is honestly a cycle that never stops. 

Counting macros can help a lot of people with this cycle because it provides a way to flexibly live life however that's not going to solve all the answers to your life anxieties. That's just unrealistic, so you've got to really be practical with yourself. I wanted to share a few things that I've learned through coaching and my own training. 

1. YOU CAN START FRESH ANYDAY

So, I know that we hear all this all the time but I want it to sink in. There is no reason that you have to make a Monday some start date. There is no reason that January 1st has to be a start date or the beginnings of a month. Our brains are wired this way and while it's always good to set goals, the reason that I don't like this is that it breeds really bad unhealthy behaviors the day BEFORE these days begin. Mondays are always there so we go crazy on the weekends. Jan 1st is always there so we start the diet then. I feel as if I'm a broken record about fluctuations like that but I hate it. People always are like "Oh but you have to live life" and absolutely you do. 100%. You should live life like that ALL the time, and not just on the weekends. You should live your Tuesday as you would your Saturday. I hate the way our culture has made us believe that "okay we diet on the week days and we go nuts on weekends" 

This doesn't mean that you can't have a fresh start, or that you can't enjoy your weekends. I just think it tends to make for these aggressive extremes when remaining in the middle, and just maybe having an untracked meal that isn't gorging or overeating and stopping when you're full is the best option. 

2. WEEKENDS DON'T MEAN DIETING NOR DO THEY MEAN GORGING

I think this goes off of what I said above with weekends. Why have we created this in our society? It really is so odd if you think about it. However, I will say this. I don't want anyone to feel that they can't have their free weekend, but weekends for most people ends up meaning that they are hitting their numbers 4 out of 7 days. That's fine if that's what you are choosing to do but you need to be realistic with yourself that progression happens with consistency and being a little more diligent on the weekends. I always encourage an every other weekend cycle for those that are really into this. I personally just keep things normal all the time. That doesn't mean that I don't have untracked meals because I have those all the time. I don't save those up for weekends. If I crave something, I have it. If it fits, I make it fit. If it doesn't, I stop when I'm full. I try not to do that more than 2-3 times per week and it all works out when you take care of your metabolism. 

3. RECOGNIZE YOUR BODY'S ABILITY TO TAKE CARE OF YOU 

Our bodies are so fluid. Our bodies are so intricate and God is so interesting and smart how he wove us all together. There is SO much that goes on in our bodies that it blows my mind, and you have to realize that if you take care of your body, your body is going to take care of you. Fitness and health should be a lifelong journey. That means that if you have a weekend that you mess up, you move on. If you step on the scale the next day and you've gained 2-10lbs, it is LITERALLY impossible to gain that much fat overnight. It's all water. 

You jump right back in and things will resume as they did before. There is no need to go to extremes. There is no reason to cut out food. If you return to normal, your body will go right back to baseline. If you are doing this as a lifelong journey, then there doesn't have to be this timeline. There shouldn't be a timeline really for anyone. I understand if you have an event like a wedding that you want to lose for, but if you are just getting in shape then there is no reason to put this pressure and this WORRY in your heart all the time about it. 

I was reading last night, and I realized something. The verse in Philippians that says "Do not worry about anything but instead pray about everything" was written by Paul...when he was in PRISON. Prison people, and he was saying not to worry. I think about that and the fact that we let a little extra morsel of food grace our mouths that we didn't track appropriately and we are freaking out. If you put things into perspective, it can be somewhat of a slap in the face. 

4. RECOGNIZE YOU MAY BE RESTRICTING TOO MUCH DURING THE WEEK 

So, I know that we all have goals and sometimes those goals are to lose weight and that is going to take a cut in calories. I think we all can recognize that and that it's not very fun. However, if you are finding that you are just going all out on the weekends, then you need to re evaluate your weeks. You aren't getting anywhere with doing that on the weekends so you might as well go up on your calories during the week to gain stability and happiness. If you are hating the weeks so much that you live for the cheat meal, then what kind of a life is that? Health is not meant to be miserable. If you are so hungry during the week that you are gorging at that untracked meal on the weekend then you need to re-evaluate something. It's just the hamster on the wheel crazy cycle that needs to be broken.

5. STOP GIVING FOOD SO MUCH "WEIGHT" 

Where has worry ever gotten you? I mean really honestly think about that. What has it ever accomplished besides anxiety? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. If you cheated on your program, and you are worked up about it, what happened? Most likely, you bounced back that next week. Was it worth the tears you cried or the anxiety felt over that cheat meal that stole your joy and your thoughts and your moments with friends? The only person that cares what you eat is YOU. Literally. That's it. 

The more "weight" that you give the situation, the more that it's going to work you up in the future. This is some psychological stuff right here, but honestly you have to practice pushing things like that out of your brain. You think you can't, but let me tell you, you can. Its hard but you can. 

I know that this is not a lot of science, but I've been at this game for a long time. I've seen a lot of people go through this process and the number one thing that is ever going to get you anywhere in the lifelong journey of health and fitness is sustainability. You can't live forever on hunger. You can't live forever on restriction. You are going to be miserable if you are hungry during the week, binging during the weekends and never getting anywhere because your body doesn't know what to do ever. It's stressed when you diet, and then is even more stressed when you binge and it hangs onto EVERYTHING.

Take a step back, take a deep breath, and just live at peace. 

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