Consistency is something that we talk a lot about here at Eat More 2 Weigh Less.
But what exactly is consistency? Is it never missing a workout? Eating exactly the same number of calories or foods day in and day out? Never having a treat or a low day?
Websters defines consistency as conformity in the application of something, typically that which is necessary for the sake of logic, accuracy, or fairness. It lists a number of synonyms including uniformity, constancy, evenness. In other words, it's maintaining a sense of constant balance in your life.
But in many circumstances, when we approach our fitness and nutrition goals, we define consistency in terms of perfect adherence to a set of rules or guidelines that we feel will bring about positive changes in our health and fitness. Often times these rules are not ones that are even practical for us. The diet industry is alive and well, and particularly as women, we are constantly bombarded with a stream of messages about the “right” way to lose weight. Many of these rules are incredibly restrictive and so limiting that by nature, they make it nearly impossible to be consistent from the very beginning.
Instead of striving for perfection, strive to be even and constant. This is less about achieving perfection in balancing calories in versus calories out and more about making sure to appropriately fuel your workouts with foods that make you feel great. It is less about sticking to a prescribed list of “acceptable foods” and more about staying the course. We all have good days and days we wish were better. But if you are frequently alternating between “falling off the wagon” and “needing to get back on track”, chances are you are not remaining consistent.
If you find that you are consistently struggling to be consistent, it may be appropriate to take a deeper look at the reasons why..
Find a Way of Eating that Works for YOU!
If you are struggling to follow your plan, or experiencing much temptation to binge eat, it is likely that your way of eating is simply not working for you. There are a number of popular eating plans out there-clean eating, paleo, vegan, vegetarianism, etc. Each of these approaches has strengths and weaknesses, but its important to remember that no eating plan is perfect. Nor is it set in stone! Even if an eating plan were nutritionally perfect, if it is unsustainable over the long-term, it doesn't do much good. At EM2WL, we emphasize finding what way of eating works for you. Unless you have an actual physical intolerance, there is no reason why any food (including gluten, red meat, bacon, dairy, and even sugar!) cannot be incorporated into a plan that helps you to see the results you desire.
Instead of thinking about perfectly adhering to someone else's way of eating, think about the foods that you enjoy eating, make you feel great, and fuel your body's needs. There may be foods that you will include less frequently (ahem, ice cream) when you are focusing on fat loss, but you should be able to have quite a bit of freedom with your food choices. Find a plan that allows YOU to be consistent with your unique personality, schedule, and likes and dislikes.
Do workouts you enjoy!
Consistency in the gym is important in order to reach your fitness goals. If you dread every workout, chances are you won't get to the gym as often as you need to in order to maximize results. Don't ever feel obligated to do something you hate in the name of fitness. Your workouts should be enjoyable! If you are bored with the treadmill, try kettlebells or a group fitness class. If you have a hard time getting your strength training sessions done, schedule a session with a personal trainer for some ideas how to mix it up.
Are you planning ahead or planning to fail?
Ever heard the saying, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail?” It's at least partially true. You will have a far easier time sticking to your plan if you spend some time over the weekend thinking ahead to the obstacles you may face in the week ahead. If you know you have a busy work week ahead, plan to use your crock-pot or make a few freezer meals over the weekend. If you know getting to the gym might be a challenge, have some basic equipment at home so you can squeeze in a living-room workout if you need to. A little planning ahead can make all the difference in the world!
Be patient with yourself.
Be careful that you are not confusing consistency with perfection. Make sure that small slip-ups do not turn into giant disasters by getting back on track right away. Give yourself grace to be human. Staying the course over the long run will yield far better results than micro-managing every minute detail. Looking back, you'll be so glad you did!
Photos courtesy of marin, marcus of freedigitalphotos.net
Becca is a busy wife and homeschooling mother to five children ages 5 to 13. About three years ago, she embarked on a journey to health and fitness that resulted in the loss of approximately 100 pounds. Today, she is a competitive powerlifter and strongwoman who loves ice cream and deadlifts. As an ISSA certified personal trainer, she is passionate about helping women to get started on a lifestyle of strength and fitness.