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Getting in Shape isn’t about Willpower

Despite what you may have been led to believe, getting in shape has very little to do with willpower.

“I would love to be in better shape; I just don’t have the willpower to do it.”

It’s something I’ve heard often. And I’d like to debunk this myth.

I’m not disputing the fact that it takes discipline not to indulge in break room doughnuts, or to put in 30 miles a week on the treadmill - but focusing on all the foods you can’t have or the exercise you have to do is a recipe for failure.

Focusing on all the foods you can't have or the exercise you can't do is a recipe for failure.

If you are trying to get in shape - whether you’re looking to lose weight or just improve your overall health - consider implementing the following:

1) Rather than focusing on what you can’t eat, challenge yourself to incorporate more of the good stuff.

Does drinking water feel like a chore? Try infusing it with fruit, or drinking tea.

Hate veggies? Try mixing them into other recipes, or experimenting with different ways of eating them.

Can’t imagine living without ice cream? Try substituting smoothie bowls or yogurt with jam or fruit when you need a sugar fix.

Try to eat MORE of the good stuff. This feels far less restrictive, and will ultimately help you avoid the bad stuff since you’ll feel more satiated overall.

2) Find a fitness routine you love.

You are never going to stick with a routine you hate. Find the form of movement that you most enjoy, and you’ll be far more likely to maintain a consistent routine.

You are never going to stick with a routine you hate.

3) Try writing it down.

This helps in multiple ways:

  • It keeps you accountable (How many times have you sat down with a bag of chips to find them half gone 20 minutes later?)

  • It can help you tune into your body’s signals (Do you reach for food when you really need a nap?)

  • It can help you identify your triggers (Do you tend to fall off the wagon when you are anxious or stressed? Do you starve yourself all day, and overeat at night?)

  • Looking back on it feels good (Try keeping track of how many minutes of exercise you did every week, or how many days in a row you ate more than 3 servings of veggies.)

3) Make it easier to make healthy decisions.

Wash, cut and prepare veggies at the beginning of the week - or as soon as you get them home. This way, you’ll be more likely to reach for them throughout the week.

If you find it challenging to eat a healthy breakfast, prepare what you can the night before (or try overnight oats!); if you find it challenging to avoid snacking after dinner, try occupying yourself with something else instead. You get the idea.

Register for classes as opposed to going to the gym. Knowing you have to show up in order to avoid a late fee - or even just adding the class to your calendar - can do a lot in helping you to be more consistent.

What are your thoughts? What else would you add?

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