Recently, I went on a trip to Mexico with my husband and a group of friends. We actually take this trip annually, and it is quite the party. If you’ve ever been on a cruise…you know what I mean.

Upon arrival of the ship and pre boarding, a few friends announced it was their “cheat weekend” and I had been asked several times, “Are you going to be “good” this trip or indulge?”

This comment doesn’t make sense to me, and If you know what I teach as far as health and fitness, you know what I mean.

My response, as always, (because sadly, yes, I still get asked this frequently) is “I don’t believe in food being “off limits” at any time, therefore I eat the same no matter what time of year, or event. If I want something, I’ll have it and move on. I eat to feel good and nourish myself. No need to “go haywire” and eat everything in sight just because you are on vacation.”

My belief and philosophy: there is no proper “time” to indulge in food, because food is never “off limits” at any time, and never would I ever indulge to the point of sickness for days straight and neither should you.

Of course, very breakfast, lunch and dinner we ate at restaurants and being on a cruise, there is unlimited food 24/7.

I vividly remember dinner in Mexico one night where we were at a mexican restaurant (this was also our 3rd in a row, because #vacation, right? WRONG! Our friends definitely had plans lol.) Even by the 3rd restaurant, I remember one friend to himself getting a burrito, carne asada fries and nachos, because it was “vacation.”

Every bite he took he said:

“I shouldn’t be eating this”

“Diet starts Monday.”

He would keep reiterating the fact it’s “vacation” to give himself a reason.

The rest of the weekend continued on the same. He kept making remarks like “isn’t this what vacations are for?”, “diet starts Monday, I swear.” As if he was actually going to “diet” come Monday.

He lived for these moments of overindulgence and you could tell.

Any moment there was an “excuse” to do so, it was taken advantage of.

I knew what would happen when we got back from vacation as I have seen the cycle spin too many times before.

He was going to attempt (like everyone does) eating “healthy” by sticking to the same bland foods- chicken, brown rice, eggs, ground turkey, etc. and end up lasting maybe a day, or a week if he’s lucky, before he gives in again.

This reminds me of a common theme I see of people bouncing from diet to diet, thinking it has to be an extreme process to lose weight. They are “good all week”, then “splurge all weekend”, as if our body knows it’s the weekend. Then you spend Sunday evening in the most miserable pain of your life, regretting every decision you just made, overwhelmed with thinking you have to go back to your restrictive diet the next day.

Deprive, INDULGE to sickness, guilt. (Week after week, it cycles.)

I watched our friend as I saw him painfully stuff himself to uncomfortableness with the mindset of HAVING to finish all of the food because his “diet starts Monday”.

The problem is, he is continuously trying to go “all in” to is diet and every time, failing, for a reason. He is OVERWHELMED. It is too restrictive, and not sustainable. Going “all in” can lead to bad behavior with food and anything really. This is a massive reason I teach my clients to never go “all-in”, as they will 100% fail.

It is about baby steps.

The same principle applies to your workouts.

I remember years ago, If I couldn’t get in a full two hour workout daily, I felt like a “failure” and would constantly make myself “redo” the workout to make it count. Even if I could only make it to the gym 30 minutes that day, it “wasn’t worth it”. It was a destructive relationship with my fitness.

It is basically like slashing all your tires on your car because one of you tires is flat. POINTLESS and doesn’t make sense.

If you are struggling with this mindset of “all or nothing”, know that you are not alone and you WILL overcome this with patience and consistency.

I have three major pieces of advice I’d like to share that I know will help you begin to overcome this:

1. Know that being consistently good is better than inconsistently perfect.

2. You WILL have bad days, times you aren’t “perfect” and you have to be okay with that.

3. Find a system in nutrition and your workouts that is sustainable for YOU, not what works for Sally or John.

I can’t stress enough the importance of being consistently “good” and being okay with that.

You have to learn to be okay with that or you will NEVER be happy. Why?

Perfection is literally unattainable. Don’t shoot for “perfect”. Set mini goals to reach your bigger goals and this way, each week you are shooting for something actually achievable, not far fetched. When we shoot to far, we tend to fall off quickly, as we are overwhelmed and stressed with what it takes to get there. Missing one workout won’t throw you off track, just like eating one “healthier” meal won’t get you the body of your dreams. Stop thinking this is a quick fix method!

Being okay with having bad days is going to come in handy, because you sure sure to have bad days. We are human. We all have bad days. Guess what; that is OKAY. Maybe you skipped your workout, maybe you ate a cookie or two, maybe you haven’t worked out in a week. You WILL SURVIVE. What matters is you picking yourself up, accepting what happened happened, and moving on the next moment; not the next day. That exact moment you recognize and accept what happened that you didn’t want to.

Lastly, you have to find a system that works for YOU. This will look differently for everyone. Hence, why I am such a firm believer in 1-on-1 coaching. Don’t intermittent fast because Sally does it. Don’t do what John is doing. Experiment with what works for you. What I have my clients do to mend their mindset around food, on the nutrition end, is follow the 80/20 method. We focus on filling their meals with whole nutrient dense foods (lean proteins, veggies, nutrient dense carbohydrates) 80% of the time, and 20% it is more of the less nutritionally dense foods. This allows for structure, but wiggle room in your eating regimen. I teach that NO FOOD is off limits, but all foods offer different nutritional values.

All in all, you have to enjoy the process. Remember, this is NOT about reaching for the end result from day one. You won’t get there. It takes baby steps compounded on top of each other to reach your big goals, so give yourself grace in moments of downfall. Be patience and kind with yourself. You won’t overcome these things in one day or even a month. It takes time. The more you REMIND yourself of that, put in effort where you can and are consistent with your actions day to day, you will see results.

This is not “all-or-nothing”. Small efforts over time yield results, toward a healthy LIFE with no definitive end. It’s a JOURNEY. You are constantly going to be a work in progress and that’s the beauty of life.

-McKenna O

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