It was February of 2018 and I was working towards a pretty intense goal. I was trying to get to a pretty lean body fat percentage before a competition and my birthday happened to be about 4 weeks out from the start of the event.
The week leading up to it I asked my coach if he thought I could eat what I wanted to on my birthday, or if I should hold off until after the competition was done. I was so sure he would advise me to wait, but instead he said, “well what do you want to do? What would make your birthday special?”
I told him there were three specific things I wanted that would make my birthday feel special, and if I didn’t get them I would feel a little deprived and like I didn’t fully celebrate.
I wanted dinner out with my husband and friends, a small acai bowl and half a 5 Daughters Bakery Cronut when out celebrating with my mom and sisters.
He said, “ok, I think you have your answer.” I was so surprised at his response but so elated (keep in mind I was in a pretty steep cut so food felt like a big deal at that time in my life).
Identifying the specific things that would make my birthday feel like a special occasion helped me have a plan going into the weekend and enjoy the things I truly wanted. I was able to say no to the things that were offered but wouldn’t have made it feel more special. That was a pivotal moment for me because I could take any situation (vacation, holiday celebration, etc) and apply the same principle: being mindful when going into a circumstance of what I wanted to get out of it and then proceeding with my normal habits would help me have sustainability for the long run.
Would I have gotten to my goal a teeny bit faster if I didn’t deviate that weekend?
But would I have felt a little resentful of the process and potentially splurged at a later point because I felt deprived?
This approach allowed me to practice a “good, better, best” mentality instead of an “all-or-nothing” mentality and I grew from it to help me later down the road. Plus, because I had the extra carbs I was able to really crush the next couple of workouts and feel AWESOME. Sometimes we need a strategic break and one step back will actually propel us 5 steps forward.
So what would this look like for you?
If you are working towards leaning out and staying lean and feel like you have to be rigid until you hit your goal, maybe think again. You don’t want to hit your goal and then go crazy because you have all these built-up feelings of deprivation and undo a lot of your hard work. If there is something coming up that really means a lot to you, think about how you can mindfully approach it. What are the specific things that will make it feel special to you, and what are the other things you can say no to?
I find at the beginning of coaching a lot of clients struggle with the “all or nothing mindset”–’ I may as well eat everything now because I won’t get it again!’ and end up feeling guilty or carrying that mindset past the event because they “messed up.” They said yes to things that didn’t really matter to them and that’s where the guilt starts. But when they approach an event with intention and mindfulness they are able to enjoy themselves during and after and get right back to their normal habits. They feel energized and ready to keep going, and it’s such a beautiful approach that works for each person’s individual needs.
Do I wish I could’ve just focused on the people and time together for my birthday and not cared about what food I got to eat?
But that’s where I was in my life (and still am sometimes). I also know that if I had told my coach that I really wanted to stick to my habit and get to my goal faster, my coach would’ve said to do it and celebrate later. That’s the beauty of coaching and having an individual plan for each client.
The same goes for you.
Think about what is going to work best for you and stick with it.
And if you need help figuring out what that is, our team is here to help.