Throughout lockdown, I’ve not been great with my sugar consumption. In the past, I would have beaten myself up about it, felt guilty for having a ‘treat’, for eating ‘bad’ food. But the reality is, food is food. It is made to be enjoyed and in times like this, it is important to be kind to ourselves and eat what makes us feel good and happy in that moment, but importantly what isn’t going to aggravate a challenging situation later.
The way I look at it right now is, I make good cookies and bread, so I’m going to enjoy them.
However, I now want to try and reduce my consumption and control it a little better because I notice that on the nights I eat more high sugar food my tummy doesn’t like me very much the next day. With a history of IBS style symptoms, things like sugar, caffeine and stress really trigger flair ups.
So I want to get a handle on my eating again because ultimately my health is my priority, more so than ever before.
This is when it’s important for me to remember why I put a considerable amount of time into planning what I eat and how I exercise. To live a better life, strive toward better health and perform better in the gym and at work. As much as I have tried in the past to do exercise and eat well to look good, it gives me absolutely no motivation. I like a challenge and to work toward a bigger goal.
To get myself moving again this week, I drew up an accountability chart to admit when I do and don’t hit little targets. The idea is that I want to have hit as many of those targets as possible in the space of a day, week or month.
For training, it was easy: mobility, cardio, strength, rest. For nutrition, there were so many ways I could look at it.
I started with the most generic objective that we are all prone to: “eat well”. Well, what does that mean?! Eating well means something different for everyone on any given day.
Think about how many times you’ve been in this situation:
“I ate well today. Considering work was stressful and I wanted to eat the three family-size bags of tortilla chips in the cupboard and follow it up with a tub of ice cream. But instead, I had one bag of tortilla chips and two bowls of ice cream. That’s better, right?”
Specificity is important. It is essential.
We need to be able to look at our goals objectively and hold ourself to account for our actions. If I can’t hit my goals, I ultimately only have myself to blame. Therefore, setting small targets like:
- eating 10-15 portions of fruit and vegetables a day
- having protein with every meal
- having no more than three cups of coffee
- not having coffee after 1pm
- drinking eight glasses of water a day
- only having alcohol two nights a week
- nailing my macros
- only eating sugary cookies twice a week
You get the point.
It is important to set ourselves small targets that we can follow regardless of how the day went and what the circumstances were. If we have a baseline then it gives us something to work to, and when we need it, to workaround.
What are your goals right now? Are you being specific and making yourself accountable?
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