Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mindset Hacks for Better Nutrition and Building a Workout Habit

I have been listening to a lot of mindset podcasts lately from the likes of James Clear to Chalene Johnson to Jill Coleman. I love to learn while I lift, why not grow mentally AND physically at the same time, right?

These are just some mindset hacks that I thought were brilliant, have used personally, or have coached clients to use:

1) Embrace the persona of who you strive to be

If you are trying to get into the habit of eating healthier, it serves you to say "I do not eat ice cream" instead of "I can't eat ice cream." By saying, "I do not eat X", you are owning that decision and at the same time reminding yourself of who you are becoming.

By saying I cannot eat X, you are playing the victim card. You are also removing your power. The funny thing is that by saying "I cannot", you are more likely to eat X! Crazy, huh?!

This same process of "do not" vs. "cannot" is key if you are trying to avoid eating out so often.

By the same token, fit people do not skip workouts. They prioritize them and do not do things that would interfere, for example,  they do not stay out too late so they will get up ready to go!

2) Build an environment conducive to your goals

If you are building a goal of early morning lifting, then it would be conducive to your goal to have your gym bag packed the night before so you can get up to head right to the gym. Heck, you might even sleep in your gym clothes. And then place your alarm somewhere that you have to physically get out of bed to shut it off.

If you are building a habit of better nutrition, then you would leave the kitchen scale out on the counter. It would create a better environment to take all your trigger foods to the office or the trash to be rid of them. Put fruits and veggies out on the counter to snack on. The path of least resistance is key. Things that are in eye sight are much more likely to be the choice in a moment of weak ego.

3) Plan for challenges

Your willpower is finite. You have the most in the morning and throughout the day, it depletes. Every single choice you make depletes your ego tank. You can use this to your advantage by removing choices that are optional. For example, Steve Jobs wore the same black turtleneck, jeans, and sneakers every single day to not waste his ego. As a female, I find wearing the same clothes a hard pill to swallow. I tend to pick out my clothing the night before at bedtime which just rearranges the ego drain to a more convenient time for me.

It helps to make a plan for challenges or situations that come up. This allows you to problem solve how best to handle them before they ever pop up. I like to plan out my eating in two stages. First, I plan a monthly overarching idea of meals and shop for them. secondly, the night before, I like to plug and play meals to meet my calorie and protein goal. This allows me to stick to my nutritional plan before things get busy or stressful.

So what if I get hungry for something not on my plan? Or what if I get hungry for a snack and do not have one planned in? Well since I have planned ahead, I have a few choices. I can rearrange for that item. I can find something else to do instead of eat- I like to do my nails instead or go shopping for gym wear. I can drink hot tea. All of these things are plans I have made in advance of the challenge that work for me.

I like to plan my workouts on a 12 week scale. I choose the Venus program I want to do next, how many days per week I will lift, and if I have any other fitness goals I need to plug in. Then I block out what my next 12 weeks will look like.

If a trip comes up, I can plan a workout with body weight only, find a gym, or do whatever cardio on the road. All this is possible because I have a plan to fall back on!

4) Surround yourself with like minded people

People in your life are not always going to get or even support your goals. Expect it. But there are plenty of others out there who do.

Connect with others who have similar interests at work or the gym. Venus ladies have the support of a huge online forum, often resulting in text and email buddies. Real life friendships are kindled further when we have meet ups like our upcoming April meet up in Miami.

There are also tons of blogs, Instagrammers, FB pages, podcasts, and other online forums to keep you submersed with like minded people. You can learn and troubleshoot your own issues from the experiences of others.

5) Set a maximum that is achievable and build on it

When you are building a new habit, it is easier to set a maximum than a minimum. For example, if you have a problem getting to the gym, allow yourself two weeks of 10 minutes working out for 3 days a week, max. After a couple of weeks, add an additional 10 minutes. Work your way up to the full routine.

The same thing goes for a calorie goal. Too often, people will cut the calories cold turkey when you would be better off tapering down 100 calories every few days until you get to your goal.

6) Track your streaks

There is a saying, "What gets measured gets done." I am a full believer in that.

Some like to track their streaks with stickers on a calendar- maybe one for nutrition and one for a workout. Some prefer tracking on a tracker like My Fitness Pal. Others like to use a spreadsheet. It is really whatever you will do consistently.

Once you get a streak going, it really creates a forward momentum that helps you ride your positive wave to the next!

What are your favorite hacks?

X- Liss