Dietary Groundhog’s Day: How to Stop Chronic Dieting and Lose Weight

A well-worn path doesn’t mean that you’re on the right track.

Dietary Groundhog's Day How to Stop Chronic Dieting and Lose Weight- chronic dieting

Phil Connors is an arrogant weatherman sent out to cover the annual Groundhog Day event. Little did he know, his life was about to take an unexpected turn. Phil eventually discovers that he is in a continuous time loop, repeating the same day over and over.

At first, Phil takes advantage of this by indulging himself in pleasures such as: stealing money, seducing women, getting drunk with no repercussions, and learning all the town’s secrets.

Hold up, this name and story sounds familiar.

That’s because it is.

In 1993, Phil Connors played by Bill Murray is introduced to us in the movie Groundhog Day. Besides teaching us valuable life lessons, this movie shares valuable nutritional lessons we still suffer with currently.

We live in a society where people spend plenty of money on fad diets, countless workout programs, and supplements promising us quick results.

Unfortunately, more information and money hasn’t saved our society from becoming more obese. In fact, there’s a recent research study that concluded that only 2.7 percent of Americans live a healthy lifestyle. A basic healthy lifestyle consists of moderate exercising, a good diet, not smoking, and having a recommended body fat percentage.

Phil’s problems are getting out of a rut, finding meaning and fulfillment, and instituting change. Weight-loss seeking enthusiasts problems are escaping from a dietary rut, making fitness and life co-exist, and creating lasting change.

While we’re not trapped in a time loop like Phil, many of us are trapped in our daily routines by our conditioning. These routines and current conditioning are the reason many of us fail with our diets, despite the plethora of knowledge available.

Many of us are on auto-pilot and never take the time to slow down and assess what’s working and what isn’t within our lives. While many people seeking weight-loss have the right intentions, their motives and methods are fleeting. The typical dieting cycle looks like this:

  1. Start a diet full of motivation supplied by adrenaline and the novelty of starting something new (albeit often too extreme and not tailored to your personal lifestyle)
  2. They start to feel restricted and deprived once motivation and the novelty of this diet wears off
  3. The hunger games commence (i.e. discomforting and annoying cravings from being restrictive)
  4. They give into these temptations
  5. They’re flooded with guilt and shame
  6. They quit
  7. Months later, they feel a spark of inspiration and start back at one

Day in and day out, year in and year out, many people rinse and repeat this cycle. This is the Groundhog Day effect people experience with dieting. Until you slow down and realize that all your thoughts, actions, and approaches determine your results—you’re going to experience the same result over and over.

To stop chronic dieting, you must begin to pay attention to the outcomes of your decisions, how your thought patterns and preconditioned responses determine the majority of the actions and behaviors you take on a daily basis.

Once you have this awareness, now you can break the chains and free yourself from this continuous cycle because you can start to recognize what’s working for you, your fears, and other preexisting beliefs you hold.

As you embark on this freeing journey, use these six strategies to head toward a path of lasting success by focusing on your health and longevity and stop chronic dieting.

1.Reframe your approach to goal setting

Basing your worth and judging if your dietary program is working solely by the number on the scale is setting yourself up for a potential disaster. The scale isn’t the best indicator of progress at times due to water weight from eating certain foods along with other hormonal fluctuations not being accounted for.

stop chronic dieting- Homemade Green Tea Cake
An indulgent meal of green tea cake may cause a little temporary water retention

 

Instead of relying on superficial metrics and numbers, set positive and realistic goals that promote positive outcomes. Base your goals on behavioral and action oriented metrics, not specific outcomes. In other words, become process oriented instead of result oriented.

“I’m going to get healthier”, “start working out”, and “lose some weight” aren’t good examples of setting concise, positive, and measurable goals.

Great examples would be reducing your consumption of sodas, decreasing your sugar intake, committing to the gym four times a week, eating vegetables with each meal, walking for 30 minutes daily, and eating one portion of protein with each meal.

2.Don’t trap yourself inside the box of sameness

What makes us special as humans are that as similar as we may seem, there are little intricacies that make each of us unique individuals.

Health and nutrition aren’t any different.

Sure, some principles such as eating plenty of vegetables and avoiding processed foods apply to each of us. But, the methods to go about eating those vegetables and healthy foods can be accomplished in many forms.

 Find what suits you personally and meshes seamlessly with your goals while not requiring a complete overhaul within your daily life.

There are many different avenues to the destination, but it’s up to you to discover and decide on which pathway works for you.

3.Let your body guide you

In today’s society, we’re terrible listeners. We’re mostly focused on ourselves and what we’re going to say next. So it’s no surprise that most people aren’t good at listening to their body and making adjustments.

You can have the best diet and exercise plan on paper, but at the end of the day, it’s not guaranteed to work exactly as planned. At the end of the day, predicting calories and macronutrients is mostly theory and provides a good starting point. While tracking your macros and determining an estimated calorie number is beneficial, the best indicator is always going to be your body.

Your body is constantly whispering and trying to guide you, but you have to listen and pay attention.

Are you noticing those intense hunger pangs or just writing them off as part of the normal process of dieting? Are you noticing your daily energy levels or just accepting that walking around cranky and tired is part of the dieting process? Are you paying attention to your body and those seemingly small aches and pains or just writing them off as an intense workout?

These are just a few examples of your body communicating with you.

An intelligent and sustainable diet doesn’t mean you have to starve or function day-to-day with low energy. An intelligent and sustainable diet provides enough macro and micronutrients that help repair your body against nagging joint pains and other common issues.

stop chronic dieting- smoothie for energy
Provide your body with ample amounts of nutrients.

 

Let go of the mentality that you have to suffer while dieting and start paying attention to the feedback your body provides.

4.Celebrate little wins

Us humans often times set ambitious goals that are daunting and placed under unrealistic timelines.

When it comes to our goals, we need to feel as if we’re making progress. But, focusing on the end goal often leaves us feeling as if we’re not making progress due to the scope of the goal.

However, this is a mute point when you start to reframe how you view success. Someone may want to lose 20lbs, but why delay celebrating until you reach 20lbs?

To increase your chances of succeeding, start setting micro goals. These micro goals provide opportunities for little wins, which serve as your gasoline to continue along your fitness journey. If 20lbs is your main goal, why not celebrate at 3—every little bit counts.

When you focus on the little wins, you give awareness to the fact that you’re making positive changes within your life; thus guaranteeing momentum to continue along.

5.Embrace and commit to the long term

Whether it’s committing to a relationship or committing to a work assignment—us humans have trouble committing.

Let’s face it, commitment is scary because this forces us to leave our familiar conditions.

The same thing happens once we commit to truly changing the way we’re eating.

Fad diets, body resets, and cleanses will work in the short term. Sure, you’re going to lose some weight and start to feel good about yourself. But once you stop these types of programs, your weight is most likely going to return with no mercy.

People experience a rebound weight effect over the long term because they haven’t developed the proper habits and behaviors needed over the long-haul.

Fad diets and other short-term gimmicks place you in a state of temporary change. Short term diets allow you to avoid committing to new behaviors over the long-haul while adopting less than stellar behaviors and relationships with foods.

These short term diets tend to outcast one particular food group or they’re loaded with rules that leave you with a distorted perception toward healthy eating.

It’s a 7-day-24-hour affair that requires a commitment to the long term in order to truly experience lasting change instead of a mere illusion.

6.Never forget this: health goes beyond physical

It takes a lot more than eating baked chicken, steamed veggies, sweet potatoes, and a salad to achieve optimal health. Optimal health while maximizing your longevity requires a focus on your four pillars of fitness: emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical.

Often times, eating healthy is only preached as an avenue to get abs, tone our arms, and tighten up our glutes. Though it’s not nearly as sexy to focus on, our internal world is far more important than our external world.

stop chronic dieting- meditation
Start your day off with a brief meditation session to get your internal world started on the right track

 

What good is a lean athletic looking body if it’s internally comparable to a sickly and disease ridden 80-year-old’s body (no disrespect to senior citizens)?

Despite what the media and Instagram try to shove down our throats, fitness isn’t just a game consisting of superficial metrics and rigid rules.

Forcing yourself to eat bland and tasteless foods in the name of achieving an almighty six-pack isn’t worth it. Following a restrictive diet that doesn’t fit your particular lifestyle isn’t your only option.

Even though you may be eating healthy foods on this restricting plan, you’re simultaneously creating unnecessary stress on your internal world. Besides the unnecessary stress compounding and throwing some hormones off balance, you’re not going to be happy with this plan.

Healthy eating should be a nutritional choose your own adventure designed to build you up physically, nourish your soul with flavoring foods, emotionally satisfy your needs, and mentally allow you to thrive in life.

Diet is important, but remember you only get one body (treat it with love)

Sometimes when left unaddressed, our pursuit of a healthier body and lifestyle often becomes our biggest detriment.

When unaddressed, we view and only see our bodies for their imperfections, not for their gifts and unique abilities. The more you accept your body and treat it with love, the more motivated you become and easier it is to reach your goals.

In a hyper-sexualized world where looks are placed at a premium, keeping the big picture in mind is essential. When you start to focus on your energy, overall wellness, happiness, peace and approach your nutrition with love instead of approaching with an unhealthy obsession toward losing weight, your goals and life will level up (as well as your physique).

Yes, you may feel ashamed of how you look or feel you need to lose fifteen pounds. But remember, it’s not the size of your muscles nor how much you weigh that determines your worth as a person, your beauty, or your value to the world.

Focus on your general well-being and living the good life. The weight and body that you desire will follow suit (I promise).

How to Fall Back in Love With Fitness: A 5-Step Process to Get Back Into the Exercise Habit

“The secret to change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new”

– Socrates

how to fall back in love with fitness- fall back in love with fitness

I have a confession to make, 2015 was my worst year ever in fitness. 2015 was the year I also hit rock bottom as far as my personal everyday life goes. On the surface, it would seem that things were going smoothly while underneath behind closed doors—things were slowly, but gradually, crumbling right before my eyes.

What happened?

The inevitable game of life.

It’s the game that throws various obstacles and temptations your way. It’s the game that leaves you in a tailspin despite any willpower or any know how you might possess.

At some point along anyone’s health and fitness journey, passion withers, motivation vanishes,and complacency sets in. You forget why you even started to fall in love with your healthy lifestyle in the first place.

Falling back in love with fitness and recovering from the thunderous jabs that life delivers at times isn’t an instantaneous process. Instead, it’s a day-by-day process that requires a methodical focus on the present moment to build your fitness habits back to normalcy.

Here are five steps I used to slowly fall back in love with fitness.

How to fall back in love with fitness

1.Accept your current self and situation

What’s in the past is in the past.

Me pining and clamoring for the 2012 version of Julian isn’t serving me at this current moment. Clamoring for past glory isn’t serving your objective of getting back to your healthy habits—it’s merely distracting you from getting started back with your fitness.

While you may not be as happy as you were with your old physique, odds are those perceived happy moments floating in your head weren’t as sunny as you think. Those happy moments were most likely brief because you moved on to the next objective.

Why weren’t you as happy in the past as you think you were?

You most likely created a different story and character that glosses over the not-so-fun moments (we’re all guilty of this). You’re creating a story presently that fits what your beliefs are; thus, you’re idealizing your past while subconsciously torturing your present self.

Happiness is fleeting and as we accomplish fitness and physique goals, our default baseline and expectations grow as well.

Examples of the self-imposed expectations curse/syndrome

To many people, I look great. I appear to have above average muscularity, strength, and athletic abilities. However, I don’t see myself close to what the world sees me because I know at one point in time, I was leaner, stronger, faster, and more conditioned.

I see someone who is heavier, weaker and gets tired quicker than he used to. In my head, I remember the 165-pound kid who became a lean 200-pounds. Now that I’m not in this peak physical condition, I feel like a disappointment and a fraud because of the expectations from myself and the comments of others about how healthy I am.

Far too often, I’ll hear clients and random people talk in the gym about how they used to be this or that. Obsessing over the past and idealizing what you used to look like leads to feelings of despair, hopelessness, self-hate, worthlessness, and a defeaters attitude before even beginning your new fitness endeavor.

As the things in the past become more and more distant, our stories and perceptions of those events become more skewed.

This step of falling back in love with yourself starts with accepting your current circumstances and forgiving yourself for everything that has transpired.

2.Be rational, objective, & reframe your situation

During my tumultuous portion of 2015, I ate like shit and treated myself poorly without any remorse.

Did I gain weight? Absolutely.

Did I gain some fat? Absolutely.

The scale told me I was 15lbs heavier and at one point 20. Was all this fat? Absolutely not.

Why is that?

The scale is a liar and doesn’t consider your water weight a key contributor to the sudden flux of added weight. Don’t let the scale play games with your heart (embarrassingly, typing this brings back memories of the Backstreet Boys).

the scale- fall back in love with fitness
don’t place your value on an arbitrary number

Most of the excess calories and junk we consume is from carbohydrates. Knowing this, it’s imperative that you remember that carbs pull in twice the amount of water into our cells compared to the other macronutrients.

It takes an excess of 3500 calories to gain a pound of fat. Do you really think you ate that much(this doesn’t even factor in the calories you burn on a daily basis)?

Looking at the big picture, it’s doubtful that your excess weight in this time frame is all fat. Most of your excess weight consist of water. A few careless weeks isn’t going to significantly raise your body fat.

Everyone falls off the wagon & loses their way. The worst thing you can do is beat yourself up for it. I tried this and it only leads to negative self-talk and beliefs that I couldn’t get back to where I used to be. Instead of criticizing & self-loathing, approach this fitness reset with some compassion. Look at the past objectively, view the present with optimism, and look to the future with endless possibilities.

3.Just focus on doing

Woody Allen, one of my favorite directors, once said: “half of life is showing up.”

When it comes to climbing back aboard with our fitness, let’s increase this number to 90%.

You can worry about toning your thighs, how much weight you have to lose, the amount you want to bench, or how big you want your arms—that shit is irrelevant. It’s about doing and being. The type of action or exercising performed isn’t the priority, it’s the simple act of exercising that should be the focus. You can always switch later, you just need to get back into the correct mindset of being active.

What does this mean?

Think about the habits and character traits that you desire more so than the results you seek. Those results only manifest through the implementation of those positive habits and character traits.

You can’t control the timetable for results and other outside metrics, but you can control the actions and habits necessary to give yourself the best chance of making those desires a reality.

4.Have an intro/re-load week

Your main mission in the first week back into your fitness routine is to complete the days and habits establish at the beginning of the week.

You’re going to equip and condition your mind back into the necessary routine for success while establishing a baseline for where you currently stand.

Focus on getting back into the groove (oh Madonna, I couldn’t help it).

Here’s a sample list for week one to get you back into the groove:

  • Create a mission list– this serves as your checklist to operate throughout the week
  • Front load your work– try to identify your 3 biggest obstacles before setting forth on your reload week. Doing this keeps you one step in front of potential obstacles and distractions along the way.
  • Sample objectives– hit calorie/diet goals with 80% compliance, workout three times this week, and walk 30 minutes 5 days this week
  • Leave nothing to chance– Pack your gym clothes in the morning & go immediately after work. Batch your meals if you need to.
  • Make it real– Put your gym time on a calendar and only cancel for true emergencies. If it’s on your schedule, it’s real and you avoid the excuse of something came up.
  • No need to get fancy– Commit to working out 15-25 minutes, doing a few exercises (think compound movements). Here’s a guide to building an efficient & effective routine beyond the intro week.
  • Don’t forget old faithful– Get quality sleep each and every night. (7 hours minimum). If you’re far from this number, take small steps in 15-30 minute increments to get closer.

Ok, you got through the first week, how tough was it? What are your strengths? What about your weaknesses? How far could you walk? How was your conditioning levels? How did your eating go?

These are your baseline parameters from which to operate from in the upcoming weeks. Your only objective is to improve upon the intro week metrics…nothing else

5.Show some gratitude

It’s not sexy, but appreciating yourself works wonders for your psyche. Take a moment and think about how you felt and what you were capable of before you ever started to workout. Think about what accomplishing those first few fitness goals felt like?

You probably felt on top of the world, like nothing  was impossible. But as we know by now, happiness is fleeting. With success comes raised expectations which are where you currently sit. You know what you can do and what you’ve accomplished in the past. Think about your mindset currently and realize what you expect now out of yourself is most likely something you didn’t expect ever out of yourself.

That’s a damn good feeling that you must never forget. So while you’re striving to fall back in love with fitness, think about what you initially wanted to do and accomplish.

For some, it was losing 20lbs, benching 200lbs, playing in the park with their kids without running out of breath, run a marathon, get off blood pressure medications and other various medications.

It’s about perspective. We can look back on our past fitness selves and accomplishments, but let’s also look back to square one before we accomplished anything and look where we are now.

Give thanks to what has been accomplished, but realize that the best is yet to happen. Version 2.0 of yourself is waiting. Crush your previous baseline numbers, take it slow, and go have some fun

A Quick & Breezy Guide to Reinvention in Life & Fitness in Ten Simple Steps

reinvention in Life & Fitness

Why place our happiness and self-worth on hold until we reach a particular fitness goal?

Why let our work determine whether we’re valuable or not?

Why let media, the guru down the street, your co-workers, or peers determine what’s good and what isn’t?

Whatever happened to living our own truth?

In 2015, my fragile psyche caught up to me. I quit writing. I quit working out. I quit eating healthy. I lost my identity. I was searching and clinging for something, but I didn’t know what that something was. I began to question if I made the right decision to leave school (along with many other things).

Just as a phoenix goes through a re-birth, I needed to experience the same. I was emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically depleted.

Reinvention is not easy, nor is it pretty. A reinvention isn’t going to happen overnight, it’s a daily practice that requires consistency and dedication. A reinvention starts with getting your internal world in order and building from the inside out.

Here are ten actions I implemented to slowly get myself off the floor and begin to get back into my fitness routine and changing my life for the better.

Steps to a reinvention in life & fitness

1. Stare at the man or woman in the mirror

Michael Jackson reminded us to stare at ourselves in the mirror and that’s how we were going to make a change.

In the art of reinventing yourself, the same logic applies. Reinvention starts with taking a trip into our internal world.

If you want to lose weight, it’s up to you to make it happen. You can read plenty of books (including my upcoming one) and health magazines while psyching yourself up with fitness inspiration quotes, but at the end of the day, it’s about you taking action to make it happen.

Talking about it isn’t enough (that’s merely pretending, something I was an expert at).

I talked about trying to learn how to salsa dance for years and secretly envied dancers for years. I envied friends and peers who wrote books and shared their ideas through speaking.

After enough time, you realize that it’s no one’s fault that these events aren’t manifesting—the onus is on you.

It’s freeing and scary to realize that everything you do and don’t is 100% your fault and in your control. Realize that you and only you are the captain of your operation.

2. What do you love doing?

Take a second and brainstorm at least ten things you love doing. Yes, I know you want to level up your fitness, but there is more to life than macros and squats.

An unbalanced life where everything dictates around fitness isn’t ideal and eventually leads to burnout (trust me on this one).

Seek a balanced lifestyle; thus ensuring yourself that you’re mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually addressing your components for a world class body and life.

After you wrote your list of ten things, pick two or three of them and start to pursue them.

3. Commit to movement every day

It’s not about the quantity or duration of your session, it’s about the quality and intensity of the session. It’s better to do a little every day than to do an astronomical amount a couple days out of the week.

Incorporating daily movement into your life programs your brain to become accustomed to exercise and rely less on willpower.

Daily movement doesn’t mean going to the gym every day and strength training. Daily movement on off days could be salsa dancing, learning how to tango, walking for 30-60 minutes, yoga, hiking, or riding your bike. Your only objective is to get moving each-and-every-single-day.

reinvention in Life & Fitness -dancing
Warning….dancing in public may get some weird looks

4. Write down 5 things that scare the living hell out of you

I love people, but yet they equally terrify me. I’ve wanted to speak for a great deal of time, but fear has cemented me in asphalt and kept me in neutral.

Nevertheless, when it comes to your new goals and aspirations, you must attack your fears with aggression. Realize that those moments of feeling uncomfortable, uncertain, and nervous are positive signs that you’re heading in the right direction of growing in fitness and within your life.

Change isn’t going to happen inside your safe bubble of comfort and familiarity.

5. Pick two or three of those scary things and start doing them

I choose public speaking, asking for help, and a dream project that can’t be announced yet (I’m very superstitious).

What about you?

You can accomplish anything you set your mind to, but not all at once. Pick only a couple new things that scare you and put your focus on those.

As with any new habit, do a little each day. Don’t place unbearable expectations on yourself. Keep it small, consistent, and over time, these seemingly insignificantly actions magically add up into an impressive body of work.

6. Write down how you envision yourself in three months, six months, and 12 months

This is about you making a declaration for your fitness and your life.

Without a vision, you’re walking aimlessly into the forest without a compass or the stars to guide you.

The odds of succeeding without a vision isn’t likely. How will you know what succeeding in fitness looks and feels like if you haven’t determined it?

Without establishing what your goals and success metrics are, you run the risk of letting the external world determine if you’re a success or not.

People often over-estimate what can be accomplished in the short term, but under-estimate what can be accomplished over the long haul.

Establishing a vision provides a “why” to justify the actions that you’re taking on a daily basis.

7. Find a Yoda, form a team, or find a partner in crime

Nothing is accomplished in this world by yourself. I learned this the hard way. I’m slowly starting to build an accountability network and support team for my fitness, writing, speaking, relationships, and general well-being.

Everyone needs someone that they can lean their shoulders on or fall back into during hard times.

Whether it’s finding a workout partner or joining a community of like-minded individuals—find some form of accountability and support along your fitness journey.

If it’s in your day-to-day life, seek out a mentor or someone who has been through what you’re going through and is currently at a level you desire.

Layout challenges for each other and clearly state what you want and let them help you form a blueprint for succeeding.

8. Take a 30-day challenge

No, not the kind that forces you to follow unbearable and restrictive dietary guidelines. This actionable challenge is focused on improving your habits, behaviors and quality of life.

Here are a couple 30-day challenges which could be implemented depending on your most pressing need at the moment.

Emotionally: Say no to something you don’t want to do each day or to a task or person that isn’t that important but you feel obligated to say “yes” to. I decreased my social media time & made a concerted effort to speak with one good friend each day (even for as little as ten minutes).

Spiritually: Give gratitude each day for two to three new things. You could even try meditating for as little as five minutes each day.

Mentally: Read every day and become aware of the information you’re consuming. As you’re watching TV or reading gossip columns, take a pause to notice how you’re feeling. Does this piece bring you joy and provide a benefit or is it mindless entertainment serving as a procrastination tool from important work?

reinvention in life & fitness
books > gossip columns

Physically: How can you improve by 1% each day and make it feel effortless?

Simple. Pick an exercise and aim for small incremental progressions.

Perform a plank every day, adding one second each day. Start at a number you feel comfortable with. You can do this with push-ups or squats. OR, even better, commit to walking each day for as little as 20-30 minutes.

9. Feed your brain with only premium information

Junk food in, junk food out. You are literally what you consume. If you’re on a heavy binge of bad reality TV, obsessing over the latest celebrity news, and vicariously living through Instagram photos (newsflash, that isn’t the real world)—then expect your life to be a manifestation of your consuming habits.

Is the majority of your information making you a better person, smarter, benefiting your job, improving your relationships, and making you healthier. Or is it just serving as a distraction to occupy you at night, prevent you from facing your true feelings and emotions about life, or are you just bored?

Figure out your ratio of consumption and tilt the barometer in the favor of benefiting the life and health you desire.

The worst thing about junk information is that it clouds and distorts your thoughts, which is the first step toward getting you to take action on your goals.

As I mentioned numerous times, thoughts lead to feelings which lead to your actions and behaviors. Without being mindful of this, you’re going to be circling in a negative feedback loop and spinning your wheels.

10. Track your results and hold yourself accountable

As you’re trying to make an 180 in your life, tracking your results and habits is essential. Accountability is essential and necessary for change.

Pick a couple daily habits and behaviors to focus on. Here are a couple of resources and ideas.

  • Track your chosen habits and behaviors
  • Make an excel spreadsheet to track your results
  • Use Chronometer to track your food intake (yes, the foods aren’t exact in numbers, but they’re close enough)
  • Find an accountability buddy or group and chart your results, wins, and difficulties weekly with each other. Definitely, share what’s been holding you back and get some input and needed help.

Try these ten things out. As with most things worthwhile in life, change and results aren’t going to happen overnight or with the flick of the wrist. But, if you do the work, put your hard hat on each and every day while trusting the process—a new you will magically appear before you even realize it.