8 Dietary Sinkholes That You Need to be Mindful of

8 Dietary Sinkholes That You Need to be Mindful of- dietary sinkholes
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Sinkholes form by erosion, due to frequent exposure to water.

Sinkholes typically develop as bedrock, which is slowly whittled away by water turned acidic from absorbing carbon dioxide and interacting with plants.

From a cover-collapse sinkhole (think sudden sinkhole that swallows cars, houses, and people) to a cover-subsidence sinkhole (only a few feet across and shallow, normally becomes small ponds)—sinkholes can affect our lives in various formats.

Science rules! (As Bill Nye would tell us)

Ok, let’s leave the science classroom and put our fitness hats on.

What do sinkholes and fitness have in common

Just as sinkholes will cause an inconvenience in our lives and provide roadblocks—dietary sinkholes can swallow us into a black hole of frustration.

You could be doing everything right, but if you aren’t careful, you can fall into a sinkhole and watch your progress come to a screeching halt or worse, witness your progress moonwalk backwards.

However, in an effort to prevent dietary sinkholes from sabotaging your fitness goals, be mindful of these 8 sinkholes.

1. Having an on again off again relationship with your diet

One minute you’re in love and can’t keep your hands off each other. The next minute, you can’t stand each other, and you rather be anywhere else other than in the same room with this person.

Just as relationships that are hot and cold never materialize into anything of worth—treating your dietary relationships in spurts isn’t going to lead you to your desired results.

Most people see their diets as something with a start date and a specific end date. We as a society have a tendency to want things immediately and with as little effort and struggle as possible.

We’ll try to cut carbs for 6 weeks in an effort to lose inches as fast as possible. We’ll opt for a 30 day shred plan or 90 day transformation if it promises us all fitness woes will be solved.

Those methods serve little long term benefit in terms of learning proper healthy habits.

Instead of approaching your health in a cyclic approach, experiment until you find an approach that works year round. View your dieting as a lifestyle change, not just a brief period of changes.

Slow, steady, and consistent always trumps fast and erratic.

2. Being seduced by healthy buzzwords

Fat free. Sugar free. Organic. Free range. Natural. Reduced sodium. Extra Antioxidants. Feel free to add the other hundreds of buzzwords that go along here.

While eating from sources that aren’t loaded with chemical additives is optimal.

The most important tool you need first and foremost is awareness. No matter if it’s sugar free, fat free, or any other free—they still have calories in them. At the end of the day, fat loss comes down to a calories game.

Are you burning more calories than you’re consuming?

Just because the foods have trendy ‘healthy buzzwords’ included, doesn’t give you ‘license to eat everything’.

Fruit is still fruit. Sauces are still sauces. Cookies are still cookies. Chicken is still chicken. Bacon is still bacon. Cereal is still cereal. Calories are calories, no matter what the label states.

3. Fearing specific macronutrients

One camp is demonizing fats. The other camp is treating carbs like the bubonic plague. The other camp is telling us protein is bad and will pummel our kidneys into submission.

One specific macronutrient isn’t the cause of peoples struggles with weight. Each macronutrient plays a pivotal role with our bodies functioning properly.

Fats are essential for optimal hormone functioning, satiation, and transporting fat soluble vitamins throughout our bodies.

Carbs are essential for performing well in the gym, recovery, and optimal brain functioning. Most importantly, carbs are freaking delicious.

Protein is one of the essential building blocks of life. From our nails, skin, muscle tissue repair, and cells—protein does a body good. Protein gets a bad rep because people equate protein consumption to the amounts that bodybuilders eat (don’t worry, none of us are on the juice, so we don’t need nor can handle close to those amounts).

Instead of singling out a nutrient, take a balance approach with all 3 macronutrients and worry more about total caloric intake.

4. Not paying attention to dietary silent assassins

From calorie loaded condiments, dressings, and other additions we add to foods, these silent assassins can slash our progress unknowingly.

dietary sinkholes- ninjas
Be mindful of these dietary ninjas- Photo Credit: A2 Roolvink via Compfight cc

While creams, dressings, and other items aren’t evil, you need to take into account that they still count towards your daily intake.

Often times, salads at restaurants are upwards of 500-700 calories, which is huge for a salad.

Sometimes it’s the little things that are stopping the engine from running on all cylinders. Be aware of the small calorie assassins going into your foods.

5. Using external appearances to determine your progress

You’re bloating. You feel a little fluffy today.

Must be you gained fat. Therefore, it’s time to cut the carbs out and eat less.

Bad idea. Often times, we let the appearance of how we look on a specific day influence the way we eat. This is a tricky predicament that plays games with your heart and mind.

Just because you’re an extra pound or two up on the scale doesn’t mean you failed and its time to abandon ship.

Factors such as sleep, stress levels, and certain types of foods will cause some temporary weight gain and bloating. Both of these cases aren’t fat, but instead is water weight.

6. Giving food the cold shoulder (aka not eating enough)

“If I eat less food, then I’ll lose weight quicker.”

Unfortunately, your body doesn’t operate this way.

Your body eventually catches on and thus starts to conserve energy. This leads to a slew of negative metabolic changes within the body. A couple of metabolic changes within the body are…

Thyroid production slowing down– Our thyroid is responsible for the metabolism of protein, fats, and carbs among a slew of other things. Our bodies will slow down thyroid output if the body isn’t getting enough energy. This step is taken in order to maintain an energy balance.

Decrease muscle mass– To maintain muscle takes calories. When your body isn’t getting enough nutrients, your body starts to break down muscle tissue for energy.

Our bodies crave fat, our bodies need fat for survival (especially our organs), therefore when worst comes to worst, muscle is the first one to get sacrificed.

Decrease leptin levels– Am I hungry or not?

This is the role that leptin plays as our main hunger hormone, which signals whether we should eat or not. Levels high in leptin relays to us that it’s okay to stop eating. Levels on the low end, signal us to eat more since energy is needed.

In a calorie restricted environment, leptin levels decrease.

Testosterone levels plummeth– Testosterone is absolutely crucial to a properly functioning body for both men and women.

Extreme calorie restriction lowers your test levels, decreases sex drive, and makes building muscle next to impossible.

Lower energy levels– From lack of motivation to a foggy brain to a sluggish body—a lack of calories will have your body whispering to take it easy and slow down.

When trying to lose fat, eat as much as you can, while steadily making progress. Only lower your calories a little once progress has stagnated for a bit.

7. Letting your weekend be all hands off deck

Monday through Friday, you’re the perfect fitness soldier, but then the weekend comes and all hell breaks loose. From social gatherings to other various temptations, the weekends are dangerous to those who aren’t mindful of their actions.

While it’s okay to indulge with zero guilts given a couple times each week. It’s not okay to totally relax every weekend and eat whatever you want and then start back fresh on Monday. This approach is a great way to stay in neutral with your progress.

The weekends count just as much as the week does. Develop an eating plan that allows your favorite indulgences.

Moderation is key.

8. Letting your diet stealthily start to rule your life

Are you more and more declining invitations or hangouts with friends due to worrying about your diet? Are you thinking about food 24/7?

If every decision you think about comes along with “how will this effect my diet”, then you need to reel the situation back to a more moderate position.

Allowing your diet to rule eventually causes resentment toward fitness.

Question for you?

● Whats a dietary sinkhole that you need to be more mindful of?
● What do you plan to do in order to not let this sinkhole continually cause chaos in your life or become too big of a burden?

2 Mammoth Fitness Character Traits That Will Guarantee Your Success in Anything

fitness character traits
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“Follow this plan and incinerate the fat in 4 weeks.”

“Go on my 15 day plan and buy these supplements and watch the weight slide off effortlessly.”

“Do this one trick and quit your job and drink mojitos on the beach.”

Do this plan. Do that plan. Actually, do this one now.

One person tells you to do this and the other tells you to do another thing—next thing you know, you’re confused and decide not to do anything.

But, before you get weighed down by countless fitness decisions, diets, and training plans—make sure you’re approaching the situation from a sustainable standpoint.

In life, we need to take chances. Show some intestinal fortitude to stick with our plans, even when progress is slow, or when we don’t have a cheerleading squad telling us we’re doing good, or when people are telling us to quit.

Before wasting money on the latest ‘business secret’ or ‘fitness secret’, you need to become systemic and relentless toward your goals.

Van Gogh was obsessed and relentless with his craft even without notoriety and a flock of followers. Jackson Pollock was relentless about his craft, which over time led to him producing better work. Michael Jackson didn’t become who he was without developing a systemic and relentless approach toward his music.

No matter if you’re chasing a fitness goal, writing goal, business goal, relationship goal, or anything—you must be systemic and relentless with your approach.

What is being systemic and relentless about

Being relentless and systemic with our approaches to fitness and life begins in our heads. Becoming relentless and systemic leads to a more efficient life and higher probability that we’ll accomplish whatever we set out to accomplish.

Becoming Systemic

What you do on a regular basis is the foundation of your systemic approach.

If you’re filling up your daily tank with junk information and food—then expect your life to be a manifestation of that intake.

Whatever you do, your systems bread and butter is run by consistency. Small daily progress adds up to major results. Improving 1% a day leads to a total reinvention of yourself in 6 months. One page a day adds up to a book at the end of the year. 1Lb a week delivers a hot and sizzling body in 6 months.

Being systemic is about being in the present moment, which is ultimately all that we can control. Being systemic is focusing on winning one day at a time.

You’re aware of the big goal in mind, but you understand that it won’t come to fruition in one graceful sweeping motion.

Becoming Relentless

Being relentless is about displaying persistence.

Going after anything of worth stretches us outside our comfort zones, which requires us to become resilient, equip some steel fortitude, and display some determination.

Your workouts will be challenging. Temptation will be all around you as you watch your friends knock back some beers, feast on a platter of wings with some fries on the side. You’ll feel distractions when trying to create meaningful work and feel the resistances tugging you. You will curse and be flustered with your goals at times. After all, fitness is tough and creating a remarkable life isn’t a piece of cake.

When approaching your goals, don’t treat them like someone who goes on dates with people that they can only tolerate and feel ‘meh’ with.

How bad do you want it? Are you in this for the long haul or just hanging around pretending until the shit hits the fan?

Being relentless is not accepting “no” for an answer when someone tells us something is impossible or to be realistic. Being relentless is not using genetics, work, or friends for excuses toward our fitness goals.

Once you are relentless, you develop a sense of invincibility with your goals.

fitness character traits
Become resilient & you’ll be able to borrow an invincibility star from Mario..- Photo Credit: WizPip via Compfight cc

No matter what happens, you’re still going to be around—fighting and going after your dreams and goals no matter the challenges presented along the way. No one will stop you and giving up isn’t an option.

How to be systemic and relentless during a setback

Setbacks are bound to happen. Unexpected challenges will arise. You might even question yourself at times and ponder are you making the right decisions. While we can’t control the uncontrollable, we can control our responses and approach to those situations.

Here are 4 steps I use to bounce back from a temporary setback.

1. Face the reality of the situation- Fitness goals, writing goals, business deals, and even relationships are tough as hell at times, but facing ‘Captain Truth’ is necessary.

Without addressing the elephant in the room, you can’t move forward with your goals. Before addressing my self-worth issues, I couldn’t move forward in business, creating, nor with my relationships.

Trying to place temporary solutions on the matter only makes the situation worse. Trying to cover food guilt issues by never eating out with friends isn’t solving the core issue.

Face the truth and it shall set you free.

2. Keep Working- Whether it’s a failed business. Maxed out credit cards (I know this story). A huge setback with your fitness goals. A creative project that plummeted down the toilet. Accept the pain and whatever feeling that it’s currently causing you.

Just as clouds pass by during our days—this pain and terrible feeling passes by eventually. It might not be a day, or a week, but instead a month. But, know that this moment eventually goes away. This moment won’t define you for the rest of your life.

Let it hurt for a hour or two, but then get back to work doing something—anything!

Start something new, even if it’s just an idea in a journal, a new food, or a new 15 minute workout to bring back the good vibes.

3. Take breather– After you’ve gotten yourself back in the positive direction by taking a small action—go do something not relateable to whatever was causing you grief or pain.

You could do a myriad of things such as: go out and dance (my favorite), go on a date, read a book, take yourself on an artist’s adventurer’s date, meet friends—just get away from ground zero.

4. Have inspiration nearby- Just as a simple hello can help turn someone’s day around, a small piece of positivity can work wonders as well.

Have some inspiring quotes that hang on your fridge. Have a friend whom you can confide in when times are rough. Have your ‘why’ somewhere easily visible to remind you why you’re trying to accomplish this goal of yours.

Why you can’t rely on external metrics to drive you to success, you can seek external help when you need a pick me up. Everyone at one point or another, needs someone or something to lean on.

The Wishing Game: A Simple Game With no ‘Happily Ever After’

The Wishing Game A Simple Game With no 'Happily Ever After'- the wishing game“I wish I had a better job.”

“I wish I was leaner.”

“I wish I was a ladies man.”

“I wish I had more money.”

“I wish I could live somewhere else”.

“I wish I was a better writer.”

“I wish I was more creative.”

“I wish my business was as profitable as ‘such & such’.”

“I wish I was as popular as ‘such & such’.”

“I wish I had more followers.”

At some point in time throughout my life, those exact words have blurted out of my mouth. Each time I’ve uttered such things, nothing manifested besides moments of self-defeatism, sadness, resentment towards others, and furthering myself from where I wanted to be in life.

At some point in time, you most likely have blurted out the phrase ‘I wish’. You most likely noticed that wishing didn’t propel you any closer to your goals than you initially were.

While on a date to go see ‘Into the Woods’ (an excellent musical I must admit), I was reminded that wishes don’t always equate to being ‘happily ever after’.

Each character in the movie is wishing for a different outcome. Once it arrives, each character expects everything to magically change for the better.

I suffered from this symptom for the majority of my life. However, each character and myself realizes that ‘happily ever after’ isn’t so happy after all. In fact, each character faces the consequences for their wishes and actions.

Cinderella realizes the royal life isn’t all its cracked up to be along with her Prince Charming not being so charming after all. The baker is worried that he’ll be a crappy father to his newborn, just as his father was. He also has to face the repercussions of handing over his ‘magic beans’ to Jack. Rapunzel is terrified of the outside world. The witch, with her reacquired youth realizes that she has lost most of her powers.

I thought life was going to magically change once I added 20 pounds of muscle—nothing happened besides needing to go shopping (self-doubt was still with me).

I thought life would change once I got to 10% bodyfat—it didn’t, I just developed some false bravado.

I thought life would change once I started to get published, it didn’t, I just wanted more & more (self-doubt was with me).

What does all of this mean?

These were all external scenarios. These goals allowed me to build up extra layers, but inside is where we grow as a person. Inside is where the healing takes place. Inside is where the mindset reshapes.

Those goals of losing fat, building muscle, writing a book, and starting a business can be life changing. But, often times, there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to our desires. While I wanted to lose fat, what I really wanted was to feel more confident within my own skin and feel like I was someone.

Perhaps you want to lose fat or reach some arbitrary number. That number most likely isn’t what will change your life. What will change your life is the feeling of accomplishing that goal and the confidence in yourself.

A number is just a number.

numbers-the wishing game
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A number won’t change us, but the process of reaching that number can change us if we are aligned with the correct intent.

When it comes to stating what we want, it’s imperative we make these declarations from a place of intent that comes from within and isn’t influenced by external forces.

Sometimes our wishes are not exactly ours, but it’s our ego telling us what we should want. It’s letting outside forces such as our peers, media, and conventional life expectations dictate to us. Letting our ego & external influences be the basis of our decision making isn’t ideal nor will it allow us to ever experience true happiness and be our unapologetic authentic selves.

Getting your wishes granted doesn’t lead to all your problems in life being smoothed over. Those rough patches are still present and the demons are still lurking.

Just because I was physically fit doesn’t mean that my self-confidence followed suit. Just because I was published doesn’t mean my self-doubt was erased. Your promotion, number of internet friends, nor clothes won’t heal your confidence or whatever else is brewing inside.

 The only way to heal a wound is to directly address it. There is no avoiding it or patching it up.

The wishing game can be fun and motivating, but be mindful of where those hopes and dreams are stemming from.

Are those wishes what you really want? Are you making those wishes in hopes of concealing a deeper wound? Are these wishes ego driven and stem from a place to prove a point to others or keep up with others? Are these wishes your families, friends, significant others, or influenced by the media?

Take some time to think and ask yourself, “Is this what I really want and why do I want this?”

Are your recent wishes what you truly want or have you been wishing what you think you’re supposed to be wanting? If the latter, what are you going to do about it?