success

How Manage Your Expectations

Does this sound familiar? Your following a pretty strict meal plan in hopes of losing some body fat. You could only white-knuckle your way through the meal plan for so long before you started sneaking in extras, usually in the form of nuts and nut butter. You toss back a heaping spoonful of almond butter and was immediately hit with a huge wave of guilt.

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You tell yourself, “Great, this day is ruined!”, and then proceeded to do what the majority of people do when they fall off their meal plan: swan dive into the pantry for more snacks, blowing the rest of the day to smithereens.

Over the years and even more recently in our Drop 2 Jean Size program, I’ve had many conversations with people just like this who were frustrated by this seemingly lack of control and overwhelming feeling of guilt. Heck I can attest that I have been there myself many times in my own life.

They viewed their success with nutrition and training as either “good” or “bad”, leading them to either feel like a total rock star or a total failure. All it took was a small handful of chocolate or some extra nut butter to make them believe the day was a monumental waste, which then resulted in a landslide of poor food choices for the remainder of that day.

Without exception, they were expecting perfection from themselves, which was a huge mistake.

Whether you are working towards improving your nutrition skills, losing body fat, or getting stronger, how do you set realistic expectations?

Two of the most common questions that we get as a Coach here at Fit-2-The-Core are:

·       “How much weight should I expect to lose in ‘x’ amount of time?”

·       “How much stronger should I expect to get in ‘x’ amount of time?”

These are fair but tricky questions: we don’t have the answers, because they depend on so many factors.

By learning to better manage your expectations, you can help avoid becoming too emotionally attached to a specific result, and cope better if things don’t pan out exactly the way you envision them.

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The One Thing You Can Control
Life is guaranteed to surprise you: it will surprise you in positive ways, and it will surprise you in negative ways. You can have your workout schedule in place, only to see the gym suddenly close for the week due to a burst pipe. You can plan all of your healthy meals for the week, and be surprised by your family paying you an unexpected visit and bringing over pizza for dinner.

When we set expectations, it’s easy to be let down because things don’t systematically happen as we predicted. No matter what happens, however, you can find peace in knowing that you are doing your very best with whichever situation comes your way. This means taking responsibility for your actions when things aren’t going according to plan. If you can’t go to the gym, can you take a walk instead? If you are served pizza, can you enjoy one slice and then eat later when there are different food options available?

The one thing that you can expect and control is that you are in charge of your own actions and reactions, regardless of outside circumstances.

Not Every Day Will Be a Day to Work Towards Your Goal
It can be really easy to expect perfection in terms of nutrition and working out, but the fact of the matter is that not every day will be the right day to work on your goals. Some days are better for focusing on maintenance, and that’s great!

John Berardi owner of Precision Nutrition uses a great analogy,

When life is dialed up to 10 (you are traveling, your kids are sick, you’re working overtime, your spouse is out of town, your sick etc.) you have to dial down your expectations and goals for that day week or month”.

This expectation can set you up for failure, because not every day can be a fat loss day, or a day where we become stronger, or a day where we improve our eating skills. Know that life will happen, and the most we can do is handle it in the best way we can and come up with a strategy that will fit into the context of your life at any given time.

Put in the Work
This is closely related to what I mentioned above about only being able to control your actions and reactions, but it’s worth mentioning in a different way:

Rather than focusing on expectations, what would happen if you poured all of your energy into simply committing to doing your very best with the hand you are dealt each day? Doing good enough, in relation to what life is throwing at you at any specific moment, adjust your workout, your nutrition and most importantly your mindset.

If you planned a 60 minute workout, 15 minutes will have to do, if you’re stuck in a meeting and all that’s available is pizza, eat one piece and then focus on what you have control over, the next meal etc..

Ultimately, that is all you can control.

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Zoom Out
When our expectations don’t pan out the way we had hoped, it’s easy to lose sight of the good things. Don’t to let an extra heaping spoonful of almond butter detract from the fact that maybe you ate veggies at all of my meals that day, drank plenty of water, got lots of sleep, and exercised. I see this often, the focus is solely on the fall, not that you got back up on your feet and took control over the rest of your day.

When it comes to expectations, there are a lot of variables at play. This means that we can’t always predict an accurate outcome, which can leave us feeling disappointed. It’s important to refrain from letting expectations steal joy from the experience.

The key is to focus on what you are able to do with what’s available, and commit to do your very best, consistently everyday!

 

 

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The Battle of the Yummy Splurge vs. The Lazy Cheat

Your week is snowballing from one commitment to the next, no time to stop and get refocused; at some point you make the decision to either take a moment for yourself and plan your meals in advance, making sure your kitchen is stocked and food is cooked ahead of time or…you never get around to it and get “lazy” figuring you’ll get back on track tomorrow or next week.

It usually starts after a long day of working or running around fulfilling commitments, giving your energy all day long. You get home just in time for dinner…you’re hungry, your family is hungry, you haven’t taken a moment to think through what you’ll eat tonight; you open the fridge and maybe there are some chicken breasts you could grill up, but that isn’t really hitting the spot and you’re tired and really don’t feel like cooking so you decide…forget it, let’s order pizza or let’s go out.

Have you ever looked back at your week and realized you used all of your splurges for the week and didn’t really enjoy any of them? They were lazy cheats, convenient at that moment, but overall not really worth it.

Yummy Splurge:

100% nutritional discipline is never really needed to completely change your body. The difference between sticking to the rules 90% of the time and sticking to them 100% of the time is minor, really.

And that extra 10% splurge means you can feel free to eat the food you like.

Follow the rules 90% of the time. The other 10% splurge? Eat anything you want.

I’m not kidding around here. I actively encourage people to eat any food they like, because the reality is that good food can be one of the great joys of life.

But being overweight, unhealthy and lethargic are not. And certain foods eaten too frequently or in too large an amount will quickly make you all three of those things.

So Fit-2-The-Core members are given a simple instruction: eat any food you like, in up to 10% of your meals; in the other 90% of your meals, eat the foods that will fuel your body to success. This can include a glass of wine, 1-2 slices of pizza or a scoop of your favorite ice cream etc.

That ratio will give you the body you want AND allow to enjoy the food you love.

 

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The Lazy Cheat – The lazy cheat is a cheat that you did not plan to have ahead of time. It isn’t because you’re really looking forward to a splurge – something you have been craving – or as part of an experience that you don’t want to miss out on – it is not a part of the plan to get you closer to your goals. BUT (yes, Behold the Underlying Truth) occasionally, it happens. Unfortunately a lazy cheat is usually not worth it, and you end up using up one of your splurges and not enjoying it. And unfortunately, once you give in and have a lazy cheat it tends to perpetuate a whole week of lazy cheats.

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The secret to overcoming lazy cheats – have strategies in place. The fact is that “Strategy trumps Willpower” every time and is the key to your short and long term success. When you’ve had a long day, are hungry and out of energy, your will power is not going to be strong, so you must have a strategy.

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Next time you find yourself having that conversation in your head leading to a lazy cheat…you know the one… “I don’t feel like cooking tonight, I’ve had a long day, I’ll just order pizza tonight since I should eat something,” turn to the strategy you have planned out ahead of time.

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Here are a few ideas for the next time you find yourself heading for a lazy cheat.

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Have menus in your car of places you know you can get a healthy meal that are your go-to restaurants. Simply have a whole stack of menus in your car of places where you can get grilled fish and cabbage salad, or chicken and vegetables, or a healthy salad. If your on your way home from a busy day with no plan for dinner, you can just call and place an order to go and pick it up on your way home.

take out menu

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Have easy meals that you fall back on at these times. An easy meal can be a chicken breast with a can of lentil soup – Just grill up the chicken breast, heat up the can of soup and pour the soup over the chicken breast – done. Or you can pick up a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from whole foods and some precut veggies to grill or for making a quick salad.

Whole Foods Chicken

 

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Have a Super Shake: It’s okay to have a shake for dinner.  Dinner doesn’t have to be a big, sit down meal. Blend up a scoop of protein, some fruit or peanut butter and call it dinner or try this Delicious Super Shake recipe:

POPEYE’S SUPER SPINACH SMOOTHIE

smoothie

INGREDIENTS:

• 1 scoops SFH Low Carb Grass Fed Vanilla Protein

• 1 cup unsweetened almond milk

• 1-2 cups spinach

•½ frozen banana

• 1 tbsp natural peanut butter • stevia (to taste)

• 5 ice cubes

Blend and Enjoy:)

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Plan out your week ahead of time, including your splurges. Your week should include 10% to relax and enjoy yourself, just don’t waste it on a lazy cheat!

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Enjoy your week!

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