Quit Chasing The Shiny Red Ball
Do you bounce from diet to diet? Or try something new with your nutrition every time you read about the latest fad on the market? One day it’s Paleo, then Keto, then back to nothing because it’s all too confusing. Have you gone from low fat/high carb to low carb/high fat all within a few months of each other? Do you see a 2 pound increase on the scale, get freaked out, and completely switch up everything you’re doing?
In the last year, how many times have you stopped and started up again on “getting healthy” with a different strategy? We’ve all been there, myself included.
Unfortunately, people jump around so quickly that they don’t even give whatever they’re trying a chance to even know if it works or not. We are an I want it now and I want it fast society, so it makes sense that we jump from diet to diet just after a few months if not seeing the immediate results we desire. We get distracted, and then oh look, a shiny red ball, I’ll follow that now.
And I get it, marketers and advertisers have their jobs for a reason, they’re brilliant at making you think that you will be the only one who misses the boat if you don’t go with what they’re selling. And it’s all wrapped up in a shiny pretty package, the magic pill if you will, and promised to work in 8 short weeks or less. The 21 day miracle, the 6 week challenge, the perfect template for everyone to follow, the seaweed shrinking body wrap……..wait what???? Is that a thing?
They all sound so amazing, how could it not work? And way less boring than sticking with what might actually work. The advice coming from health coaches who want to see real change in people by spreading information on quality sleep, hydration, eating your vegetables in all varieties, eating whole real foods, working on habits, seeking happiness and meaningful relationships. And yes you heard me right, the boring stuff, the stuff that advertisers aren’t selling you.
Imagine if you switched around as much to different departments at your job or hopped from career to career or switched majors in college every semester.
You’d always be starting over!!
You would never know if that was the right move or not. You would never know if you could have truly excelled.
For the most part, people don’t seem to have this problem in many areas of their life, except with nutrition. We expect school to take several years. We’re ok with having to work our way up in the company ladder, again, over several years. We know it’ll take hard work and lots of effort on a consistent daily basis. So why do we expect body and health changes in a few months or weeks? What’s really happening here?
What’s really going on, the real conflict coming from deep inside is we don’t trust ourselves and we don’t trust the process.
The scared voices in our head talk louder than the voice in our gut that says you might be onto something here. It makes us nervous to not see immediate results on the outside and with all the opinions and noise, we let doubt creep in and take over. Fear of failure and fear of making the wrong choice pushes us towards perpetually following the shiny red ball, bouncing around. We move onto the next new thing verses committing and challenging yourself to see it through. We create this comfort zone and to go beyond it is scary, and it’s hard, but that’s when the real magic happens. And by magic, I mean all the tiny small wins that develop each day by sticking to a plan, trusting your coach, and working hard week after week and month after month.
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Now, I’m not saying you’ll never need to change things up or adjust the settings a little, because you will, but what I am suggesting is to focus.
No more chasing the shiny red ball, it’s time for a change.
Focus on these four backbone foundations and your health will reap the benefits: Consistency, Commitment, Patience, and Education.
Consistency is beyond a doubt the most important element to implement. One day’s hard work doesn’t get you the promotion, so neither does sometimes, occasionally implementing healthy foods and fitness. It’s not about perfection, it’s about consistently doing better today than yesterday. Can’t hit 6 days at the gym anymore like when you were 20 with no career, spouse, or maybe kids? But you can get in 3 no problem. Then stop trying to be perfect and just consistently get in the 3 workouts. You’re progress might be a little slower but it will still be progress. And 3 days will always trump 0.
Consistently eat like crap, guess what, you will consistently feel like crap.
It’s about consistently dialing in the “big rocks” – sleep, water, daily movement, whole foods, and stress management. Working on your health a little bit each day adds up! But it adds up over several months and years. Little building blocks stacked on top of each other.
Ever heard of the domino effect? A domino can knock down another domino 1.5x it’s size, in fact, the smallest domino can eventually knock over the Empire State Building. Start with the tiniest domino you can imagine, like drinking one more glass of water each day. That leads to another domino, say one more hour of sleep each night. Which leads to another domino, getting 30 minutes of movement every day. Leading to the next domino, eating 2 more cups of vegetables every day. And so on until each domino is pushing over an even bigger domino. But the key is doing each one consistently every day.
We all have crazy busy lives. Consistency will create habits and habits will create results. Coming to terms with the fact that this isn’t just for 6 or 8 weeks, but a lifelong commitment to health.
Bringing us to – commitment. This is right up there with consistency. Committing to your goals. Committing to finding what’s best for you and your lifestyle. Again, it’s scary, because the harder we commit the harder we might fall. OR……….. the higher we might fly.
This part can be tricky because fully committing might mean we have to experience some difficult conversations with family members or friends. It might mean difficult conversations with ourselves. Taking ownership and responsibility for our choices and habits. Looking at where we’ve been, where we are, and committing to finding a new way of health, saying goodbye sometimes to the old you.
Committing to not only the good days but the bad days too. And looking for the positive and the lesson in each day. Nutrition is not a straight line upwards until one day reaching success. Just like with everything else that you had to work hard at to achieve, there are some shit days. No other way to say it. Commit on those days even more. Accept and embrace them and get comfortable with them.
One day it’s feeling good, kind of seeing some abs, no cravings, workouts feel great and then wham, all of a sudden you’re bloated, hit a plateau, and you just dove head first into a chocolate cake. This doesn’t mean you failed, this doesn’t mean you need to completely jump ship and find a completely new diet or workout program. But what it does lead to is – patience.
Being patient is one heck of a character trait that most of us have to work really hard to master. And something we’ve been working on since Kindergarten.
Most individuals don’t get to unhealthy in a day so why do we expect healthy in such a short amount of time? Sit back, relax, chill, because this might take awhile. Taking small baby steps towards health, adjusting lifelong habits, healing out of whack hormones, all takes time. Be patient with your body, it needs time to heal. I always say heal the inside and the outside will follow. Crash dieting got its name for a reason, after it’s over you literally crash, body banged up worse than before.
At first, don’t even think about the outside of your body, but rather, concentrate on the victories happening on the inside.
10 Signs that you are on the right track:
- You feel better
- Your sleep improves
- You experience more energy throughout the day, less 3pm crashes
- Less moodiness, you feel happier
- Less cravings
- Healthier looking skin/hair/nails
- Less puffiness
- Less brain fog
- Better workouts
- Clothes fit better, maybe loser
When health coaches start hearing these wins, it’s like sweet soft music to our ears. We know the really great stuff is about to follow! And, more importantly, not putting what the outside of our body looks like or the number on a scale as the end all indicator of our health. Be patient, but be kind to your bodies too. We come in ALL shapes and sizes, so look at some of those other markers to gauge your overall health.
On the flip side of that though…
Here are 5 signs that a diet isn’t working:
- You hate what you are doing
- You can’t see yourself adhering to it for the long haul, the next 2-5 years
- It causes you more stress than good
- Medical issues arise
- Less energy than more (for example, a crossfitter on a low carb paleo diet, no no no, and by the way, that was me. Horrible idea, just horrible)
But how are you supposed to know what to do? Exactly how you learned everything else in life – education, teachers, and training.
I saw a pretty bold post on Instagram recently,
“Do you really not know, or are you playing dumb?”
At first, I was taken back and thought how incredibly rude, because nutrition and health are so confusing and hard to tackle. But as I read the content it went on to say that people get ahead and make change when they educate themselves and take the time to invest in knowledge. Then, I completely agreed. One of the best quotes is “education breeds compliance”.
Dial in your goals, and be honest with yourself about where you are and what you want to achieve. Then, align yourself with others who are seeking the same or have been through the same. Finding mentors and coaches who can guide you through. Listen to and follow the content of like-minded individuals. Find people who are dealing with, or have already dealt with, similar life situations so you can learn how to best maneuver during this particular time in your life.
The material is out there, go grab it. One of the best investments I made was a five week nutrition course at the community college for $99. It was 2 hours once a week, and although I had already been reading tons of books and material, I learned so much from this course, way beyond what I thought I would.
Think about how much you could learn by switching out the 15-20 minutes you scroll on FB for 20 minutes of health education, even just three times a week. Educating yourself will make you more confident in your choices, more confident in knowing when something feels off or wrong, confident in knowing when it feels right and that it is part of the process. No more pretending or saying “Oh I didn’t know”.
Ignore that shiny red ball friends!! I know it’s tempting, but just let it bounce on by.
Written by Boom Boom Performance Nutrition Coach, Courtney Sturgeon. Courtney is a health coach specializing in nutrition and positive long-term lifestyle changes. After graduating from Oklahoma State University in 2001, she and her husband moved to the PNW where they currently live with their 2 children. While taking some time off from working as a Certified Ophthalmic Assistant to raise her children, she discovered her true passion and calling in the field of health and nutrition. She achieved her Level 1 Certification from Precision Nutrition in 2018. She is currently continuing further education, coaching clients, and expanding her reach those eager to learn through various social media outlets. To work directly with Coach Courtney on your nutrition, click here now.