All right, so before I get to today’s little rant, let me start by saying this: I absolutely adore being a holistic nutritionist. I love hearing peoples’ stories, understanding what foods they’re eating and why, and helping them make simple, healthy changes that provide them with a new way of living rather than just a rigid diet plan.
THAT BEING SAID… I am not a wizard. And while this might seem obvious, I swear that some people think I am.
I want you to quickly imagine a scenario: A woman named “Joanne” walks into her boss’s office and says, “I want a raise.” Her boss says, “Well, Joanne, you’ve been leaving work early every day for no reason.” Joanne replies, “But I want a raise!” So her boss says, “Okay, you’ll need to stop leaving early every day and stay until at least 5pm. And you’ll need to start getting your work done on time rather than three days late like you've been doing lately. And you’ll need to answer your emails in a more professional tone.” It all seems like reasonable advice, but Joanne replies, “No, no, no. I don’t want to do any of those things. I just want a raise.”
Could you imagine witnessing this scenario? How could Joanne want a raise without doing any work whatsoever? Well, this is the exact mentality that many people take toward their health and overall wellbeing.
If You Don’t Make Changes, Nothing Will Change
I get it: change isn’t easy. Like many of you, I’m someone who likes having my own little routine and feel like a fish out of water when it’s significantly disrupted. But nothing will change if you don't make changes. I’ll be honest, the beginning of any new meal plan or eating regimen is not easy; it will feel different and like a lot of work at first. But I see lots of people who aren’t willing to give any of their not-so-healthy habits up while expecting to see a world of difference in their health and physique. Trust me, I’m just as sad as you are that Nutella isn’t considered a superfood, but ya win some, ya lose some. If you want to see a difference in your health, it might involve excluding certain foods, drinks, or habits from your everyday life. But things don’t change just because you want them to; you have to put in the work.
Consistency, Consistency, Consistency
Before I got into holistic nutrition, I would see those “before and after” weight loss photos and be amazed. I still am, but now I have such a sincere respect and admiration for these people who lose weight—even if its just 10 lbs. that they’ve kept off for the past year. A common pattern I see in some people is that they’ll eat insanely clean for a week or two and then wonder why they don’t look like Gisele Bündchen. Look, when you first begin your healthy lifestyle, the first couples weeks might be devoted to just “resetting” your body. Maybe you’ve been eating foods you’re sensitive to for the past few years. Maybe your idea of eating well has been eating one bar of chocolate rather than five. Whatever the case, your hormones, metabolism, blood sugar levels, gut microbiota, and other areas might be completely out of whack. But often the determining factor of whether or not someone has success with a meal plan comes down to how consistent they are with their healthy habits.
Healthy People With Wicked Bods Work For It
I’ve noticed that many people will look at someone who is toned, lean, curvy, what have you and say, “Well that’s just how they were born.” To an extent this is true; I mean, no matter how chest presses I do I will never have Scarlett Johansson’s boobs. But I almost think it’s disrespectful to point at someone who’s toned and say, “Well, that person was just born that way; I’ll never look like that.” FALSE. Mark my words, if that person has a rockin’ bod it’s because they eat clean and exercise regularly. I’ll also bet you that same exact person has chocolate, cheeseburgers, or tempura every now and again. Like we’ve discussed so far: it’s about making changes, sticking with them, and enjoying the bad stuff in moderation. And don’t point at people who look amazing and assume it didn’t take any work. It did, just as it will for you, too.
Decide What You’re Willing to Do and Not Do, and Accept Everything Else
At the end of the day, it’s your body. If you want to eat a whole box of Krispy Kremes per day, that’s your prerogative (even though I’m cringing at the very thought of that). But sometimes to improve your health you have to give certain things up. And again, I don’t make certain suggestions because I’m some sort of sadist; I do it because I know it will help you achieve your goals. But you have two choices after I give you that advice: to follow it and see some results or to not follow it and stay where you are. You have to choose one or the other; you can’t do nothing and expect to see results. But if at the end of the day you decide that you simply aren’t willing to give up that donut at 3pm every day and those brownies after dinner, then please make peace with the body those habits provide you with.
Stop Overestimating Your Efforts
I’ve had some people tell me “they can’t lose weight no matter what.” Then I’ll look at their food journal and see that they’re eating fried foods, cakes, pastries, and cookies every day. Yet they wonder why they have put on weight. These tend to be the same people that go around complaining about their weight to every person who sits next to them on the subway. My tip for this is to ask yourself, “Am I doing everything I possibly can (within reason) to become healthy?” If the answer is no—and you know you have more fire in you—then work harder.
The Bottom Line
A lot of my frustrations in the world of health and wellness revolve around the same idea—that people expect to see changes without putting in any real work. Remember Joanne at the beginning of this post— the woman who wanted a raise despite not doing anything? That would never work in the business world, so why do you expect it will work with your health? Take control of your health, be honest with yourself, and hold yourself accountable to your actions.
You Tell Me!
What’s your biggest pet peeve in the world of health and wellness? Vent about it in the comments below. (I likely have the same pet peeve myself!)