My hubby entertains me from time to time with a very special talent he has developed. He does bodycomp transformation before-and-after selfies in a mirror. 30 seconds apart. A slight shift from slightly slumping to meticulous flexing while breath holding, and his entire torso can look months apart in leanness.
I begged for permission to share pictorial proof for all you loyal readers.
One, for the purpose of illustration.
And two, that we all begin to flood the internet with our own same day before-and-afters.
I love it.
Needless to say, When I see a before-and-after on social media, I am rather suspect. Look closely. Did the camera really show something different…did they actually radically alter their lifestyle?
I think this kind of thing can throw people off their game, make people feel like giving up, or assume that it’s all too hard.
A great side-by-side selfie should not be the endstate of your eating program. The goal is cruising in clean-eating autopilot. You can do it!
But it’s so easy to overthink the whole thing.
With all this said, let’s discuss five ways to keep your mind in the game.
Why is not a result. Why is not, “I am going to eat 100% paleo this year” -or- “I am going to lose ten pounds.” -or- “I am going to shock the internet with my before-and-after selfie.”
Why is a purpose:
- I am empowered in knowing that I can partner with food to promote my total wellness. (Nothing I am ingesting will exacerbate health maladies).
- I have seen what years of bad habits can do to me and/or my loved ones
- I want my bodyskin to become paperthin, in order to scratch fitness modeling off my bucket list*
My why is
1. Mental health
2. Insulin/hypoglycemia issues (read: hanger.)
3. Setting a good example for the 5 sets of eyes on me. Constantly.
Keep YOUR WHY at the forefront of your mind.
Re-read the original sources that point you to the best nutrition.
Not little quips off of Pinterest, but get back into the good stuff: The Primal Blueprint, Mark’s Daily Apple, It Starts with Food, The Paleo Solution, Bright Line Eating. If you read those 4-5 years ago, re-read. (Or read for the first time!) You will gain inspiration all over again, and perhaps you will even see things in there you did not catch on the first go-around.
3. Don’t do work twice when you can do it once.
Double batch every time you cook. If you are not able to eat twice from whatever you have cooked, you are not winning.
You are thinking, gosh this is so much food prep already, now I have to double it? Yes. Heck, you might as well do it 4x and have your Mondays taken care of for the month. Remember, the freezer is your pantry. The moment it feels like too much work is the moment you call for pizza. Nothing takes the wind out of your sails faster than having one more thing to do.
Nick Shaw is over there at Renaissance Periodization making A MILLION DOLLARS merely convincing all his minions to multiply food prep times seven. So, double, triple, quadruple if you have to. It’s worth it.
Bonus: you will always have a bench stock of healthy freezer meals to deliver to someone in need. That is one of the best ways to be the light in someone’s day!
4. Stick to the old reliables.
Re-creating the wheel every week makes clean eating a chore. Stick to a solid rotation of delicious food. Pick 7-10 of your favorite clean meals, and just make those…over and over. When I was growing up we had spaghetti every Monday. I thought it was awesome. Here are my reliables on the rotation all the time:
Clean Spaghetti (with zoodles or spaghetti squash)
Fresh Roast Chicken (make two while you’re at it)
Butter Chicken (perfect freezer meal)
Marinated Flank Steak (freeze a second batch raw in ziplock, thaw then throw on grill)
Kofte Kebab Meatballs
Seasoned Fish or other Meat + 2 veggies
6 meals right there, and there are usually leftovers for night number 7. Pick your 6.
I have been doing a lot more work over on Pinterest in an effort to pick up momentum for this blog. I am totally baffled by the amount of content over there. It’s dizzying, and gives me recipe FOMO.
Don’t make more of cooking than it needs to be. Get into a niche and cruise.
5. Draw your own HFO chart.
Simply put, there are foods that you will not want to eliminate from your diet.
I want to re-introduce you to one of the original Melissa Hartwig inspographics. I can’t remember if this is in the book. It was on her blog ten years ago.** I’m not promoting this kind of language, but it is not my brainchild.
The healthiest foods are low on the F-off scale. (Example: Salmon is very healthy. I love salmon, and concur with your analysis and therefore eat lots of salmon.)Foods that I am told are not SO healthy, but I think are healthy enough on occasion, are closer to the F-off zone. (Example: On occasion, despite all the arguments against legumes, I will tell you to F-off and eat the damn peanut butter. These occasions are not common, but they do occur.)Foods that should be eliminated from my diet completely because they are nowhere near healthy, but which I have determined are mandatory for me having an enjoyable existence for the next 50 years, are EXTREMELY high on the F-off scale. These foods include iced coffees, Grey Goose dirty martinis and anything covered in maple syrup. You gotta live right? (Source: AMRAP Fitness, I think it *might* have been lifted from Melissa’s early writings, so I will credit them both.)
I will go a step further and even submit that an HFO Chart could possibly look different every month. Or even every week.
Keep two or three things on the f-off list in order to stay sane.
Don’t let anything throw you off course.
- Know YOUR why
- Read original sources
- Work smarter not harder
- Stick to a reliable meal rotation
- Draw your F-off scale
Also, stop stressing over the before-and-after selfies.
Do you have any other tips that help you keep your mind over the matter? Please share with us, I would love to discuss in the comments!
Have a great weekend,
*If your why is to become a fitness model, then yeah. A paleo diet will not be the path for you. It’s too calorically dense. You instead need to become a chemist in order to account for every molecule that crosses your lips. Different plan altogether.
**(Her blog was hilarious and *brilliant* and the precursor to her awesome books. I have asked her people over at Whole30 if I can have a special invite to the old blog, but they didn’t respond. )
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