Why is it so hard to stick to a diet or exercise regime?

Is it really that hard to stay on track?  Do we put too much pressure on ourselves?

At the beginning of the month, I explained my June Challenges.  One was that for one meal a day, usually breakfast, I would replace it with a Herbalife shake, and that I would run 25 miles or more in the month.  I was really enthusiastic about starting and felt really positive about the experience, so why over the last 5 days or so have I found it so hard?

I have heard so many times, it only takes 21 days to create a habit.  So if you can stick at something for 3 weeks you should find it very natural and part of your daily routine. However, I have been doing some research, and scientists from the University College in London believe it takes a bit longer; 66 days on average.  They also discovered that how easy you find it to form the habit really does depend on what you learnt as a child and your personality.  Creating habits for those who have a great memory find it easier.  For those who are impulsive do find it harder.  The research also showed it is easier to try one thing at a time.

Most people know what to do to lose weight.

We are all told to eat less and move more. But if it is so easy, why are there so many overweight people?  The consistency is the hardest.  I have always been told, when you look at your diet and do your diet plan can see yourself eating like that in 5 years.  The plan has to be practical, sustainable and healthy.  The Herbalife Formula One Shake is packed full of vitamin’s, minerals and protein.  Even if I can not see myself drinking it for the next 5 years, I know it is sustainable for a short period of time.  They are tasty and actually curb my hunger.  I have been trying to keep them interesting by blending with different berries or frozen fruits.  However, this week I have gone back to my old routine; a quick piece of toast or snack in the car on the way to work.

So is willpower not sustainable?

I really want to make a change.  It is too easy to make promises to yourself and break them.  No one knows if you keep them or not.  So do we feel guilty because of that feeling of being lied too, even if it is only to yourself?  But did I not make myself accountable?  I informed people that I was taking part.  My work colleagues congratulated me, and even have been asking about my progress.  I feel good when I am out in the fresh air pushing myself to run.  I do get frustrated when I am not going as far as I want to, or do have to walk, but I can see the progression even in such a short time.  So again, why have I skipped a few runs this week?

All of the diet clubs and personal trainers will tell you, you will be successful because you are supported.  Daily tips and guidance are provided on numerous facebook groups or online forums, which is easily accessible.  If you are open about your journey with friends and family, they will engage with you about it.  So again, why is it so easy to fall off the wagon?

Why don’t our bodies crave what is good for us?

Apparently, they do – sort of.  Our taste buds are genetically engineered to crave high calorie, high-fat foods which are used for energy.  These are not necessarily bad for you, but it has been drummed into us that they are.  For example, butter is so much better for you than margarine, as it is a natural product.  Your body has evolved to understand it and understands how to process it.  Whereas margarine has synthetic ingredients that may mean the product is lower in calories, but the body does not understand them.  So butter is good for you in moderation.  There is still a debate about the subject, but most say that butter is the all natural choice.

Modern society has created food that tastes better than nature, we love flavour.  Even if we are eating chicken and vegetables, we are adding to this such as cooking with salt, adding spice rubs or marinades.  Plus processed foods are addictive.  Some people even get addicted to food, and unlike tobacco, alcohol, drugs and other such addictions, we need food to survive making this is even harder to kick the habit.

Addiction does go two ways.

If we train our bodies, with diet and exercise, tastes can change and you will eventually crave the foods that are good for you.  If you have ever had an all inclusive holiday or a week of eating out or binging on junk food you will instinctively ‘crave’ that healthy meal.  It is the same with exercise too, the endorphins rush after a work out can make you feel better.  Once you have taken the plunge of course.

It is important to remember that creating new habits takes time, and not to be hard on yourself if you do fail.  It is how you react to failure.  Re-evaluate why you started, and the achievable factors.  It is how you respond.  Do not give up, there is a reason why you started.  We all have a goal of some sort, and we all in this together.

You are not a failure!

I’m off for that run…

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Get Organised Month

World Ballet Day and what it means to me

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