I came across a great article and wanted to share…enjoy!
Three weeks ago I picked up a copy of Muscle & Fitness Hers and planned to commit myself to 4 weeks of hard core diet and training. Unfortunately, it’s now three weeks later and I am not even sure where I put the magazine. My goal was to tighten up and take a few pounds off before attending the Arnold as a spectator. This will be my first time attending as a non-competitor. For the past 3 consecutive years, I’ve been on the Arnold stage and committed myself to some pretty brutal training and dieting regimens. People and spectators at the show will see me and possibly not recognize me! I am normally 15 lbs lighter and at my best conditioning ever. So, when I picked up the magazine and checked out the workout and diet, I thought, “This will be an easy fix and get me back on track.” Well…..the reality is, not so much.
Yes, IFBB Fitness Pro Nicole Duncan is admitting to diet failure. That’s right. You heard me. I’ve failed. So many people, especially pros, are afraid to admit failing at something that they are supposed to be a “pro” at doing. Yes, my clients, family and friends all think I look great now as is (thank God for them!) but I know I should do better. For me, being better means having energy throughout the day, feeling agile, keeping up cardio vascular endurance and being of sound mind. I am the happy, energetic, productive me that I want to be when I have all those things in tact.
So, back to the diet failure. If you have tried over and over to diet or have gone through any sort of nutrition change, you may have felt shame or felt the pressure of staying on the diet. The real problem is usually that you haven’t gotten enough sleep, you aren’t getting enough calories or the right nutrients, or that you feel stress on your job or in your home life. It’s difficult to see that this is happening to yourself because you are not usually your main focus or priority. The truth of the matter is that if you don’t start paying attention to the basics you need, such as sleep, food and peace of mind, you will not be around to take care of all the people and/or responsibilities in your life.
As a competitor, I feel the stress and pressure of placing well at the shows. There is so much talk, gossip and ridicule through social media that even I snatch the nearest comfort food thinking that I NEED just one bite and I will miraculously feel so much better. We let outside influences poison our thoughts and then we treat ourselves horribly by stress eating. Instead of loving our bodies with good foods and letting ourselves get excited about the little improvements we are making, we let ourselves believe the negative things. Once you start thinking negative thoughts you start internalizing it. I’m too fat. I’m too tired. I have too much to do. The exercise is too hard. I can’t afford the training. I will never be skinny enough, smart enough, pretty enough or good enough. You of all people should not tell yourself this crap! Some of the richest people in the world came from nothing and some of the fittest people in the world used to be fat. They made a choice to believe in themselves.
I may have failed on THIS diet, but I am NOT a failure! So many of you take it way too far. You say to yourself, “Oh well, I took a bite now my whole week is down the drain” or “I am so fat already what’s another few pounds gonna hurt”. This is a terrible way of thinking!!!! Now you need a counselor and not a trainer or diet program! Until you personally commit to the idea that you ARE worth it and that you DESERVE to look and feel better about yourself, you won’t do it. Mr. Lee Haney, 8X Mr. Olympia always says be careful what you let your eyes see, your ears hear and what you you put in your mouth (or something similar). What he is saying is that you’ve got to protect yourself and be mindful of what you let poison your outlook on life and in particularly yourself. You make the difference.
Well, knowing that you should do better and doing better are two different things. Here are some tips to help you SUCCEED at your NUTRITION (not diet) plan.
1. Acknowledge your stressful times. Figure out the time of the day that you feel most stressed. Set a timer on your cell phone or work computer with a note to remind you to acknowledge this time of day.
2. Set yourself up for success. Besides packing your lunch for the day, you should stash healthy alternatives everywhere! Think of the places you are the most whether it’s your car, work or home and hide healthy snacks like almonds, raisins, apples, protein bars, etc. If you have a gym bag or purse you can always keep a small shaker and a Ziploc back of OhYeah! Total Protein System handy. Just add water and you are set!
3. Take baby steps. I am a trainer and I live an active lifestyle with healthy food choices. I took a break from hard core dieting to give my body a break. By committing myself to a diet due to what others may think of me in public, I was creating a pressured, stressful situation for myself. Now that I am focusing on making healthy choices and effective exercise, I already look and feel better. The next time I pick up a strict diet it’s going to be because of a goal that I have for myself and not what others think of me.
4. Confess your sins while dieting. There have been a couple of times when I have confessed to a fellow competitor and realized that she was doing worse than me. It naturally made me want to do better. I was upset that she was sabotaging herself but somehow felt better about my mishap. I also try to make notes of the times that I allow myself a cheat meal or snack. If you are not careful, you will reward yourself a little too much. I prefer a Sunday meal with family as my reward for doing well throughout the week.
5. Nix the negativity!!!! I train harder and diet better when I am positive and HAPPY! When I am stressed I over-eat and when I am sad or depressed I don’t like to eat at all. Both are BAD! Reading something positive, listening to a great song or saying a quick sincere prayer can help you snap out of it. If you are where you can get some cardio, walk or run it off. The exhaustion will help you push it away. Now matter what you have to do SNAP OUT OF IT!
6. Take a deep breathe and give yourself a moment to clear your head. Sometimes you just need to stop even if it’s only for one minute. With the pressures of life, we find ourselves always on the go. We are thinking various thoughts a mile a minute. Sometimes you just need to stop and clear your head. Some of us are so in our head that we aren’t even aware of our surroundings.
Lastly, commit to changing what’s on the inside and you will automatically improve what you see on the outside. Good luck on your next nutrition efforts!
IFBB Fitness Pro Nicole Duncan