No matter how good our intentions are we all come up against roadblocks on our weight loss journey. Trying to bust through those roadblocks can be extremely difficult, especially when they are built up through our own negative thoughts.
It may be true that you can’t seem to find time to exercise. You work all day, you have errands to do in the evening, and by the time you’ve finished cleaning up after dinner, let’s face it, who wants to go to the gym? Or maybe when you do finally sit down to watch a little TV to unwind, you can’t help but grab a small bowl of (fill in your favorite nighttime snack here).
So are these roadblocks real? Yes, of course they are, but they stem from underlying beliefs you’ve been holding onto for quite some time. Being tired at the end of a long day at work is real, but couldn’t you workout at another time? Most likely, yes. Wanting a bowl of tortilla chips and hummus to nibble on while watching a movie is perfectly normal, but could you find something else? Absolutely.
So why is it so incredibly difficult to bust through these roadblocks and move on to healthier habits? One reason is simple: you’ve grown accustomed to these habits. If you want to change them, it’s going to take time. The good news is good habits are just as hard to break as bad habits.
There could also be other reasons you’re having a hard time changing your routines. Maybe you don’t have enough energy to workout at night because you don’t get enough sleep. You could be hungry in the evening because you didn’t eat enough of the nutrients your body needs during the day.
Regardless of the reason, try using this 7 Step Model for Problem Solving. We'll use late night eating as an example.
STEP 1: WHAT IS YOUR CONCERN?
Answer: I'm get hungry late at night and snack on chips or cookies.
STEP 2: WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH?
Answer: To stop eating at night.
STEP 3: WHAT ARE SOME SOLUTIONS TO YOUR CONCERNS?
Answer: Remove the tempting foods
Drink water or tea
Make sure I am eating enough calories during the day
STEP 4: WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN IF YOU FOLLOW THROUGH WITH YOUR SOLUTIONS?
Answer: My only option will be healthy foods
I may find that water or tea curbs my appetite
I may not be hungry if I eat enough during the day
STEP 5: WHAT’S YOUR DECISION?
I will track my food during the day to make sure I am eating enough of the right foods & remove junk food from the pantry.
STEP 6: IMPLEMENTATION
Follow through with your decisions in step 5. Give it enough time to work.
STEP 7: EVALUATION
Did your solutions work? If so, great! If not, work through the exercise again.
If you find you are still struggling with the same problem, working through the exercise again could help identify an underlying issue that is causing the original problem. Suppose after tracking your food intake and removing the junk food you realize the real problem is stress. Next, you could come up with a plan for dealing with stressors in your life.
Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Lisa Swanson is an ACE Certified Health Coach, Personal Trainer and Orthopedic Exercise Specialist as well as a certified AASDN and PN level 1 nutritionist. With over 35 years experience helping people turn their lives around, she is on a mission to provide relevant and useful knowledge to help women in midlife reach their goals.
Check out my interview with the Magnificent Midlife podcast on staying fit and healthy long-term.