Getting fit is tough. Getting started and sticking with it is even harder.
But when we actually have success, it’s one of the greatest joys there is. When you actively lose weight and begin to feel fit, it’s such a big feeling of accomplishment that it can rank up there with major milestones in your life.
I still remember the first time I really had to lose weight and I succeeded. I remember the compliments and how people noticed my progress. I remember my clothes fitting better. I remember feeling more confident in my own skin.
But then life sets in. There is always something lurking, waiting to derail your progress. ALWAYS. Every morning there are doughnuts at the office. Every evening there is food and beer calling after a stressful day. Every weekend there is a birthday party or some celebration that requires you to stay vigilant.
It’s easy during these tests to say “It’s only this once”, or “A little won’t matter”. Before you know it, a little becomes a lot because Friday night beers turns into Saturday evening birthday party, turns into Sunday brunch with waffles and pastries. It’s hardly ever ‘just this once” because there’s another opportunity to fall off the bandwagon waiting right around the corner.
So is it ok to fall off the bandwagon from time to time? Can you have “cheat days”?
Absolutely. Cheat days are ESSENTIAL to success and you shouldn’t feel bad about indulging from time to time.
But when this becomes a problem is when you continually find yourself sneaking cheats. When it comes to actively losing weight and keeping it off, every little bit counts.
I have struggled with this battle for years and years and I am here to say that if you want to lose weight and keep it off, you have to continually say no. You need to have the will power to acknowledge that every cracker, every piece of bread, every bite of pasta, every potato chip MATTERS.
It’s so easy to make excuses. So DAMN EASY. You’re in the moment and your mind tells you that it’s just this once. It’s only a little bite. It’s just a small sandwich, or side of pasta or a little ‘hit’ of french fried goodness, it’s just half of a small doughnut!
But what happens is that when you indulge in foods that trigger insulin (sugar filled, carbohydrate rich goodies) and it doesn’t matter that it’s just ‘a little hit’. It’s enough to turn your body into a fat storage machine instead of a fat burning machine.
Small cheats flip a switch in your body that tells it to burn sugar and store fat instead of burning the fat that you want to lose. If you do this enough you plateau and then you weight starts slowly creeping up again and it’s all downhill from there.
Making the excuse that you’ll burn it off is a possibility, but for most people this won’t be the case. Your body has already chosen to burn sugar instead of fat. You might burn off those calories that you took in but your body won’t burn fat. Chances are, you’ll burn the carbs and still have extra energy to store around your midsection.
Instead of cutting calories, work on your will power to not cheat.
Instead of trying to exercise more to work off calories, don’t take them in at all.
Realize that every bad food decision MATTERS. It doesn’t matter how small.
Work to understand how the body stores fat. Remind yourself that you want to be a fat burning machine and not a fat storage machine. Eating the wrong foods is like a light switch and every bite matters if you’re trying to get fit.