THE FITNESS COLUMN: Tips to avoid complacency

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Do you have things in your life that you enjoy but take a lot of work? I certainly do.

My passion to help people get fit and healthy takes a lot of work, being a good parent to my kids takes a lot of work, staying fit takes a lot of work, and keeping up with my household responsibilities takes a lot of work.

What happens if I start to let any of those things slide?

If I don’t go out on a Sunday evening for a bike ride I won’t keep my fitness up, by not reading with my kids or helping them with their maths homework will have a detrimental effect on their education; and if I don’t keep up with the household chores – well – let’s just suffice my wife will not be happy with me.

So, if I get complacent, bad things happen.

The same thing happens with your weight/fat loss or weight maintenance efforts.

If you allow complacency to set in, your weight/fat loss efforts may yield fewer and fewer results.

In fact, enough complacency can cause your weight/fat loss efforts to disappear completely. Believe me, I have seen it lots of times. There have been times during my 20 years of being a health and fitness professional where clients have been going along ok with their weight/fat loss.

They lose 20 or 25lb and then start to lose their focus.

Instead of eating raspberries with their Greek yogurt or one apple for a snack, they would start to introduce a sprinkling of sugar or honey or a cereal bar.

Instead of using dressings and sauces sparingly, they would start pouring them directly on their food.

And instead of watching the quality of their meals, they began to buy pre-made meals and chucking them in the microwave because they ‘didn’t have time to cook’.

They became complacent. And that causes people to lose focus and eventually regain their weight.

The weird thing is that when I question them about what they were eating they know what they were doing but tried to convince themselves that those extra bits of food or sauces did not really matter. And although no one is perfect all the time, they became so complacent that they fell right back into their old habits.

I wonder if this has ever happened to you?

If it has then try a few things differently to stay aware, stay honest, and stay focused. Here are five tips for you to avoid complacency in your healthy eating efforts.

5 Tips to Avoid Complacency

1. Check in with yourself regularly. This may include writing in a journal every Friday night, tracking your food most days, taking body measurements regularly, or sharing your progress with a trusted friend.

2. Expect the unexpected. Life happens. A lot of the times when we let complacency rear its ugly head it’s those times where we are stressed over unexpected bills, challenging work situations, or some other life event. Train yourself to accept that the unexpected really is just part of life and that your weight/fat loss efforts do not have to stop.

3. Know the signs. These signs will vary by individual, but pay attention to situations like if you have slacked off in your exercise, have stopped checking in with yourself, or whether you are grazing on chocolate all day long.

4. Have a plan. If you find yourself in these situations, learn to develop a positive way to deal with each of your slip-ups. If you find yourself grazing all day long, use my timer trick and set your timer for 15 minutes. If you are really hungry when it rings, then make a healthy choice.

5. Be kind to yourself. Often times, when we let complacency slip in, we’d also let those negative voices slip in. We would mentally berate ourselves over our lack of self-discipline and then eat more. We should tell ourselves that we all mess up and to just acknowledge what happened and keep moving forward.

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