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The One About Changing Behaviors

The One About Changing Behaviors

When I started CrossFit I jumped on the Paleo bandwagon. I’ll admit it and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I had just moved from Mississippi and I was definitely the largest version of myself that had ever existed. My weight wasn’t very substantial but I didn’t look like a collegiate runner anymore and I knew something had to change. At that time I was working on my PhD and my partner was in law school. Doing Paleo was easy because we had no family around and everyone else we knew did CrossFit all the time and ate VERY healthily. It made the transition to Paleo much easier. When I went back to Boston or went to hang with Amherst friends that were in LA, I began to realize how different my life was and how difficult it was to have normal social time with other people that weren’t eating Paleo.

“I knew something had to change.”

There are websites devoted to making that transition easier, but it honestly didn’t help and when I had to go to client meetings or dinners there was no way to stay on track. I was lucky; for a long time the only people I spent time with in LA were CrossFit people. When that changed it became impossible to live a life that cuts out some major food staples.

image of resolutions and diet starting one day

It is incredibly rare for the new year’s resolution method to work. Dramatically changing your life patterns and applying that to existing relationships or social structures becomes much more difficult than the already difficult process of eating a particular way. That being said, sometimes changing everything at one time does work; usually it’s because there is a wedding or a vacation or a meet and once that day has come and gone the motivation or “the why” is gone and the diet deteriorates rather quickly. I would encourage everyone to focus on ONE thing and then over time that one area becomes effortless.

“I would encourage everyone to focus on ONE thing and then over time that one area becomes effortless.”

Creating a new habit every two weeks and making that habit something small that can become a part of your life, will allow you to effect meaningful change. We know that everyone has their own struggles, so we encourage everyone to make small changes over the course of time. If you’re a sugar junky and you’re having ice cream every night, start small and cut down on your ice cream. In the next two weeks if you only eat ice cream every other night, you’re already making progress. It’s very important that you don’t beat yourself up and part of that is making realistic expectations.

lettuce on a plate

“It’s very important that you don’t beat yourself up and part of that is making realistic expectations.”

If you expect that you can stop eating ice cream every night, when the reality is that you’ve been eating a pint every night for a month, that’s probably an unrealistic expectation. Progress can come in many different forms – again, it’s unrealistic to completely cut something out if you’ve been eating it all the time. Take the wins where you can get them. It seems to be human nature to find the faults and not to focus on the positives. When you’re going through changes in your life, it’s incredibly important to focus on the parts that are positive and not to dwell on the negative. Remember, we don’t go from bad to good in a linear progression in anything. There are always detours and setbacks and those roadblocks are often what catalyze a new upward trend.

graph of progress for changing a lifestyle

“Don’t dwell on the mistakes…”

We highly encourage everyone to adopt a clean slate policy as it relates to your nutrition goals. If you decide that you are going to eat ice cream every other day and then you have a terrible day at work and that every other day turns into every day THAT’S OKAY. Don’t dwell on the mistakes just wake up the next morning and focus your energy on having a better day not eating ice cream that night. You can’t change the fact that you ate ice cream last night so don’t worry about it. All you can do is change your future decisions.