“Pause Button” Mentality


“I’ll eat healthier after things slow down at work,” or “I’ll begin exercising once the weather gets nicer.” These small excuses may seem harmless, but the truth is they could be jeopardizing your overall health. Unfortunately, this “all-or-nothing” approach (“I already screwed up my diet- I’ll just start again on Monday”) typically doesn’t result in “all.” It usually gives us… “nothing.”

“I refer to this as ‘the pause-button mentality;” says John Berardi, Ph.D., co-founder of Precision Nutrition. “Now, don’t get me wrong. I think it’s normal — even commendable — to want to do your best. To consider taking time to regroup and then resume (or start over) when life feels easier,” says Dr. Berardi, “At the same time, this completely natural and well-meaning impulse is one of the fastest, surest, most reliable ways to sabotage your plans for improved nutrition, health, and fitness.”

This may be why New Year’s Resolutions are so popular. Getting excited about the idea of starting January 1st may give some the green-light to splurge during the Holiday season, hitting “pause” on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. “But here’s the problem: The pause-button mentality only builds the skill of pausing,” explains Dr. Berardi. There is no “pause-button” for life- so it’s important to learn strategies on how to incorporate heath and fitness into your life- no matter how hectic it may seem.

Here is one of Dr. Berardi’s strategies that has tremendously helped me “dial up” my fitness. (Grab a pen and paper!)

Try the dial method. 

Think of your fitness like a dial that goes from 1 – 10.

If you were to dial it up to “10”…

•What would your workouts look like?

•What would your nutrition look like?

•What other actions/habits would you practice in that scenario?

If you were to dial it down to “1”…

•What would your workouts look like?

•What would your nutrition look like?

•What other actions/habits would you practice in that scenario?

Giving thought to your life right now, where is your dial set?

Would you like to make any adjustments?

Could you move the dial up a channel, or even half a channel?

If so, what would that look like?

On the other hand…

Should you move the dial down a channel so you can stick with health and fitness even during a difficult time?

How the “dial-up” method has worked for me: In my twenties, I was able to exercise 60+ minutes a day, six days a week. Today? Not so much. I realized I had hit the “pause-button” on my own fitness after becoming a mom. But after reading Dr. Berardi’s “dial” method, I am giving myself permission to feel good beginning again at a 2-3 instead of trying to be at an unsustainable 10. After answering the above questions, I came up with a plan and know you can too. I realized I could use YouTube (free!) to complete a 20 minute yoga session during my son’s first nap. I’ve been committed to this plan for three weeks and I’m loving it. Is it a killer workout? No. Does it make me feel good? Yes. Is it better than nothing? Heck yes!

Stay tuned next week for two more strategies from Dr. Berardi: 2. Aim for a little better and 3. Anticipate, strategize and plan.

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