“Pause Button” Mentality Pt. 2

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Last week’s article identified the “the pause-button mentality,” coined by John Berardi, Ph.D., co-founder of Precision Nutrition. It goes a little something like this: “I’ll start exercising again after the kids get older, I’ll really get back into it when things slow down, I’ll start on Monday.”

Any of those sound familiar? Dr. Berardi believes “the pause-button mentality” is one of the surest ways to sabotage your health conscious efforts. If obstacles get in the way (which they surely will) we want to hit the “pause-button” on our healthy goals until we have the perfect timing to start over and “do it right.” Problem is: there is no perfect timing. Holidays, celebrations, injuries, working overtime, family, relationships, all these obstacles are part of real life. “There is never going to be a moment when things are magically easier,” says Dr. Berardi, “You can’t escape work, personal, and family demands. Nor can you escape the need for health and fitness in your life.”

That’s why willpower alone will not get you to where you want to be; but learning strategies and building skills to make healthy choices under real life scenarios will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.

In last week’s article, we detailed Dr. Berardi’s first tip for overcoming the pause-button mentality. Below is a summary of Dr. Berardi’s first tip and then two more strategies quoted by Dr. Berardi.

  1. Create and use your own “dial” method
  • Think of your health and fitness on a dial from 1-10.
  • What does a 10 look like?
  • What does a 1 look like?

When life gets hectic, Dr. Berardi suggests instead of pressing “pause,” just adjust the dial. For example: if you have a jam-packed week and can’t make it to the gym, don’t stop exercising completely, just dial down your efforts. Do a quick ten minute body-weight workout (push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, etc.) before you get in the shower or commit to taking the stairs, walking on your lunch break, five minute yoga before bed, just don’t hit “pause.”

2. Aim for a little bit better

An all-or-nothing approach usually doesn’t get us “all”. It usually gets us “nothing”.

You know what actually works? Small improvements done consistently over time work. If you feel like you are in a less than ideal situation- look around. Get creative. See if you can find some small — maybe minuscule — improvements.  For example: traveling? Even fast food restaurants offer healthy choices. Don’t use traveling as an excuse to get the Big Mac and fries. Salad, grilled chicken, fruit and water are also on the menu.

3. Look ahead, strategize and plan

A simple way to do this is by answering two questions:

1What’s likely to get in the way of what I hope to accomplish?

2What is something I can do today to help me keep going when I face those obstacles?

For some people, that might be a Sunday ritual where they prep food for the week so they won’t be scrambling for healthy meals on busy weeknights. For others, it might mean having a healthy meal-delivery service on speed dial.

This Easter weekend offers an opportunity to practice “dialing down” instead of pausing healthy habits. For example: limit to only a couple sweet treats instead of an entire Easter basket full, bundle up and go for a walk with your family after your Easter meal instead of sitting inside all day, bring a healthy dish to your gathering to guarantee a healthy option.

Just as Easter is a symbol of hope and new life, I hope these tips can give you a renewed perspective on healthy living. Happy Easter!

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