Want Black and White? Your Best Bet is Grey…

So, we all want black and white.

We want to know exactly how many calories we should eat to lose weight. We want to reach an arbitrary number in our head that will deem us good enough. We want to go to the gym exactly 3.75 times per week, and make sure we get exactly 8.5 hours of sleep.

 

And if we get sick? Or our kids get sick? Or we have an emergency at work that forces us to stay late? The black and white suddenly doesn’t become so clear. We fall “off track” and struggle to get back on. We end up snacking more, missing the gym, watching more TV, and staying up later.

 

I’ve done this. More times than I can count. And I’ve seen many people close to me go through it too. We make this goal, we have a plan, things go fine for maybe a week, and then BAM! Shit hits the fan. And it doesn’t even have to be a big thing to throw it off, but because the plan is SO strict, the minute one thing throws us off, everything else falls apart.

 

90% of the time when things fell off track, I felt a bit of relief. FINALLY, I could relax a bit…

 

Sound familiar? You’re not alone. There is a reason that the quick fix side of the fitness industry is worth billions of dollars. People continuously fall for it because it seems so black and white. Follow X plan to receive Y results. There is no thought put into unique body shape, genetics, lifestyle, stress levels, family, etc. etc. Just the other day I saw a commercial for some sort of new at-home workout machine that claimed all you needed was 14 minutes a day to get rock hard abs. Ugh.

 

It’s NEVER that black and white. The best we can hope for is grey. A mix of black and white, an area that isn’t so clear. Just yesterday I had planned to get up to go to the gym this morning. Unfortunately it was a night of very poor sleep and I ended up sleeping in until it was time to get ready for work. Will I use that as a sign that I’ve screwed up my workouts for the week and just start again next week? I used too. Or I would make time available in the evening to go.

 

But what if the grey area was something we should actually be aiming for? An acceptance that life is going to happen and all that we can ask of ourselves is to try our best.

 

What if we set a goal of going to the gym 4 days instead of 6? 

What if we just made a point of having a healthy breakfast for a week until that became a routine before adding anything else? 

What if we set a goal of being strong instead of being small? Or of being healthy instead of reaching a particular weight? 

 

These goals allow for the grey to happen. If we make it a goal to get to the gym 4 and something happens early in the week (like me today), I still have 3 other days that I could go…if I choose to. If we aim to just one healthy a meal a day to start and let everything else fall into place, then there will be less pressure on ourselves to be perfect.

 

Let’s make the grey area our goal instead of black and white. We’ll do ourselves a huge favour in the long run.

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