“How can I eat cheesecake and still get the body I want?”
I’ll be answering this question in this post. It’s a question I’ve been asked many times by my clients and also by myself. I love cheesecake (especially New York Cheesecake!) and I love the feeling I get from eating healthy food and exercising. How can I have both and still reach my health and fitness goals and live a happy, fulfilling life?
Note – These are just my thoughts. Please DO NOT go and fill yourself with cheesecake! Read on for my thoughts on how to get the balance right.
I’m not a guy that follows the norm. I look at what others are doing and then try finding and exploring different ways of doing things. I believe this is how progress is made, It’s how the Earth went from being flat to being round. It’s called a paradigm shift where we change our whole perception of how we look at something. Using the idea of a paradigm shift, I look at EVERYTHING from “Outside the box”. Having an open-mind, and seeing the same ideas from different perspectives allows me to get a fuller picture. And I want to share some of my thoughts and ideas with you here.
In working with hundreds of people I’ve come to see that many clients and practitioners have unrealistic views on health and fitness. They take things to the extreme and I believe this is where we lose the balance in life and we encounter problems in one form or another. Often people get hung up on what they’ve read, heard or been taught by someone who is an expert in the field and then base their whole life around that information and get stressed when they find that it’s unrealistic for THEM to implement.
For me, this is where the knowledge of self comes into play. Below are three tips that may help you change you how approach and think about things when it comes to healthy eating and exercise. All 3 work hand-in-hand, therefore you need to implement all 3 for it to be effective.
Tip 1 – Find a Good Balance Within Activities
The Ying and Yang. A symbol that many of us have seen. I’ve seen different meanings for this symbol but in this post I’m going to use it to talk about balance, equality and harmony.
In the Ancient Chinese Text the “Tao Te Ching”, the writer, Lao Tzu, talks about the essential, nameless energy/process of the Universe called the “Tao” or “The Way”. One aspect of the “Tao” is where one strives to achieve something without actually striving to achieve it i.e. By trying not to try (Edward Slingerland), one can achieve the desired result. An interesting concept which I have seen in action in the people I’ve trained or by successful athletes. I’ve wondered how successful people in health and fitness and sport achieve phenomenal results without following the industry standard “Science” and training/eating methodologies.
In his blog, British Olympic Weightlifter, Jack Oliver talks a little about his diet and training regime. From it, you get a sense of him being in a state of spontaneity and training and eating with how he feels and what he feels like he needs to do to get the job done. I don’t think science can explain the invisible energy that’s in action here. I’ve seen this guy train and he is an unbelievable athlete. He knows what he needs to do to get the job done for him and his lifestyle and it doesn’t seem to follow conventional science.
We are all different and we need to follow what works for US and not for someone else. What works for Jack may not work for me and you. Get the balance right and you may just find yourself, spontaneously making progress and enjoying life more. Getting the balance right and not focussing too much on the outcome can also help reduce stress and clear mental space.
Action – Try not to try – Try this for 1 or 2 weeks and see how you feel. Take your focus away from the end goal. Try not to CONSCIOUSLY focus on what a great body you want or what results you want to see. Let your subconscious handle that (This will take practice). Instead of stressing about “I need to eat healthy”, “I must eat chicken and broccoli”, “I can’t eat that” or “I must get to the gym I’m getting fat”, focus on the now. Allow the current circumstance to take place and go with your desires. If you feel like eating cake, then eat it. If you feel like exercising, do it. If you feel like lazing on the sofa do it. But if you’re going to do any of these things, don’t stress about your body image or self-perception (feeling guilt) once you’ve done it. Your inner-guidance system, this invisible energy force the Chinese have talked about for thousands of years, will guide you towards your goals without you consciously focusing on them.
As with Ying and Yang I strongly believe we need to have a balance with how much we exercise and eat healthy and how much we chill and eat what we want. Going too far in either direction (exercising all the time and eating healthy all the time OR not exercising at all and eating junk food all the time) can cause problems in one form or another. Find a coach or trainer that will show you the way initially, then let your guidance system handle the rest.
Tip 2 – Become Aware of Your Thoughts and Emotions and Realise the Separateness
In his book, “The Untethered Soul”, Michael Singer, talks about being “aware”. He says our thoughts and emotions are separate from us. We are the witness to the subject, our thoughts and emotions. We cannot BE our thoughts and emotions as we are aware of their existence. We experience those thoughts (the chatter-box in your head) and emotions (our feelings) but we are not those thoughts and emotions. We are separate. You are “I” which is separate from your thoughts and emotions. “I am not my thoughts and emotions” is an affirmation I use to create separateness when I feel strong emotions or thoughts coming into my head and when I need some clear space.
Often the thoughts in your head and your emotions will try to take over when you eat unhealthy food or miss exercise. This is when you should try and create that separateness from the thoughts and emotions and let them pass. Be content with what you are doing and why you’re currently doing what you’re doing. You’re most likely following your desires and this is the right thing to do. It can also go the other way where you feel like you must constantly exercise and eat healthy to reach your goals. Going back to Ying and Yang, the thoughts and emotions in your head want to drive you off-balance because the extremes may seem like the right place to be.
What happens when you exercise too much or eat healthy all the time? What about when your friends invite you out to dinner? Are you stressing about what’s on the menu? What about when you go to a wedding? Are you performing optimally at work/business if the thoughts in your head are telling you to be at the gym right now? What if the voice is telling you to eat that cheesecake because it will comfort you and it’s the easy way out? Or when the voice says, “you’ve eaten one piece already, you may aswell eat the whole cake”. Or “Don’t go to the gym, people will look at you”.
The point is that these thoughts and emotions are all objects. Just things that come into your conscious mind because of your past or current situations. But you don’t have to listen to them or be them. When you become them, you start stressing. You listen to this voice and it takes over. It controls what you do and how you behave and you end up going crazy either from over-exercising and living off chicken and broccoli or filling yourself with chocolate and cheesecake and sitting on the couch all day.
Action – Practice creating separateness from your thoughts and emotions and let go. Get the balance right between eating healthy and exercising and eating too much junk food and no exercise. Find a coach or trainer to help you. This will help you feel free and take a big weight off your shoulders.
Tip 3 – Be Aware of Your Goals
Action – Be aware of what your striving for when it comes to eating healthy and exercise. By trying not to try, you are likely to move towards your goals. Minimising stress and allowing spontaneity and your inner-guidance system to work their magic, you’ll likely see results much faster and enjoy the process a lot more. Your thoughts and emotions will challenge you but remain separate from them.
If you don’t know what you want then you have no destination. You can never feel fulfilled when you move in a certain direction because that direction may be the wrong one. Have an idea in your head of what you want and then let the “Tao” work it’s magic by you trying not to try.
What a load of B$%&&t…
I thought that too until I tried it and found that the feelings I desired (confidence, sexiness, happiness and accomplishment) were all things I already had and are NOT the result of having the perfect body. I didn’t need to exercise more or eat more healthily to have these feelings. By fighting my desires for cheesecake and stressing about hitting the gym, I didn’t fully embrace ‘the now’ and the interactions with people, the holidays, the weddings and the beautiful scenery. Immerse yourself in ‘the now’ and the rest will take care of itself.
Thanks for reading.