Just be better than you were yesterday!
One of my favourite quotes is “you don’t need to be perfect, just be better than you were yesterday”. For me it sums up everything that I stand for as a nutritional therapist and the way I try to be too.
Often in the health and fitness industry there is an assumption that you need to be strict, disciplined and perfect and for me that is the number 1 reason that most people who embark on a healthy eating regime fail. All the pictures you see on websites, adverts and in magazines show what they deem to be the perfect body with six packs, no wobbly bits and perfect skin, hair and teeth. BUT, we are human, we are never going to be perfect and situations or events will always happen that derail our healthy eating and living intentions.
Clients tell me all the time that they have tried every diet under the sun and they can lose a bit of weight, or gain some energy, or have better digestion but ultimately the diets are so strict that they don’t work over the longer term because a specific event came up and they went off the rails, completely fell off the wagon, piled it all back on plus more, and now feel worse than ever.
So, despite being a nutritional therapist and helping people change their eating habits for the better I do tell people to just be better than you were yesterday. There is a place for a strict diet but it is rare and not always needed!
Just be better than you were yesterday – what does this actually mean?
We can all have nutritionally questionable days driven by boredom, stress, anxiety, celebrations, hormones and holidays. What those days mean is that we ate, or drank, in a way that didn’t serve our bodies in the best way….nothing more and nothing less. It does not mean that each day afterwards needs to also be questionable. It does not mean that previous efforts to eat well have been wasted and it REALLY does not mean we should feel guilty. We don’t have to live our life eating in a “good” way or a “bad” way. We just need to eat nutritionally good foods as often as possible and some days will be better or worse than others.
Just be better than you were yesterday – how to apply it?
To show you how this can be part of your reality think of this. Perhaps today you’ve eaten a whole share bag of crisps to yourself, had a big slice of cake or ate until you felt uncomfortably full and still went back for more. Have a think about what you could do differently tomorrow. It might be any of the following or something else you think of:
- Have a sugar free day
- Exercise a little more
- Drink one less tea or coffee
- Drink an extra glass of water
- Have a zero-alcohol day
- Add an extra portion of vegetables or fruits to a meal
- Opt for no pudding
- Go for one less biscuit
- Get to bed earlier
Create your foundation
I love to consider the foundation eating plan. The concept is simple – if you eat 3 meal and 1 snack each day then there are theoretically 28 eating occasions in a week. If you then apply the 80:20 rule to that it means you could have a great foundation healthy eating plan 80% of the time and can be a little off the foundation the remaining 20%. In reality this would then mean that on 5-6 eating occasions each week you could allow yourself to be little off foundation. This helps when you are trying to eat well but want to have a social life too. For example, it means on the weekends you could have a take away or a meal out with friends or family. You could have some birthday cake, a glass of wine or have some chocolate if you fancy. But aim to keep it to that. If you want or need to lose weight then being on the foundation around 90% is advised or if you just want to be healthier then 80% should be fine. This allows you flexibility and realism. Going back to my favourite quote it means the same – if you have quite an “off plan day” then consider on the next day that you can plan to just be better than you were yesterday!