How To Eat Healthy and Work Out When You Don’t Feel Like It

At least sometimes...

November 29, 2018

This week’s Thursday Thought is brought to you by a conversation I just had with a client about the incredibly powerful force known as immediate gratification.

Let’s say like him, you want to get stronger and leaner. You know that will mean regularly exercising, eating plenty of vegetables and protein, and limiting processed junk food. For simplicity’s sake, let’s take some realistic round numbers and say you wanna lose 25 pounds in 6 months.

You’re one month in, down 5 pounds, thanks to 3 days a week in the gym and an individualized nutrition approach based on common sense and your taste buds. Right on target. Next thing you know, you’ve got a serious craving for a burger and fries with a milkshake to wash ‘em down. You think about your fitness goals with good intention, but the thought of 20 more pounds in 5 more months just feels so far off! Especially when you consider that delicious calorie-bomb of a “meal” would be ready in like 15 minutes. The food is gonna win that mental battle just about every time!

Or you wake up on a gym day feeling so comfortable in your bed, and the northwest rain outside is so soothing and relaxing. Maybe you watched one too many Netflix episodes the night before and didn’t get enough sleep, and now you’ve got this golden opportunity for some blissful rest right in front of you, with exactly zero effort required... Why not just snooze it for another hour? 20 pounds and 5 months is so far away. Good luck prying yourself up and into the gym!

These are common scenarios. In most cases, the short-term appeal of burgers or bed wins out over the long-term goal of losing 25 pounds in 6 months. That’s because immediate gratification is a powerful force. You’ve got to fight fire with fire. You’ve got to find the short-term benefits of passing on the junk food and getting the day’s workout in. The best way to find these is to eat junk food and skip workouts. Sounds weird, right? It's true!

Skip enough workouts and eat enough junk food while sincerely trying to lose weight and build muscle, and you’ll be disappointed with the results on and off the scale. When you skip that morning workout, you'll notice don’t feel as energized and confident throughtout the day, as when you make it. You will realize “food comas” aren’t just fodder for funny tweets, they’re physically uncomfortable sensations that leave you feeling anxious and regretful because they set your further back from your goal. Get your workouts in and eat food that nourishes your body to combat those sh***y feelings.

It’s not about what you’ll weigh in 5 months, it’s about how you’ll feel in 5 hours! I help people of all backgrounds workout and eat salads, in all my years doing it, NEVER has someone regretted working out or eating a salad. They always feel a little awesomer for taking care of themselves. THAT is your short-term benefit!

It’s totally normal to give into cravings and laziness from time to time, they will not completely derail your progress, especially if you use them as reminders of everything I’ve talked about in today’s post. But if you’re comparing those short-sighted impulses against your long-term goals, it’s apples and oranges. You know which decision is healthier, you just need to reframe that side of the equation to something more immediate. Fight fire with fire. Focus on the short term. As Garth said:

Take Great Care,

Matt Koch