When we’re talking “consistency” with health, it’s often seen as a robotic food or exercise plan that we have to follow every single day or we’re off the rails. Either we are perfect or we’re failing and “right back to where I started!” Even the definition (con·sist·en·cy (n), in every case or on every occasion; invariably) is daunting and superhuman.
With that logic, your weekends will look exactly like your weekdays. Your trips to another country or cuisine are long gone. And what if you’re sick and the last thing you want is a salad!? I guess you have no choice but to eat the ice cream because it’s the only thing that sounds good and you’re off-plan anyway…
When you think of it like this, being consistently healthy is either impossible or super sucky.
Black and white thinking like this makes consistency difficult because you can’t be perfect with a “food plan” or “exercise plan” 100% of the time, and honestly, you probably don’t want to. But what I see in my practice is a tremendous amount of shame attached to being “off plan,” even when it’s a totally appropriate time to have some variety.
I’m sharing with you a new definition of consistency that I believe will honor the conscious eater within you while leaving you intentional and realistic wiggle room for holidays, vacations, weekends, date nights, birthday cake, work travel, or any other time you feel is appropriate for you to take a step out of your normal routine.
con·sist·en·cy (n): staying true to our healthy practices even though some behaviors will change given the appropriate situation, emotional state, or timeframe.
I consistently eat until I’m satisfied.
This needs to be true if you’re eating french toast while you’re out to brunch or your go-to scrambled eggs and veggies at home. Consistently honoring your fullness cue is more important than the exact food you’re eating at that moment.
And yes, “satisfied” means physical hunger, but it also means emotional hunger as well. If you’ve had a big meal and it’s time for the birthday cake, of course, you’re not “hungry” for it. But you might emotionally want to participate in the celebration and tradition. That’s ok! Looking at this without judgment or “failure to have willpower” will give you the consciousness to have a bite or two. Win-win.
I consistently move my body daily.
Sometimes this is you making it to your 6 am kickboxing class. Sometimes this is you sneaking in some weights at the creepy hotel gym because your meetings ran late (don’t make eye contact). Sometimes this is you taking a long walk with the family on the beach during your vacation, or stretching in the living room if you’ve overdone it recently or feel a cold coming on.
Why not move your body differently depending on where you are and what you need? If you’re in another location, you don’t have to do the exact workout you’d do at home to be “consistent.” You certainly can, but if it feels like a punishment or an obsession to “not skip a day” that’s something to take a look at. Your body will enjoy the break!
I consistently eat with enjoyment.
We sometimes think of our more indulgent meals as the enjoyable ones (which is fair) but how different would it be if you committed to consistently enjoying your food? Maybe it’s not the tastiest meal, but can you enjoy it from a place of gratitude? Can you enjoy the same leftover you had for the last two day from a place of “thank goodness I at least don’t have to cook today”? Enjoyment will allow you to slow down, refocus, and not power through the week just to feel overindulgent on the weekends.
I consistently hydrate my body.
Ok somewhat of a non-negotiable because you seriously need to drink water daily (ideally half your body weight in ounces of water) but you’re going to mess this up sometimes (again, you’re not a robot). Where I see people fall away from this is one thing changes (“I forgot my water bottle at home”) and the practice gets thrown out the window. So you don’t have the trusty water bottle, what can you do? Swing by a gas station for a few bottles? Swing by a Starbucks and ask them to fill up your other water bottle for you? Catch up when you get to the office later?
I consistently speak to myself with love.
This is a lifelong practice and a constant area of focus. Often when people are “treating themselves” the voice in their head is so negative. What’s the damn point!? I challenge, encourage, and beg you to stop doing this. Stop. Right now! No matter what you’re choosing to eat at that moment, you must eat with love, trust, and compassion for yourself. If this is a biggie for you, I’ve got you.
I consistently make time for self-care.
If you’re at a spa weekend, good for you! If you’re rushing through a Monday, maybe you don’t have time or resources for an hour massage, but can you slow down and take some deep breaths while you put on your face lotion? If you’ve committed to journaling every day and you haven’t made time for it for whatever reason, you haven’t failed. What if you leave a voice memo on your phone for yourself as you sit in traffic as a “verbal journal”? It’s the intention of self-care that will ground you in the hectic times, even when you might not be able to complete your ideal behaviors. I made a video on this subject, watch it here.
I consistently commit to resetting and returning to whatever patterns I’ve established that serve me in my “normal life.”
So you had a vacation or a holiday week and your life looked totally different than your “routine.” That was kind of the point, right? Otherwise, you’d have stayed home. If you’re following the above to stay consistently healthy there’s no way you were off the rails. Was it different? Yes. Was it more indulgent? Maybe. Was it ok? Absolutely.
If your “routine” feels like a punishment or a drag to come back to, that’s something we need to adjust. But for most of us, even the longest holidays are a week or two - where things go “off the rails” is when that sets us off on a few months of not returning to the habits and rituals that we know serve us 80% of the time.
I truly believe you can be consistently healthy without being robotic or paranoid. We simply need to be consistent in our intentions even when the behaviors change.
What are you committing to being more consistent about?
Leave a comment below, because I like to read all of them when I’m in the sauna.