Instant coffee isn’t great. This isn’t a controversial statement.
For the past year and a half I’ve been living in a fairly isolated part of China. It’s isolated mainly from an international standpoint, although it even seems to also be quite disconnected other parts of China . It’s still a big city of over 5 MILLION people (a small town by Chinese standards), yet it’s still quite disconnected from the outside world.
All this is to say you don’t always have access to the same luxuries you’re accustomed to in the US. Or if you do, they’re expensive to the point of not really being worth the extra skrilla.
You don’t really realize how much you rely on certain products until you don’t have access to them. And if there’s anything I have a dependency on, it’s coffee.
Turns out, coffee isn’t really a thing here. They’re big tea drinkers. Coffee though? Not so much.
So what do you do?
Aside from the occasional coffee shop outing, you drink instant coffee. With the amount of coffee I consume, buying the good shit all the time would very quickly put me in greater debt than my college degree ever did.
Upon realizing I’d have to resort to drinking instant coffee all the time, I wasn’t thrilled. Maybe I even panicked a bit.
However, after a few weeks of forcing down cups of instant, my reliance on a proper, strong cup of drip coffee every morning disappeared completely.
It got to the point of where I don’t just tolerate the instant stuff, but I actually enjoy it. I look forward to it every morning and enjoy the convenience.
Whenever I have real coffee I savor the hell out of it, but I don’t feel like I’m missing something whenever I have a cup of instant in the morning.
Why am I blathering on about my coffee preferences?
All to make a point :
Us humans adapt psychologically to whatever we're exposed to. We quickly return to a sort of mental homeostasis after experiencing changes.
This is called Hedonic Adaptation.
It happens with everything. And it’s especially important to understand in the context of nutrition, fitness, and fat loss i.e., you WILL get used to eating healthy foods.
The strong pull towards your old habits won't always be there. You won't always long for a time where you ate cheeseburgers every day.
Especially when you hone the skill of mindful indulgence where you’ve developed the ability to enjoy the occasional treat without binging.
It takes time, but your relationship with food and fitness changes along with your actions. You have stick with it long enough for that to happen though.
There’s a dangerous myth that motivation precedes action. The reality is actually the opposite.
The more you act towards a goal, the more motivated you become to keep acting. With time and practice it gets easier to stay motivated.
Hedonic adaptation also explains why money doesn't buy happiness. After a time, you get used to the luxury, so it stops being luxury. It becomes normal.
After a time, fancy things cease to be exciting because the novelty wears off. After a few months, people who win the lottery are just as happy, or unhappy, as they were before they won.
The takeaway is to stop viewing your current lifestyle as something you'll miss. Obviously it isn't making you happy, otherwise you wouldn't want to change.
It's normal to have FOMO (fear of missing out), but it won't always feel like that. You'll adjust. You’ll adapt. And you'll be happier, healthier, and more confident than you've ever been because of the changes you’ve made and the hard work you’ve put in.
Don’t be afraid to change. The point is to be the person you want to be with the lifestyle you want to build. It won’t always feel as difficult as it is when you’re just starting out. It does get easier.
Any of my online clients can validate this. I often have to remind them how difficult a particular habit used to be, otherwise they tend to downplay their successes.
You won't always wish your broccoli was pizza. You'll come to enjoy the broccoli, while still indulging in the occasional slice.
In fact, when you do decide to indulge, you'll enjoy it MORE because you won't feel any food guilt and it will be a treat. You'll savor it more because you’ve restored the novelty of such foods.
Health and wellness isn’t about deprivation, it’s about making decisions that line up with your goals and values. Motivation isn’t enough. You have to act on those motivations. Motivation is multifaceted -- people often want different, conflicting things.
The trick is know which things are more important to you and why.
More deprivation, more sacrifice, doesn’t necessarily equal more long term success. Especially if it’s not sustainable.
If you do it right, making changes to your lifestyle should minimize that feeling of deprivation, of missing out. Because I’m guessing you’re doing this to feel better emotionally, to feel lighter. To feel not so burdened, anxious, irritable, and insecure.
You can change your body completely and still feel like a bag of dicks when you look in the mirror. In fact, there are tons of “fit” people who have unhealthy relationships with food, and themselves, who obsess about it and feel terribly guilty when they eat something off plan.
Healthy can become normal, to the point where it doesn’t take lots of work or energy. You have more emotional bandwidth to be a better partner, worker, friend, parent, grandparent, etc.
Be patient and it won’t always feel as impossible as it feels now. You have to be persistent though.
Your perspective on the long game matters. If you think the rest of your life is going to feel like a crash diet, you’re less likely to continue on the path to a better life.
It’s discouraging when it feels like it’s still going to be a slog after the finish line. It’s demoralizing when it feels insurmountable, when the finish line is so far away as to seem impossible.
All this is to provide some perspective to keep you going. To remind you of why you’re doing this in the first place. To help you visualize what success looks like to you. To give you some hope and let you know it is possible to get rid of your anxiety around food, to not feel guilt after eating a cookie, and to have eating healthy not feel like a chore. To not constantly worry about your health and have healthy eating become second nature.
And you will be successful so long as you take consistent action towards your goals even when you don’t feel like it. The more you practice, the easier it gets. So just remember the goal is to make things easy that were once difficult.
Think about what you want your lifestyle to look like.
- What does your day look like?
- What do you eat?
- How does food make you feel before, during, and after eating?
- What kind of person has that lifestyle? How would you describe them?
Reflect on these questions and build your habits around that.
What actions do you need to take to make that vision a reality?
Fitness is never about fitness. Knowing your root motivation for getting fit is important. Because when there’s something deeper you’re working towards, it doesn’t feel like deprivation, it feels like being yourself.
Keep this in mind to power through those tough times where you don’t feel like it, be it because life gets in the way or you’re just burnt out. It’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when.
Motivational slumps can make or break your momentum. Now though, you’re fully equipped to deal with them to see your health goals to the end.
Still feel like you need a bit more? Like you need more accountability, support, and guidance to filter out what’s worth the effort and what’s not, well, that’s what I’m here for.
I’m currently accepting 1-on-1 Online Coaching Clients and I want to help you live a longer, healthier, more fulfilling and adventurous life. A life where you don't have to worry about getting out of breath before going on that hike or carrying the groceries up the stairs.
If you’d like to take advantage, or know someone who would, click the link below for whichever coaching package fits your goals:
- Online Exercise Coaching for People Who Don't Like to Exercise
- No-Diet Nutrition Coaching for Health and Weight Loss
- Online Total Fat Loss Coaching.
Looking forward to hearing from you :)