How do you maintain results? A podcast by Functional Nutritionist Andrea Nicholson

How do you maintain results?

This is a big topic that is often left out of the diet and health conversation.  Everyone is seeking quick results, to feel better or look better as quickly as possible.  Even if that “works”, the results don’t last.  Because that maintenance piece isn’t talked about.  So today, we’re talking about it!

Let go of the idea of quick results

Whatever the health challenge is that you’re going through – be it weight gain, digestive issues, chronic headaches, back pain, bloating, fatigue, or any other challenge – getting quick results will not really solve your problem in most cases.  There is a true deeper cause that has led you to this place. 

So let’s take an example – your number 1 complaint is that you’re too tired to do the things you want to do.  This means you miss workouts, you don’t cook your meals, you don’t even pick up after yourself.  All of this makes you feel less than, or defeated, or depressed. 

But what’s really behind you being tired?  What’s contributing to that fatigue?  Is it the poor dietary choices you’re making?  Is it that you’re not prioritizing your sleep routine and habits?  Is it that you consume alcohol or other products that decrease your overall energy levels?  Or maybe you’re consuming far too many stimulants that are wearing out your detox systems.  Maybe you have a hidden infection that’s zapping your energy?  Or maybe you have a cellular imbalance inhibiting your ability to produce and use energy efficiently. 

We first have to figure out the root cause, then we can get to the solution as quickly as possible.  None of these true root causes are things that can be corrected with a cleanse, short-term diet, or miracle pill.  This type of real healing takes time.  It can be done with ease, but it doesn’t happen overnight.  So getting to the solution, doesn’t necessarily guarantee you’ll have fast results, but we have a specific target to aim for.  So we have to stop looking for quick fixes and expecting overnight results.  Anything worth having is worth working for!  

Implement simple, doable, maintainable actions

If we try to change EVERYTHING about our lives all at once, we’ll easily get overwhelmed and likely give up quickly. 

If we try to micromanage one specific thing and expect it to fix everything, it will likely feel like it’s not working and we’ll give up. 

If we try to force ourselves into taking an action we don’t like or agree with, we will never stick with it. 

It truly doesn’t matter how well formulated and healthy a particular plan is – if you hate it, you’ll never stick with it.  So even if you get some results when doing all the things or micromanaging one thing, or from forcing yourself to do something you don’t want to do, they won’t last.  And you’ll be far less likely to take actions like these again.  Eventually, you’ll run out of fast action plans to try.  Or you’ll keep going back to those same failed plans.  

What should we do instead?

We’ve talked about the first two: #1 let go of quick results and truly get to the root cause, and #2 implement simple, doable, maintainable actions. And #3 is the most powerful – we fix the THOUGHTS about the process. THIS is why we spend 6 months here.  Because this is the real work. 

You may be thinking this sounds really woo-woo, but stick with me. 

Let me share an example of this work that I just went through with a client.  She has a long history of dieting, losing a little weight with a very expensive, restrictive diet (you know one of those commercial plans where you have to buy their diet junk food).  Eventually, she gets fed up with the food and the cost, quits the plan, and immediately goes back to her old ways, eating fast food, junk food, and she completely falls off the plan or struggles to stick with healthier options for even two days. 

She has all the intentions of preparing her meals and taking them to work…and sometimes she does.  But often, she doesn’t eat the food she brought and grabs takeout instead.  Or she disregards the fact that she has great healthy food at home, and hits the drive-thru instead on the way home. 

I asked her what her prevailing thought was about this cycle of struggle. She said “I always fail.  I try to be good, but I end up slipping up and failing.”   Let that sink in.  How successful do you think you could be if you were operating from a thought pattern that you are a failure?  If you told yourself every single day that you’re a failure and that no matter what, you always fail…how well do you think you could stick with a plan of eating quality foods for your body?  

But we didn’t stop here.  I asked her how that made her feel when she felt like she always failed.  She said “sad”.  Understandably so.  

So I asked her “when you feel sad, what do you do?” She said she eats. And she eats without regard for her plan.  She just hides from her emotions by eating.  She seeks temporary pleasure from eating tasty food.  Even though when pressed, she said she doesn’t actually get any pleasure from it.  But she turns to junk food because she expects temporary pleasure.  

And what result do you think she’s getting when she is eating without regard to her plan or her goals?  She’s gaining weight, she’s struggling to lose weight, she’s constantly struggling to stick with a plan, and she’s always starting over.  So literally – she feels like a failure, which results in her failing to follow her plan or stick to her goals.  It’s the THOUGHT that’s causing this struggle.  

But then we took it one step further, and I asked her what she would RATHER be thinking.  She said “I am going to be successful.  I am going to be healthy”.  What great thoughts those are!  Doesn’t that sound like a much better place to make choices from?  To be able to focus on those thoughts every day. 

But let’s keep going.  I asked her how that new thought made her feel – she said motivated.  Now temporarily, she slipped back into the old thought – and said motivated, but I always let myself fail.  I had to stop her from thinking that thought and redirect her energy back to “I am going to be successful.  I am going to be healthy”.  When she focused on that thought, she was able to see herself sticking to her plan, creating new habits, and finding other ways to deal with negative or positive emotions instead of eating.  And all of these actions will lead to positive, amazing, healthy results.  

You see, we all have these unhelpful thoughts that hold us back.  If we do the work of identifying them, we can do the work to reframe them.  They FEEL like facts. When you say to yourself “I am fat.  I am tired.  I am unhealthy.” or any other negative statement, it seems like you’re just reporting the news.  But none of these are facts.  None of these are indisputable details that 100% of people everywhere would agree with.  These statements are just perspectives.  Thoughts in your head.  Simply sentences that your brain has offered to you as a part of the story you tell yourself.  

But you can change those sentences!  It takes work. It takes practice.  

These sentences in your brain are there trying to keep you safe, comfortable, and in the status quo.  It’s a survival mechanism built into your primal animal brain.  But what makes us human is we have a prefrontal cortex – where we can plan ahead and follow the plan.  Most of us just aren’t in the habit of asking our PFC or in listening to it.  There’s a deeper reason why we’re ignoring the more advanced brain.  We just have to dig that sneaky thought out! 

This is the value of coaching.  This is why we spend 6 months doing this work.  Because we ALL have novels of negative sentences and stories we’re telling ourselves that are keeping us from living the life we want to live, from having the body we want to have, from having the health outcomes we want to have, from having the habits and confidence in ourselves.  

So, sure we’re going to dig in and find the biological cause of whatever symptom or condition you’re dealing with – but then we’re going to dig in and find those sentences that we can re-write.  This is the most powerful work you can do.  This is what will get you results and KEEP your results.  Once you build these skills, you will know how to tackle anything in your life.


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