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A Different Way to Change Your Lifestyle: Because Everyone Has an Icing-Covered Muffin


Last night during a conversation with an online client, we talked about changing habits.


Let’s be real:


This ish is hard. For everyone.


If you’re trying to get it together with your nutrition and fitness, you may be wondering, “Will I EVER be able to change this?”


You’ve signed up for programs and challenges and detoxes, and every time, the result is the same. You give up, and the thing that isn’t serving you stays. Add to that: a heavy does of guilt and shame because - yet again - you didn’t have enough discipline or willpower to stick with it.


Maybe you just don’t want it bad enough?


Or maybe - you DO want it, it’s just that you’re trying to change in a way that doesn’t work for you.


What Humans Do


When we need to change, we humans love to pick the hardest, most aggressive option, don’t we?

  • “I need to get in shape. I KNOW! I’LL SIGN UP FOR A MARATHON.”

  • “I need to eat less sugar. I KNOW! I’LL DO ANOTHER WHOLE30.”

  • “I need to stop eating so much bread. I KNOW! I’LL DO THE KETO DIET…AGAIN!”

Social media “before and after” photos tease us with a glimpse of our future selves: what we could be like and look like if only we could finish the race, finish the detox or give up sugar for good.

When we want to change, we seem to think there’s only one option: GO HARD AND EXTREME OR WHY BOTHER….right?


Old Habits Die Hard


I’ve been there, too. When I first started this new lifestyle, I was in a deep committed relationship with coffee shop breakfasts.


They made me sleepy and hungry and triggered crazy sugar cravings, but every morning, it was like my car MADE ME drive to St. Elmo’s Coffee Shop in Alexandria, Virginia, and order my usual:


“A medium coffee with room for cream and a low-fat cinnamon coffee muffin to go, please.”

In fact, here’s a screen shot from Instagram of the exact pastry case that had me in its grips:














I Knew What To Do, But I Wouldn’t Do It


Around this time, I had just found the trainers I would eventually do my nutrition certifications and training with, and they were AMAZING.


I read the book.


I read the blog posts.


I followed them on social media.


I did the 12-week program.


I knew in my head what my body needed but I wasn’t ready to change BECAUSE ICING.


I tried going COLD TURKEY and failed every time. In fact, I noticed that ANY time I quit any thing cold turkey, I failed.


So, I tried something different: I did the opposite of what I usually do. I made a series of deals. Incremental baby steps that would slowly move me in the right direction over time.


DEAL #1: PICK THE LOW HANGING FRUIT


I changed the things that felt easy first.


Changing breakfast was HARD, but changing lunch? That was easy.


I hated my typical lunches: a Lean Cuisine or the 6” turkey subs on whole wheat bread from Subway with a bag of Baked Lays and a Diet Coke. I was HAPPY to do a Big Ass Salad with protein. Unlike the “Girl On A Diet” lunch from Subway, my salads kept me full for hours and I was more focused and productive.


Dinner? That was easy, too. I loved cooking and could easily throw together some kind of protein - chicken, turkey, steak, fish - with some veggies and a good complex carb like potatoes or brown rice.


Between meals? I found some protein bars that didn’t suck. I stocked the work fridge with things like Greek yogurt, apples, almond butter, and kept a bar of good Valrhona dark chocolate in my desk drawer for when I wanted something sweet mid-afternoon.


I left breakfast alone - “I’ll deal with you later” - and focused on getting the rest of my day in check. While my morning sugar-fest still caused some issues, I felt better overall and started seeing results based on the changes I WAS making.


These wins gave me momentum. I was doing the thing! I felt better! I looked better! Maybe…I could keep going and finally tackle breakfast?


DEAL #2 KEEP THE ICING-COVERED MUFFIN 2 DAYS A WEEK. EVERY OTHER MORNING, EAT BREAKFAST AT HOME.


Instead of one or the other, I did BOTH. I had some muffin mornings AND some mornings where I ate at home: protein oatmeal, a big slice of frittata with berries on the side, or a protein smoothie.


Was it perfect? NO.


Was it better? YES.


The End of An Era


One morning, it hit me:

“OMG this muffin is dry and disgusting. Why do I eat these nasty things? My homemade breakfasts taste so much better. UGH. I don’t even want this any more.”

And that was it. I was done. I went back a few more times just to be sure. YEP. Confirmed. Those low-fat icing-covered muffins were not only doing a number on my blood sugar, they were also just downright nasty.


But no one could tell me that or make me stop eating them.


I learned that the restriction, the rule, someone telling me “You can’t eat that,” only made me want the thing more.

Baby Steps: Slow & Steady Wins The Race


I changed my habits - and my entire lifestyle - in a way that isn’t sexy or “internet popular.”


I didn’t use a strict 30-day program.


I made my own rules.


I figured out what worked with my personality - not against it.


By gradually reducing the old habit and replacing it with a new habit, I made the transition to muffin-less mornings over a period of a couple months. Guess what? It still ended up faster than all the time I had wasted trying to go cold turkey and failing, then re-starting again.


I’ve used this same process to successfully change a number of habits:

  • To give up Caramel Macchiatos and stop putting sugar in my coffee.

  • To start daily walks.

  • To start lifting weights.

  • To increase my water intake.

  • To get more sleep.

  • To get out of debt and build my savings account.

Everything I’ve changed, I’ve changed gradually, by making a series of deals and focusing on how I FEEL when I do certain things.


When you realize you have the power to make yourself feel better simply by changing the food you eat, by moving your body and getting strong, by getting more sleep, by paying off debts - you WANT to do it more.


It’s like you allow the change happen from the inside out. You aren’t FORCING it. It becomes a feed-forward cycle.


When I shared this story yesterday in my Instagram stories, so many women responded and said, “THANK YOU! YES! I’m so tired of failing at changing and this gives me hope!”


And one woman wrote something that made me smile:

“Everyone has their icing-covered muffin.”

Are you tired of going COLD TURKEY - and failing every time? Okay then! BE DONE WITH IT!

Try another way. Steal my way if you like:) That’s why I wrote this post - to share it with you!


What’s ONE habit you want to commit to changing? How could you break it down into a series of “deals” and slowly let the change happen over time vs. forcing it to all happen right now? Hit me in the comments OR share it with me on social. I’ll be in your corner cheering you on. :)

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