“I can eat whatever I want today, my diet starts on Monday.”
“I’ll start my new diet and workout routine on Monday.”
“It’s fine that I eat this, I’m starting a cleanse in two weeks.”
“I’m not doing anything today. My training starts on Monday.”
Sense a theme here?
So often when I talk with clients, friends, and people in passing (like the checkout girl at the mall), they throw in these statements. The idea that they have a free pass to eat whatever they want and be as immobile as they want because they have a new diet or training plan that starts on a Monday – either the one coming up, or one in a few weeks.
My question is: Why are you waiting until Monday (or some other randomized date) to take action for your health?
While I understand and support that having a specific start date to new routines helps compartmentalize things in our brains, keeps us organized, and gives us a focus, giving yourself permission to eat poorly for your body just does not work. It makes starting a new plan on Monday that much harder to execute and stick to in addition to taking longer to lose weight.
If you have really been indulging yourself in preparation for the all-glorified Monday, you are going to experience a few things during that first week of your diet that will make it even harder for you to stick to the plan. For instance: Your body is going to go into a bit of shock with your new diet. This looks like sugar-crashing, fatigue, bloating, unusual bathroom habits, mental fuzziness, and decreased concentration. This will dissipate and be replaced by all the opposites once your body adjusts, but you might find yourself struggling to get through that first week because of how poorly you feel even though you are eating nutritionally rich foods.
Not only will you feel bad, but you are giving yourself a tougher hurdle to cross in terms of weight loss. Whenever you signed up for the new diet, you picked a date to start (or a Health Coach picked it for you). On the day you signed up, you were at a certain weight with a specific goal, typically of weight loss. After you spent the past week or two indulging yourself in preparation for the start of your new plan, you consumed more calories than you probably would have, thus giving yourself a higher starting weight (even if only by a pound or two) to lose. You have set yourself back before you have even begun.
Sure, you might be waiting for a Monday to start your new diet or training plan, but that does not mean you can have a free pass to food and lack of movement until that Monday arrives. A few things you can do to ensure your system is not shocked when your new plan starts include:
Hydrate. The positive effects of hydration take a few days to kick in. Give yourself a leg up by staying hydrated now, so your body has what it needs to function efficiently when you begin your plan.
Take Small Steps. You do not have to do anything radical while you wait for your Monday, but you can do a few things to feel good in your skin and keep your body happy during your every day life.
Be active. Do not just sit on the couch, or never leave your desk, simply because you know your upcoming workout plan is going to be a butt-kicker. Your body will respond so much better if you give it a fitness base to begin with even if it is just a 30 minute walk. Plus, you will see faster gains.
Eat well. This means you are not eating anything you want anytime it is offered, but continuing to make smart decisions for your body’s wellbeing. If you know you are having dessert after dinner, skip the dessert after lunch. If there are donuts in the break room in the morning, but you have already had breakfast at home, leave them there.
Journal. When you hit your specific Monday, your mind is going to play some tricky games with you as you move through the initial first weeks. Journal how you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally before you begin your new diet/training plan and continue with that journal as you start your new diet/training plan. When you find yourself not reaching your goals, refer to how you felt before you started the plan and how you feel on the plan (especially after a week or two). You will be extra motivated to not let yourself get back to the pre-Monday state of things.
Avoiding Monday syndrome is especially important as we move into and through the holiday season. So many of us will wait until January 1 (which happens to be a Monday this year) to reverse the weight gain, sugar intake, and fitness loss we obtained over the holidays. Do not fall into that health hole and start your 5 Week Health & Fitness Plan now! Not only will you receive daily workouts combing strength, core, and interval cardio, but you have a weekly nutrition focus to help you create diet habits, and a daily mindset question so you can become clearly aligned with your goals and motivations.
Head here to learn more about the 5 Week Health & Fitness Plan.
Do you wait for Mondays? Why?1