Friday, March 07, 2014

Friday Fix... dis-concertedness

I've had this lying around my drafts folder for ages wondering whether or not to click publish and today I just thought 'why not?'....

Why is it that the advice that comes with new diets, new exercise strategies, new life style plans and so on never explains the biggest single likely drawback and probable cause of failure. What is this thing? Dis-concertedness - for which I want a better single word, so I shall do my best to explain a bit better using a few more words. When you have gathered together the motivation, the tools and perhaps even the items of shopping you start the grand scheme only to find that in the space of a few days to perhaps even weeks you will feel weird / dis-concerted within yourself.

Now this for some is fine and it doesn't bother them too greatly, but the issue is that many don't find they understand, so don't persist and then give up. The thing to 'know' is that you will feel 'odd' when you make such changes, and by 'odd' I don't mean ill (go to the doctors if you feel just plain ill). The feeling of oddness can be everything from a swimmy head lacking usual concentration span, to strange feelings in your stomach (bloating, emptiness, sudden looseness of bowel habit), and so forth. When you stop and consider what you are undertaking then of course you won't feel 'normal' during periods of huge change.

Take diet for example, likely your system will need to clear and at the same time adapt to the new food choices you've made. What is more comforting when your stomach is a little upside down than some of your favourite comforting foods? So you 'break' your diet and have one or two things your body 'knows' to settle you, and so begins the erosion of your new plan. Often it is not that the diet change didn't work because you were not mentally tough enough it is that your body nudged you into making that change of mind. I see it as a common sense type issue, change anything wholesale, or even sometimes fractionally, and often things don't work out immediately. 

Knowing that the changes in your diet and exercise plans may make you feel dis-concerted or dis-quieted within yourself better prepares you for when it arrives. Then if you do wind back some of the change (to put calories back in, or to reduce that 'over' long gym session), you are prepared to accept it might simply be slow adaptation that you are accommodating and not a total retrograde step you are taking.

Sleep can be a huge component, especially of exercise but also diet change, your body may rightly tell you "go to bed early please" because the taking in the change may need a parallel change in recovery and rest habits. I dropped caffeine and for a few days I was oddly tired before a few early nights and the finishing of the change in my physiology left me feel massively better (and happy to return to my old sleep pattern).

In essence you can't ask your body to change physiologically (for either better, or indeed worse) without there being a process of adaptation that will likely leave you feeling 'different' or 'dis-concerted' for a short period. Take it in give, yourself a chance and watch those changes stick. Oh, and if you can take things at a more measured pace you might just avoid this in the first place, but then who of us doesn't get very tempted by that massive change touted as "instant weight loss", "short-cut to race fitness", "ripped by summer" or other grand scheme?

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