“Slow and steady wins the race,” “quality vs. quantity,” “good things happen to those who wait.”
The concept of ‘wait and you shall receive’ isn’t just something said to make you feel better about not getting instant gratification.
We’re all about reaching our goals as soon as possible, but don’t wish away the journey. If you struggle with slow and steady nutritional progress and wish things would just speed the heck up, here are some reasons to be proud of taking a patient approach.
Reaching Homeostasis Is Slow.
Whether you’re cutting, maintaining or bulking, your body wants homeostasis. This means your body is trying to find what is ‘normal’ and that takes time.
Here’s an example using weight loss. If you lose body fat by spending enough time steadily losing and then maintaining, while eating nutritious food, your body will have adequate time and resources to accept this weight loss as its new homeostasis. Slowly, you can increase your food intake and the same thing happens. Your body learns how to efficiently stay where you put it.
Trying to move too fast with restrictive behavior and erratic eating habits can confuse the system.
Helping your body to achieve long term goals by taking the gradual way will also pay off in the long term. I like to think of it like this: just as your body will resist losing weight, your body can resist gaining it back, too. That’s because that extra gain goes against your body's current homeostasis. So, as long as you don’t fall into really poor eating habits, gaining should be theoretically as challenging as losing.
Habits Don’t Happen Instantly.
Everyone has habits. Some we would like to maintain, others are harder to kick (especially if they’ve been built over an extended amount of time).
If you eat lots of sugar and regularly drink alcohol but want to make a change and get healthier, newsflash: it won’t happen overnight. You’re going to have to work off those habits so that they stay off in the near and far future. Many people have a mindset of returning to these habits once they reach their goal, thinking they will maintain their progress. For those people, results typically don’t last very long and all progress comes to a halt.
If you’re not taking it slow and getting used to your new eating habits, developing a taste for nutritious foods and a distaste for the unhealthy, then you’re not going to develop lifelong habits that help you maintain good nutrition and body composition.
You Miss out on Light Bulb Moments.
Team WAG coach Ashley recently shared this gem in a team meeting:
“Physical progress generally follows mental progress, and this happens at different times for everyone. It is like teaching, not every student will "get it" at the same time. Some students may need a different experience, words, visuals, transitions or to hear it one hundred and one times to have that light bulb moment. Light bulb moments lead to ingrained experiences that are helpful in making it their own. Learning is messy.”
Honestly, rushing through anything in life means you probably didn’t do a very good job or truly learn.
Don’t Rush Into a Relationship.
After only one date, you wouldn’t agree to marry and move in with a total stranger. I mean, it has happened before but for most of us it takes time to get to know someone — to understand how you feel, act and what your life is like with that person in it. It is a seriously huge decision. I would honestly put your eating and lifestyle habits on par with the person you marry. You need to take the time to understand them, get to know them and accept them wholeheartedly into your life.
There Actually Is No Finish Line.
Your body never stops changing and you never stop learning about yourself.
There is no one size fits all template for your nutrition. If there was, Working Against Gravity wouldn’t need coaches, we would just send you a template.
What works for you and your body now may change next year, month or week. Be patient and learn what works best for you. Spend time acquiring the skills needed to make adjustments to your eating habits and lifestyle in order to continue getting better.
If you rush the process, what was the point of all of this anyway?