If you’ve been listening to The Healthification podcast for any period of time (thank you!) I think you may have noticed, I’m a bit of a rules girl. As long as I set them myself.
Having rules or standards as I prefer to call them just makes the daily decision making process easier.
I actually find it freeing. I love that I no longer waste time with the exhausting self negotiation that used to happen before I was clear on my standards.
In today’s show let’s get our acronym on and discuss:
11 P.L.A.N.T. S.T.R.O.N.G. Standards For A Fit, Healthy, Mind and Body and also why high standards can be an excuse.
It’s a fine line to walk between standards that are effective in guiding you to make the best decisions and impossible standards which are just an excuse and in fact more like NO standards.
If you set your standards to a level that you can’t possibly be expected to meet them it’s the perfect excuse to not even try.
I see this with the person looking for the perfect healthy takeaway – that often doesn’t exist – so she resorts to a burger and chips or pizza instead. She’s flown straight from impossible standards to ZERO STANDARDS.
Or the guy looking for the ideal training program to slot perfectly into his schedule – that will never happen – so he never makes a start and never makes any progress. His current standards are not high they are non existent.
I’m sharing my 11 P.L.A.N.T. S.T.R.O.N.G. Standards with you today not because they are the only way. They are certainly effective for me, however your personal standards will need to account for the following 3 keys specific to YOU:
Key 1. They will be aligned to your goal. So by that I mean, dependent on the size of your goal and how quickly you want to achieve it or how much effort is required to maintain it, your standards may be more or less extreme than mine.
Key 2. They will be aligned with your core values and beliefs. Your values guide your decisions in that they are the states you are naturally drawn to and seek out both consciously and also subconsciously. So for example: Freedom, Integrity and Passion.
The other driving factor behind your actions are your beliefs – I covered them in show #006 if you want to check it out – however the important factor is when setting standards, for them to stick they will need to feel congruent with (rather than in conflict with) the beliefs you have about yourself. Perhaps that you are a Genuine, Trustworthy and Family focused person.
Key 3. They will need to allow room for fun, indulgence, VICE. However you like to view it. For sustainably and life enjoyment your standards need this little area of chillaxing the rules with volition!
A couple of other considerations:
One: Standards are non-negotiables. That’s the whole point. There is no room for wishy washy sometimes-standards. That would give you frustrating, self belief eroding NO-times results.
Two: Your Standards are yours alone and with regard to others this is a judgement free zone.
I find this one tough. I absolutely still need to work on it. Like when someone who doesn’t know me offers me a cigarette and I find the mere thought they would even offer so offensive that they feel bad about their personal choice to smoke.
Let’s say I absolutely don’t have a poker face!
Ok, let’s roll with these P.L.A.N.T S.T.R.O.N.G Standards For A Fit, Healthy, Mind and Body.
- Prioritise a diverse range of whole plant foods. Veg, fruit, nuts, seeds, legumes and grains… there’s so much deliciousness to choose from and the surprising thing is if you prioritise building your meals around natural, one ingredient foods, odds on you’ll find yourself eating a far greater variety than when you ate animal products.
That has absolutely been my experience. More variety, larger more colourful, nutrient dense meals without that sickly, stuffed feeling after eating. If you really don’t know where to start I cover some easy vegan recipe templates in show E549. So for example: Easy Vegan Breakfast Recipe Template: Leafy Greens + Beans + Avo.
- That might look like, wilted spinach and / or kale with chilli bean mix made on mass + sliced avo. Optional: 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast, fresh coriander to top.
- Or, scrambled chickpeas with spinach + sliced avo. I flavour my chickpeas with: red onion, red capsicum, garlic powder, cumin, cayenne, smoked paprika, turmeric, coriander, salt and pepper and cook with coconut oil.
- Or, scrambled tofu (soy beans!) with bok choy + sliced avo (or cashews for a change). I flavour my tofu similar to the chickpeas and use sesame oil for a change.
Check out show E549 for the Lunch Recipe Template examples: Cruciferous Veg + Grains + Seeds and also the Dinner Recipe Template examples: Stuff-a-ble Veg + Beans + Nuts.
- Lift heavy weights. I currently lift 4 times per week and believe it’s the most vital component of any goal centred around body composition. Lifting weights lets you burn fat, choose your curves and build a cranking metabolism.
If you hate weights that’s cool. Find the form of structured exercise that you can work into a non-negotiable training routine. Treat it like an important appointment with yourself that deserves a spot on your calendar. Whatever your form of structured exercise (incidental gets a shout out soon) you really must lock and load it into your routine – set day and set time – or else it’ll fall victim to your powers of reasoning “Will I, won’t I?” and you’ll end up reasoning yourself right out of results! If your working routine changes each week simply decide on where exactly you’ll slot in your structured exercise when you get your roster before the week starts.
- Avoid low value inputs. Absolutely I mean processed crap-o-la food however also negative inputs for your mind. I think most of us are super aware of the danger of low value food inputs so far as gaining weight, sapping energy and perpetuating the cycle by addicting us to their cleverly crafted perfect balance of salt, sugar and fat.
However what about the mind food we’re also gorging on? I’m becoming increasingly protective of “who” I spend my social media feed, Netflix and podcast listening time with. There’s a time and a place for enjoying information purely for pleasure however it’s worth noticing how you feel after consuming that information. True crime is an addictive example that I’m moving away from. It’s fascinating, however overall it certainly does not make me a happier, more effective person!
- Never be swayed by peer pressure / social inconvenience. Normal in todays society is unfit, unhealthy and sadly stuck in the indoctrination that it’s normal, necessary and natural to eat the flesh and excretions of other living beings. If that’s not what you want then you’re going to have to get good at out-planning inconvenience and at times being the odd one out.
I’ve been thinking about the potential inconvenience you cause asking for an adjustment to a menu a lot recently. I’m firmly on the side of please ask away! Animal agriculture survives due to consumer demand so absolutely it’s our responsibility as vegans to demand (politely and with respect) a proper alternative when dining out. We’re showing the restaurants we want more than a side salad and fries or a lamb and haloumi salad minus the lamb and haloumi.
- Travel by foot wherever possible. This is my way of escaping boring cardio. I find it much more preferable to just walk more – like our ancestors used to – than to punish myself with machine cardio or to spend hours stuck in traffic or at the mercy of public transport.
I appreciate not everyone has the luxury of being able to walk to and from work like I do. However do you know, that luxury was born from my poor eyesight which means I’ve never been able to drive. It’s meant I’ve always chosen to pay much more in rent so that I could walk to work. My point is there’s always a choice. It might be getting up half an hour earlier to walk some of the way or ditching an evening Netflix habit to get in an evening walk. If you knees don’t love walking it might mean cycling instead.
- Sleep. I genuinely believe it’s impossible to create a Fit, Healthy, Mind, Body and Life if you don’t prioritise quality sleep. Of course there are seasons and especially for parents you could have a long season of poor sleep, however in most circumstances for most of us there are improvements we can make to our sleeping routine.
If you’re not in control of the un-interrupted hours (or lack thereof!) that you get to sleep focus on what you are in control of. That’s minimising screen time before bed, no devices in bed, the right temperature and the darkness – even if you have to wear an eye mask as I do. This is all especially important if fat loss is part of your goal. Your sleep deprived body is in survival mode and survival certainly does not mean “giving up” precious fat stores. Equally, as I experienced just this weekend, if you haven’t had enough sleep your body tells you you need energy. You know, quick UN-fix, sugar energy! You’ve craving that crap-o-la and really what your body really needs is some rest.
- Time in nature. This might be different for you. Perhaps “Time with loved ones” or “Time alone” resonates more? I need both of these too, however the point of this standard is to identify that thing you need regularly (at least weekly) to stay functioning effectively and happily. Like sleep, time in nature for me is a standard that when prioritised just makes everything else so much easier.
Conversely, when I’ve left myself get too caught up in the daily trudge of city life I become moody and less grateful. Actually I can become a bit of a brat and much more inclined to ditch my other standards like all those we’ve covered so far. My recommendation here is to have the self awareness to know what that habit or standard it is for you that helps keep you in the mental state where you’re inclined to take the actions to create a fit, healthy, mind, body and life.
- Reframe negative / limiting thoughts. We’re digging in deeper with the notion of controlling your mental state here. The reframe is my favourite mind game to play with yourself where basically you reframe a situation to either see the positive or make it more likely that you’ll take the desired action.
It’s aligned with the fact that although you can’t always control the events that happen to you, you can always control your response. The 5 second rule is a way to make your reframes swift. It’s been popularised by Mel Robbins and is as simple as it sounds. You have a negative / limiting thought and you have 5-4-3-2-1 seconds to reframe it to your advantage. So a few common reframes I call on regularly:
- Bad weather when I’m due to walk home from work is just an opportunity to prove how committed to my goal I am.
- No vegan options at a restaurant is a chance to get creative pulling vegan bits from the existing menu items and politely ask the chef / waiter to accommodate me.
- A disappointing interaction with a non-vegan client is a prompt to better understand where they were coming from and how I can handle a similar situation better next time.
- Organise meals including treats / vices. I believe any unsupportive food situation can be out-planned. It’s just a matter of deciding it’s a priority and making the time (in advance!) to come up with your own quick, tasty and cost effective solutions.
Some of your meal organising options include:
- Meal prep. Whether this is a structured few hours each weekend or just whenever you find yourself in the kitchen always prepare multiple meals at a time.
- Food prep. A little more chill than preparing full meals and better for the guidelines eater who has no clue what she’ll feel like eating tomorrow!It might involve making baked sweet potatoes on mass or even a whole tray of varying baked veg. Plus a batch of your fav grain and perhaps a batch of your fav “make anything awesome” sauce.
- Hunt down your simple, local “Go to” bought meals. Those meals you can turn to on auto-pilot when you find yourself working late or partying late when you had expected to make it home for dinner.
So far as vices? I’m a huge fan and I recommend working them into your week. Most of us do need guidelines so maybe it’s a set number of drinks / serves of chocolate spread over a whole week. Or perhaps you respond better to knowing there is one day each week where anything goes? Again self awareness is key and to build your self awareness take the time to look back on what has and what hasn’t been effective for you in the past?
- Never start making excuses because where would I stop. This is my fav of all these P.L.A.N.T. S.T.R.O.N.G. standards. Excuses build on each and eat away at your belief in you. The easiest approach is to simply not start with those excuses that have previously held you back.
A key distinction to make with this zero excuses approach is it comes from an intention to work with my body (your body) as a team not from a constant battle based “beat your body” into submission mindset. I believe most of us know the difference between the convenient excuse we choose to let ourselves off the hook (and reason ourselves out of results) and the less common genuine instance where it’s not merely an “excuse” yet rather the only wise choice.
If you’re not certain, a useful question is: “How will I feel after the action?” If you know you’ll feel better / it’s for the greater good after that action then this is not the time to give in to your excuses!
- Gratitude. Gratitude is like a force multiple, for better or worse. Like sleep and time in nature, gratitude is a standard that when prioritisd just makes everything else so much easier.
When you’re grateful that you get to eat a diverse range of whole plant foods and that there’s so much deliciousness to choose from then it’s easy to keep making those nutritious choices. When you’re grateful that you get to lift heavy weights or whatever your form of structured exercise is then working it into your non-negotiable training routine is a pleasure not a punish.
There’s a secret hidden benefit to gratitude. When you feel gratitude, neurologically you cannot also feel fear. In short, the more gratitude you cultivate the less fear you experience. The reverse is also true. I know I hugely privileged gent who is equally the least grateful and the most fearful person I’ve met in my life. He is not grateful for the huge’est things or the smallest things… from the multiple 5 star overseas holidays each year to the fact that his whole family are safe and healthy. Actually they’re both huge however you get what I mean! UN-funly he also feels fearful of the tiniest things: “A random person in the street sneezed – do you think I’ll get sick?” “I had a negative thought – do you think it’s making my heart weaker?” Sadly, I’m not even exaggerating here.
As mentioned up the top of the show I’m sharing my standards, not because they are the only way to do it however hopefully to inspire you to come up with your own standards.
I have a couple of recommendations to get actionable today. If you like the sound of my P.L.A.N.T. S.T.R.O.N.G. standards – the acronyms cool right – then which is ONE you could work into your routine?
Again, if I had to pick a favourite it’d be #10. Never start making excuses because where would I stop. What is the reoccurring excuse in relation to your health that you’re sick of hearing from YOU? Click To Tweet I actually believe there are a couple of ways to tackle reoccurring excuses:
One: To admit it’s really not that important to you and funnel your energy elsewhere. Not that important – at least not right now – because you can always change your mind and come back to it.
Two: To admit just how important it is to you and stop wasting your time kidding yourself that your excuse is valid… and Yes, just do it.
Second / alternate getting actionable recommendation, is to come up with your own standards that are effective in guiding you to make the best decisions.
That’s it for today in Healthification.
I do have a quick important request though after a week of such gorgeously amazing feedback on this little show. It’s been a week of FABULOUS make my month (!) feedback and zero iTunes reviews. It seems the review process isn’t so user friendly! So if you’re one of my super dear listeners who would like to leave a review and make my week – oh, and also help push the show out of the MASS of 700,000 active podcasts so that more people discover it here’s the easy way to review if you’re not listening in iTunes at your laptop or via the E641 show notes at strongbodygreenplanet.com.
If you’re listening inside the podcast app on your phone. In the podcast library you get the choice to view all your different podcasts as either a list of “Shows” “Episodes” or “Downloaded episodes.” I find it’s easiest to choose The Healthification Podcast from within the “Shows.” When you tap on it “my episodes” will display from most recent and if you scroll down to the bottom (it’s not far – not all 641 episodes display!) it shows you the “Ratings and Reviews” box which gives you the 1 second choice to just hit 5 stars (thank you!) or the 30 second choice to tap “Write a review” and get connected quickly straight to a page to do that (HUGE thank you).
The Healthification podcast is proudly bought to you by my FREE ‘Easy Vegan’ plan, running LIVE again this month! It took me 25 years to transition from a meat eater to a happy, healthy Vegan! You can do it in just 3 days with my simplified ‘easy vegan’ plan! Get the fit, strong, and healthy plant based body you deserve… while avoiding ALL the mistakes I made along the way!
Till next time, remember Creating a body and life you love is Freedom. (If this ex-carb queen, non genetically gifted, naturally uncoordinated vegan chick can do it – so can YOU!!!)
If you liked “11 P.L.A.N.T. S.T.R.O.N.G. Standards For A Fit, Healthy, Mind and Body” you’ll also like 5 Fat Loss Myths Sold To Women and What To Do Instead.
If you liked these Standards For A Fit Healthy Mind and Body you’ll also like E569: Vegan Foodies: 6 Steps To Prevent Weight Gain Over Christmas and New Year (Part 1).