A brand new year! 😀
I love that. Just go back and do what it says if you glossed over it. Now, how do you feel? Ahh, that’s better, right!? Imagine if you could remember to pause and just be for a few seconds here and there throughout your day? ♥ ♥ ♥
Happy New Year! January is that special month when a lot of us decide now is the time to get serious and make those healthy changes we’ve been putting off. If the fresh new year means another start to a diet that’s bound to fail (as diets tend to do), maybe you need to dig a little deeper and look at what is really keeping you from reaching your goals. Hint: It’s not that you haven’t found the perfect diet, it’s got a lot more to do with your daily habits and thought/belief patterns.
Understanding specifically what it is that is getting in your way is the key to change. If you don’t really think about what exactly is holding you back, then you tend to stay stuck, frustrated and powerless.
I’ve spent some time contemplating what sets apart my clients who reach (or are on the path to reaching) their goals from my clients who have a harder time. What I’ve found are 3 areas that come up again and again:
1. Food Planning and Preparation
This is a huge one that stifles all those good intentions of eating a healthier diet. Unless you are wealthy enough to hire a personal chef, there is no way around it. Meal planning and preparation is ongoing and yes, it takes some time and effort. Considering that we have to eat several times a day, every day, this means we have to be meal planning fairly often. Embrace it rather than fight it and know that it does not have to be a major time-consumer or the difficult task that you might envision.
There are so many convenient food options and shortcuts available that I think we often take for granted how truly lucky we are. Nearly everyone has a grocery store within a couple of miles with everything necessary to make a decent meal. Be thankful you don’t have to gut and clean your fish and meats like our ancestors did– do you ever consider how incredible it is that they come neatly packaged and ready to cook? Fruits and veggies are available pre-cut, spiralized and even riced to eliminate the time it takes to prepare them. And can you believe people once had to wash and chop up a head of lettuce? 😉
That being said, I will add that even with all these prepared foods, I still think it’s comforting and good for the soul to get into the kitchen as much as possible to chop, slice, dice, bake, experiment, taste and connect to our food more. Food preparation doesn’t have to be a stressful, hectic event. It can be meditative if you let it. Doing the dishes and cleaning up is a perfect time to focus on your breath, slow down and reconnect with yourself.
I understand some schedules make it almost impossible to dedicate much time for cooking at home– but if you decide you want to make it a priority it can certainly be accomplished.
2. Mindset/Knowing Your “Why”
Mindset has practically everything to do with success. I am a firm believer of: ‘You can have anything you want if you put your mind to it.’ But you have to want it more than you want to stay where you are now, as comfortable as your current zone may be. You also have to clearly understand WHY you want to make changes– you need to see the benefit.
Because changes ARE going to take effort! You have to see and believe that the result is worth the work and energy. And oddly enough, once you put the “work” and “energy” into action you realize that they actually aren’t the horrible work and energy you imagined and feared. Find the meaning behind what you’re doing and everything flows more naturally.
You also need to keep that “why” flame burning consistently. Sure, it’ll go out periodically where you’ll say what the hell and indulge in a night of pizza and ice cream. No biggie. What will make you successful is you’ll know that it’s OK, you won’t worry about it and you’ll move on. The next day you’ll be back to your healthy habits, reminding yourself of the person you want to be and how that type of person eats and lives. Remember, perfection is not the goal. A balanced diet can most definitely include sweets and splurges!
3. Connection to Your Body (and Befriending it!)
Listening to your body can be a really tough one. But I promise it gets easier with practice. A lot of the challenge has to do with the fact that our bodies tend to crave the foods that we’re used to eating and when we’re used to eating them. We often eat out of habit and on autopilot and this can translate into eating low-nutrient foods and much more than we need. Sometimes we need to introduce new (more nutritious) foods to our body. Sometimes we need to learn to distinguish between true, physical hunger and eating for other reasons.
Connecting with your body means checking in with yourself throughout the day to see how you feel– hungry? getting hungry? fine for another couple of hours? Come to know which foods and what amounts you need to satisfy you. Also, pay attention to which foods make you feel good as well as which make you feel not so great. Everyone is different. Be able to predict when you’ll need to eat again and plan for it. This will help you avoid getting to that point when you are downright ravenous– because you know what happens.
Connecting with your body also means figuring out what you need in place of food when you’re not hungry. Instead of poking through the fridge when you know you don’t physically need food, ask yourself what it is that you do need. Emotional eating is turning to food to feel better. If you struggle with this, pause before eating and ask yourself “Am I really hungry right now?” If not, the next question is to ask “What is it I need to do to feel better?” Eventually you will learn that eating to soothe yourself is not usually helpful and there are more appropriate and healthier ways you can handle those uncomfortable feelings that won’t contribute to weight gain. Not to mention, this is how you grow as a human being– by allowing yourself to feel and process your emotions instead of pushing them down with food.
Connecting with your body means eating what works for YOU. Doing the standard “diet” thing like eating a 3 oz chicken breast, 1 cup of steamed broccoli and a half cup of brown rice actually doesn’t work for a lot of people. Following a meal plan from the internet or a magazine really doesn’t last long for anybody, except maybe the person who made it up. “Just tell me what to eat” isn’t tuning in to your body at all. Instead of listening to external messages about what your body needs, I teach my clients to do more inward connecting to learn which foods make them feel their best.
Along with connecting, you also must stop the war with your body and start a friendship. I know, easier said than done, right?! But…this can be a huge breakthrough and it’s absolutely necessary. Understand that you’re not going to see change until you begin working on self-acceptance and self-love. I’m not saying you have to immediately fall in love with your thighs but begin with a bit of compassion and gratitude in place of any self-loathing thoughts. Start simply with being a bit kinder to yourself (and others!)
Do any of these resonate with you? While unfortunately I can’t be there to prepare your meals, we can have a conversation together to help you figure out what is important to you in your life to help inspire the motivation for making lifestyle changes. I can help you come up with some super-convenient, easy and healthy meal options if you need them. I can also assess your eating habits to help you figure out what you may be eating (or not eating) that isn’t working for you and suggest alternatives. It can be overwhelming to make changes alone– having someone on your side who is not there to judge you, but to guide and support you can be enormously beneficial to your success.
“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Hoping to see you in 2018,