A major mishap of mine both now and prior to me making changes and progress long term last time was planning at key times…
Poor planning midday, so I would finish a workout or work and would be lost for what to eat or would fail to plan something healthy and in good amounts and at intervals, so this would set me up to sit done for lunch not knowing when or what I was going to eat next. Thus I’d end up overrating, feeling rushed or frazzled, or make less than optimal choices. I turned this around when I began logging what I ate for a school habit behavior change project. We were to choose a goal or outcome and go through the steps then actions to reach the goal throughout the semester.
Now, I said before I don’t like asking for help, BUT knowing that my teacher was going to be reading my log weekly didn’t make me feel at ease of having to slip up or make poor choices anymore. See, I always wanted and still do, to be a great example for others to live by, and in order to do that I had to take care of myself. If I wouldn’t tell my clients or friends to eat how I was previously or workout in a such way, than why would I be doing it to myself? So this project kept me accountable to myself.
Though I had many healthy habits already, I was ready to scrap the rest and now was the time, I had nothing to lose.
One of the biggest things I began doing was spreading out my meals and preparing food ahead of time.
I would plot out approx when I would eat during the day and would prepare and carry with me numerous small meals and snacks. When I was tempted to eat more for say lunch, I would remind myself I had a delicious meal coming only a few hours later.
Noting how I felt energy and hunger wise, before and during my meals, helped me figure out what foods provided me more energy and satiety. It brought a lot more mindfulness to my daily life.
And I began to break my plateaus! There were definitely times that I struggled and wanted to give in, or felt tired, or frustrated by the speed of results, but instead I decided to do it anyway, on autopilot sometimes, and it paid of greatly.
I came out of the class learning a lot about myself, but also about behavior change, planning, and was highly motivated to continue on my new healthy path. I felt so amazing I wanted to share my joy with everyone! Family, friends, coworkers, you name it!
Fast forward a few semesters to my psychology of eating class, and we studied and practiced various ways to eat mindfully. By listening to our bodies, physically (hunger and fullness) and mentally (stress emotions) I was able to bring another aspect of healthy eating into my lifestyle.
We went through a book on mindful eating which required us to practice certain tasks at the end of each chapter. One of them entailed us to choose a past time comfort food, and to sit down with it noticing and observing our mental thoughts, emotions, physical hunger, or negative thoughts that came up; I chose a Croissant, and after slowly consuming it I realized that I got bored with it quickly, that the bigger comfort was the memory of my mom or dad buying them on weekend mornings.
So some take home points, make a project or plan out of reaching your goal. Be specific and follow through with what you plan, even if sometimes you feel like giving in or going on autopilot, you will only see if you like it in the future if you stick with it in the present. Incorporate mindfulness tactics. Have something or someone to be accountable to, so that you feel that you don’t want to let yourself down, by having to tell or write that you didn’t follow through with your plan. And finally, don’t be afraid, or at the very least allow fear, but grab it by its horns and pull it down before you’re taken down by it! Push on forward, just do it! 🙂