I know… I hate to even remind everyone. Resolutions suck. They are a set up. A big high and let down. A way that we can slap ourselves to death for failing at yet one more thing.
If you feel this way, no worries… you are probably on the right path then. How can you make huge changes, well intentioned as they may be, without having set yourself up properly for months before hand? How in the world can huge changes be made (that last) form one day to the next without some groundwork being laid out here?
That’s why I am all about the simple small changes. The changes that are done quietly, alone. The ones that turn your treadmill from a 6 to a 7. The ones that have you sub in gluten free pasta for regular. The ones that suggest restaurants that offer salads on their menu rather then the crappy ones that you will most definitely cheat in! Those are the changes are the ones that make a healthier lifestyle attainable. They are the decisions that are made in a “transition period” and that is what I am advocating for.
Before we celebrate that we have done it, we need to know HOW to do it, right? And, most of us don’t. We don’t know how to plan. We don’t know how to do it. Oh sure, we know what NOT to do. We know how to restrict, restrain, white knuckle, punish and hate ourselves, but most don’t know what to have in the refrigerator for a spontaneous meal or what to take for a snack.
What I am suggesting is that instead of thinking you will be perfect and go “Straight” this year by completely going off gluten, dairy and sugar and win the award for being the Queen of Discipline, that you rather go for the small “doable” changes. Set expectations, know some things that you have to do.
Look, whatever you are doing now, it is not working. You wouldn’t be reading this blog if it was!! So, do yourself a favor, know that this is going to take some investigating and self searching. Go beyond the thought of “I did that already.” Try again, do it differently and have a beginner’s mind. If you hate shopping, hate the taste of vegetables, hate smoothies, don’t want to wash and chop or any twist on the above suggestions, just know that you might have to try again, change it up and go slower.
The following are things I am thinking that would really, really help in making a transition towards having the life beyond our wildest dreams.
Start each morning with a plan – know what you are going to eat that day ahead of time, this is especially true when you start out. Mornings are key here as they are the foundation for the rest of the day. Most of us know that once a cheat occurs the whole day goes to pot, so staying with your plan is especially important in the morning.
Expect to grocery shop 2x a week – Look this plan does NOT do itself. Eating plant based or including more whole foods in your plan means you must put in some leg work. It won’t happen by itself. Oh do I so wish I could wave my magic wand and make this simpler, but as hard as I have tried, I can not. Get yourself to the market!!!
Journal – Journal your plan, journal your food, journal your workout, your feelings, everything. You will need a place where you can dump. It will be a great idea to collect data. Be non judgmental and look at the data. Really look at your journal like a scientist. Note what works and what does not. Journal your symptoms like hunger, tired, reddish eyes, dry skin patches. This is key to your healing. Knowing when the depression comes is the first step towards learning how to treat it. When I was first starting out, I journaled food and was totally anal about it. I was always hungry and knew I needed to get to the bottom of why that was. How could it be that I would eat a meal and come home and need another meal? Or, why was it that sometimes when I ate a large meal, I still needed to top it off with more food, mostly sweet? It was only by journaling that I figured this out. What I figured out was simple but life changing. For me, when I had eggs at lunch, I was not as satisfied as when I had chicken or fish. That was a totally different way of looking at food.
Know when you are stressed or having resistance. Sound easy? Oh but it is not my little grasshoppers. If you are at a function, and you find yourself knee deep in the cheese plate after swearing off cheese, something is going on! Check in with yourself. Don’t do anything just yet, but at least note when you are tense. Most of us are shocked to find out that even happy occasions like a birthday party or reunion bring up these low levels of stress that are enough to throw you off your game. Knowing that you don’t want to be somewhere, or that you are uncomfortable will allow yourself to get in touch with that feeling rather then touching the cheese plate!! And, which one do you think is more effective towards attaining your goals?
Keep your goals in the forefront. This could be a vision board, a simple saying on your desk, or a picture on your refrigerator. Any way you do it, know that you MUST connect with this goal daily if not a hundred times during the day. Feeling what you will feel when you attain it is key. It is sooo easy for one to say, I will start tomorrow or Monday or whenever. Knowing that each minute counts, that we are making choices each minute, might make a different.
Do something different with your fumbles. If you are one of those people that cave at office parties, or eat a ton of break at a restaurant, or go crazy eating 2 bags of family sized Dorito’s then do something different. I am not referring to white knuckling here, I am referring to a change in behavior. If one of those things is true, consider these as a way to jump start some ideas for yourself……….
-go to your office party with hummus and cut carrots
-have organic corn chips on hand and salsa
-Research some restaurants that have healthy and yummy choices on their menu
Observe your reactions to refined foods. For sure, this does not work if all you are eating is refined food, so if this is the case, skip this one!! See what happens after you eat the canned soup, crackers and spread, frozen meal or pouched ingredients to top of your chicken. Are you hungry one hour after eating them? Do you need to have something sweet after the last bite you took? Are you bloated? Gassy? Tired? These are all things to write in your journal and take note of.
Refine and Reduce. If you can’t throw things away, then just put all of the stuff you don’t use daily in another cupboard. Make your kitchen simple and easy to get around. If you find you are opening a drawer and having to push things away and move things around to get to that spatula, you might have too much stuff!! If you can’t get to the sea salt because there is an old bottle of crystalized honey, a jam jar and some old spices in the way, that is not fun. Get yourself a good, sharp knife, a great wooden large cutting board, new Tupperware or glass wear with matching lids, a couple good pots and you are good to go.
I am sure you can come up with your own, but here is a start. Just start. If you are on a roll, keep going. If you are up against a hard spot, keep pressing, or back off for a little bit then press again. I have been on this journey for years, continuing to refine day by day. I can not say that I am perfect, but I am light years from where I started. I wish the same for you too.
Looking for some more nutritional suggestions? Contact me today and let’s talk!