You’ve been saying it for a long time “I want to lose weight” or “I’m tired of being heavy and out of shape” or “I want to be healthier, and vibrant.” Finally the day comes when you have set yourself up with a healthy nutrition plan and you have DECIDED to make a change in your life. Good for you. Part one accomplished. Now the follow through.
Your plan is to lose 20lbs over 4 months by working out at the gym 3-4 times a week, cutting out your mochaccino, and making healthier nutritional choices according to your new nutrition plan. You are cutting the high calorie processed snacks and are determined to make it happen this time. You feel tired, sluggish, unhealthy and run down. You have decided it’s time to change.
You are on a high with your new decision. You have stocked your fridge with fresh vegetables and fruit, and have some of the recommended recipes out on the counter to make in bulk for the week. You have your water bottle filled and refilled throughout the day. Your snacks are packed along with your lunch. YES! You are DOING THIS. (enter pat on the back here!)
But as the first week passes you start to realize that THIS IS HARD. And it takes time and effort. You find yourself daydreaming about the foods you have cut from your diet and wanting them….fixating on having them. You think about how good it will taste and see yourself smiling,… bliss. The mental conversation begins. “This doesn’t feel as good now, as it did last week.” “Why am I denying myself those high calorie mochacinnos and cookies and ice cream? I don’t feel very good about this. I think about them all the time. It’s what I want. Shouldn’t I just eat what I want?”
You run the scenario in your head of having the ice cream and how you will feel. You are so preoccupied with how good going back to your old ways of eating will feel that you have magically forgotten why you MADE THIS DECISION in the first place! Remember? Because you felt TERRIBLE, sluggish, tired, and unhappy with yourself, your energy and your body!
You have become so fixated with your mental dialogue that you have stopped keeping your best interests in mind; your health and your mood; which you dearly wanted to improve upon. Eventually, you crack. You can no longer resist the imagined good feelings associated with this ice cream. Forget this!!!! You go ahead and just have it! And for that moment you feel this satisfaction. You are on a high…..temporarily. Then you start to question your decision, but you talk yourself out of it and continue eating what you WANT. Until you start to feel bad about this TOO. Now you have let yourself down and given up. And you feel worse than you did before you even started your new plan. You didn’t stick with your decision and support it. How could you, you were fixated on what you were not getting, rather than your NEW decision and it’s new behavior.
It’s important when we make a decision to focus on THE DECISION MADE and the new behavior. In this case the focus is on the healthy choices and how they will improve your health and weight and mood. In turn you will not be miserable, tired and grumpy. If you keep on thinking about what you are NOT having, you are bound to get sucked back into having it. If you go back on your decision you will not become happy going back to what had you miserable before? Right? Read that again. If you go BACK on your decision, you will NOT become happy going back to what had your miserable before. Perhaps thinking about this logically in advance can help you in the process of change. NO MATTER WHAT YOU ARE CHANGING IN YOUR LIFE. Be prepared for the moment to come when you question yourself.
Many people run through a dialogue in their minds that they should not “deny” themselves anything in this life. And so being firm when making a decision renders itself quite difficult when faced with a short term reaction to a food in this situation. Until you change your frame of thinking about the decision you have made, when push comes to shove and you allow your mind to fixate, you will likely eventually fall into the craving. On the other hand if you can really stick to the knowledge that what will be difficult in the SHORT TERM will serve you well in the long term, when the craving comes you will stay firm and realize this isn’t about “self denial,” rather this is about creating a healthier body that you will feel proud of and you will feel better living in because it will be full of energy!
I truly believe once you make a decision to change your lifestyle you need to take it ONE DAY AT A TIME . Don’t think about this month or this week. Think about this day! And perhaps for some, this hour! Get out a calendar. Every day you succeed in your decision, check it off. Get a pack of happy face stickers if you must! Slap one on every day that passes that you followed your plan. Give yourself a pat on the back! HELL YA! YOU DESERVE IT! CHANGE ISN’T EASY!
I recommend that before you embark on a decision that you make a list of WHY you are making the decision. BE PRECISE. When your mind starts to creep into imagining breaking your decision HAVE THIS LIST HANDY. LOOK AT IT!! RIGHT THEN AND THERE! This list is a quick reminder of WHY you made the decision in the first place! And should help you stick to your resolve. Now keep busy in this moment. Cravings pass. Focus on where you are going…not where you have been. Every time you make it through a moment of weakness it really helps to build yourself up. You can seriously improve your self esteem when you get to the end of the day and say to yourself “good for you, another good day!” It feels MUCH better than getting sucked into your thoughts..forgetting why you made the decision, cracking..and then feeling disappointed in yourself. Trust me! Little steps..boost you up over time. Keep your LIST handy.
Your focus needs to be on the NEW DECISION and the actions it requires. Don’t focus on what you WON’T BE EATING. Focus on the new recipes, the snacks, the hydration and how good you feel already from the changes! Focus on the process of the change. Each day. In other words make a plan to LOVE YOU. And treat your body with care. You only get one. Some of us forget this until we are reminded by a disease. Treat your body with the care it deserves. Fill it with wholesome foods and nutrition.
What’s important to remember is that just because you have made a GOOD DECISION it does not mean it will FEEL GOOD initially. It can feel hard. And you don’t always have friends and family there cheering you along. Who you have, is YOU. Don’t convince yourself that if this was the RIGHT decision it would feel better. We are creatures of habit. We simply need to focus on the new behavior and ….one day at a time. It will feel easier and better and the pay off WILL COME. Trust your decision.
Ask some people you know who have made difficult decisions in life, how painful and hard were they? Did they feel great immediately? Was it just easy because it was right?
I know every day people choose to change. Going into it knowing it will take effort, sometimes knowing this is the best mentality. Expect it. When you make the decision to change up your nutrition and you find yourself saying “this is hard”….please pull out that list. Maybe you want to become healthier so that you can play with your grandchildren and keep up with their energy? Perhaps you are overweight and know that something’s going to give if you don’t change (it will). Perhaps you are hypoglycemic and your moods are all over the place from processed foods, which affects your daily life. Perhaps you are an athlete who has a goal, and nutrition is part of the plan towards your success. WHATEVER DRIVES YOUR DECISION is a good reason.
And so I leave you with this quote and wish for you that on your journey toward better overall health, you trust your decision to make positive changes to your body and pat yourself on the back along the way.
“Make up your mind and act decidedly and take the consequences. No good is ever done in this world by hesitation.” Thomas Henry Huxley