Last month, we talked about the shift that happens with the changing of the seasons. Do you also shift your thinking at the start of a new year? Do you focus on health and set a resolution around it? 45% of 2018 new year’s resolutions focused on losing weight and getting in better shape. And of those many people had stopped working towards those resolutions by the end of January. Does this sound familiar?
Actually, I’m not a big fan of the term resolution. When we use resolution we are possibly looking to find the resolution to a problem – as if what we are aiming for will be resolved never to be heard from or dealt with again once you have managed to achieve it.
When we look at health this is not sustainable for long term success – I’d rather look at goals/intentions. What were the longer range goals you set for yourself last month? Have you been working towards them in a sustainable manner?
Check in with the “why” behind your goal? Is it a short term or long term health goal? Did you overindulge over the holiday and felt the “resolution pressure” over the new year’s holiday to “punish” or “restrict” your diet or to “make up” for the indulgence. The vocabulary you use when you decide on your health goals can have an impact on your long term success. Instead of the negative talk of punishment and restriction make a shift in your thinking about the energy and focus you could gain by incorporating more whole fresh foods into your diet.
If you have found that you aren’t in the space you thought you’d be at the end of January, here are a few tips to help get you (back) on track:
1) Start again
I have been known to use this analogy when talking about building and supporting health. When you drop your phone what do you do? Do you pick it up or do you look at it and then take the heel of your shoe and smash it? Most of you (I hope) would say that you pick it up.
This is exactly how to work with your new health goals. If you find yourself slipping, check-in (see below) with yourself. Identify what happened in the slip-up and then move forward. It’s not the end of the world if you slip up and have chocolate or a glass of wine. However, it does matter what your next move is. As I mentioned above move yourself out of a space of shame and punishment and into a space of support and forward motion.
2) Check in with yourself.
Starting to tune in to your body is important if you are looking to attain a health goal. Using a journal or a notepad (on your phone works too – no excuses!) write a few thoughts down about your goal each week. How’s it going? What changes have you been noticing? How are you feeling (physically and emotionally)?
Then after you have checked in –
If you find that week after week you aren’t reaching your goal, then perhaps you need to modify it so that it is attainable. If going to the gym five days a week at 6 am isn’t working out for you, try 3 or 2 or even 1 day (and possibly make a shift in the timing to after work or on the weekend which may suit you better.) If going to gym is not working out, then go for a 10 minute walk. You can change your goals – make a shift (no, really it’s ok! I’m giving you permission.) Make your goals work for you so that you can experience a change.
3) Work with someone to accomplish your goal.
Have you tried checking in with yourself and found that you just don’t have the discipline or stamina to make it happen? Working with a nutritionist (Yes, this is a shameless plug…) can help support you where you have faltered before. Have you tried various “diets” or 30-day programs with some but not full success? Have you plateaued in reaching your goal? Have you achieved your goal in the past but have found yourself in the same space you were in last year?
Working with someone who can provide you with both individual attention and personal accountability. This may be just what you need to make the transition of a “just out of reach” health goal to something that will become part of your everyday life. As I always remind my clients, everyBODY is different and we start working together from where you are and go from there. Working in a sustainable manner to ensure change that is no longer a “wagon you fall off of.” Remember that long term health is a long game, not a sprint.
You may be asking yourself, “Why can’t I just follow a program?” Programs which focus on (“30, 60, 90 days ( …. fill in the blank… getting your (blank) back”) can be great in the short term, but at some point there will come a time when you want/need or have a “slip up” – and end up eating the forbidden or restricted foods. Perhaps you avoid specific social situations to avoid being tempted. My honest question is, “What happens then?” The deeper conversation that might need to happen is to explore the actual connection/relationship between food and your life. Finding a balance with your relationship with food is something we can explore together. This deeper conversation and work is something that many people shy away from but one that just may need to happen to make a shift and achieve long term success & health.