You’ve heard it a million times. “THIS is the year I will lose those last few pounds and keep it off! THIS time I will stick to it, have more willpower, and follow through.” So, millions of people this time of year will scour the bookstores and internet for the highest rated, trendiest eating guides hot off the press with promises of enduring success. The before and after pictures you see are regular people, just like you. You say to yourself: this will work. THIS is my answer.
Wake up call! THIS is not the answer and if you do lose the weight, more often than not you will gain it back and possibly more. Alas, transforming your body takes some creative insight, humility, patience, and let’s face it, the courage to address the source of the imbalance that is showing up in your body as extra weight, fatigue, lack of motivation, depression, pain, and more.
Making a transformation can be overwhelming and scary. Finding a starting point is key so begin by following these 5 easy steps to get you off on the right foot. You may not lose twenty pounds in the first month, but creating a solid foundation is more important than rapid weight loss at the beginning. Think of it as giving your body a mental and physical tune-up before a long trip so that when temptation hits, you will be more likely to stick with the changes you’ve implemented.
Stop dieting. Remove the word from your vocabulary starting today. The more restrictive you are, the more you will crave that very thing. Instead, switch to a “way of eating.” This will change your beliefs right off the bat about the changes you are about embark on and how successful you will be. There is no one way of eating that will work for everyone and the only requirement to finding that way of eating is openness and curiosity about your relationship with food and how it affects you mentally, physically, and spiritually.
Set “bigger than self” intentions. Kelly McGontgal, a PhD from Stanford University, introduced the importance of these sort of intentions. She suggests growing your intentions so they go beyond you. For example, transform “I want to lose weight and eat healthy” to “I want to create long lean muscle and flexibility in my lower back and hips to reduce my debilitating pain which will allow me to be more patient with my family.” Looking below the surface goal is crucial to maintaining change because we are highly motivated by our connections with others and this creates more accountability.
Relearn how to listen to your body. When we were babies, all we did was listen to our bodies. We ate when we were hungry, slept when we were tired, and eliminated when we needed to eliminate. Then came the bills, jobs, families, and STRESS so we began to ignore our basic needs to meet the everyday demands of life. The best way to relearn how to listen to your body: get back to basics just like a baby. Eat what you want, when you want, sleep when you are tired, and move when you want to move. What? Give in? Yes. Give your body what it wants and it will find it’s way back to health. Go ahead, have a day of eating crap and lying on the couch. That may be just what you need, but it won’t last long because crap doesn’t make you feel good and it will lose it’s appeal when you tell yourself you can have whatever, whenever. Experiment and learn about what works best for you. You may need to keep eating meat and dairy because you feel sluggish or depleted when you don’t or you may need to eliminate dairy because it causes you GI distress. Decide based on your own findings in your own body, not what someone across the globe thinks will work for everyone.
Eliminate the crap. Get rid of the artificial chemicalized “food product” filling the grocery stores today. They do not support your body and the millions of chemical reactions that need to take place to make physiological changes. Eat closer to nature by selecting whole foods. If you are unfamiliar with what a whole food is, it is simply a food that contains one ingredient. They are ingredients, nothing else added. For foods with more than one ingredient, try to stick to the “5 ingredients or less” rule. That being said, you don’t need to eat 100% organic, vegan, raw, or gluten-free to make progress. Find the gray area. It’s not about perfection. It’s about learning what makes you feel amazing.
Move with purpose. While you are at it, throw out the word exercise as well! The word exercise is not typically associated with being inspired, motivated, and energized. Again, find the gray area. Pick something you like to do that requires moving your body. It may be walking, skating, skiing, swimming, weight lifting, yoga, and so on. It’s important that you choose an activity that turns you on and lights you up. If you hate running (like me), don’t pick that because it won’t last. Find something you want to study and perfect. A project. Last requirement: sweat. Moving and sweating means you are detoxing and losing weight is a form of detox. You’ve got to unlock the toxins that are hanging on for dear life in your tissues, knock them loose, and eliminate them. Moving, in conjunction with eating nutrient dense food is the best way to do this.
Yes, there are other things you can eventually add to your fitness routine to amp things up a bit, but START SMALL. It’s easy to get excited and get in over your head setting yourself up for failure. Fight the urge to see instant results. Any lasting change takes time and patience so coming from a place of love towards yourself is so important. Our bodies don’t like to be forced into anything so take some time to explore what yours is trying to tell you, give it what it truly wants, and celebrate small successes!
I believe in the power of choice and we all have choices, regardless of how much money you have, what your status is, or who you know. You can always find a starting point so think about what that means for you. What do you want? What does that look like and how are you going to get there? My goal is to empower others to approach making changes in an alternative way using mindfulness, a clear vision, and a concrete action plan. We are here to help if you need guidance or share this with a friend and start on your own! Make 2016 your most amazing year yet!