Oh la la we are on to Helpful Tips 5-8!
So in previous posts, I describe my battles with poor health, the benefits I got when I improved my health and the first batch o’ tips. You can read how Kells put them into action.
About 15 years ago, I was kinda miserable (more or less on the daily). I was skimming the surface of life. I wanted to look a certain way. But I had a devil of a time to changing my unhealthy ways.
I transformed by:
Changing my Motivation.
When my focus switched from I have to look a certain way to I want to live a life that’s healthy, then my behaviours changed accordingly. What flipped that switch was getting a diagnosis of a chronic medical condition… one where most people don’t seek help til decades later when physical damage has been done. And it’s way harder to change behaviours. My free get-out-of-jail card did wonders for my motivation.
As humans we have this amazing capacity to have awareness, to perceive and to change. Take advantage of this, yo.
I observed my habits and responses, got info on my condition, spoke with licensed health professionals & hob-nobbed with like-minded folks.
Support is important. Though only you can change yourself, you will need help. Don’t be afraid to ask.
Exercising my goal.
I figured out my game plan by using S.M.A.R.T. goals. Then by golly I exercised that plan like there was no tomorrow! (Uh well in a manner of speaking. One of my motivators was to improve myself for those tomorrows.)
Continuing on with Les Tips …
5) Reward yourself when you achieve your mini goals.
Celebrate your accomplishments! You worked hard to slay that goal. Of course you should break out the proverbial champagne!
Try to steer away from food rewards. This is so that you keep healthy associations with food. (See point 8 so you know I’m not saying that food is bad. For me, I needed to break maladaptive associations between food=reward and food=coping strategy.)
Rather, focus on the other treats in life: get a massage, buy some saucy lingerie, go on a vacation, get a makeover (MAC and Sephora give freebies!), putz around in the garden, go to the auto show, take funky photos in the park, sleep in (or take an afternoon snooze), take a tour of your city, read a chapter of the book you were saving up for your hols, start a blog, tinker around with that old jalopy you’ve been meaning to restore…
6) Don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t achieve your goal that week.
Instead, learn from it.
⇒ Maybe it was an unreasonable expectation. For example, do you need to scale back your goal from losing 2 kg/week to 1 kg/week?
⇒ Maybe that week was particularly stressful. Do you need to add a plan for when things get rough?* or maybe you can try again and see what this week will be like.
⇒ Maybe it wasn’t the right combo of behaviours. Instead of exercising AND making dietary changes in the same week… you can start instead by incorporating exercise first. When you have a handle on that, add the food changes (or vice versa).
After your examination, re-do that SMART goal with your newly processed info.
This tip was a huge one for me. I reached that infuriating plateau after a year of steadily losing weight. And oh holy Murphy this plateau lasted for years. Yes: y e a r s.
I had to remind myself that weight was just one outcome measure. What about other things I had accomplished? Firstly, I wasn’t going backwards, which had been my previous pattern with yo-yo dieting. I was losing inches. I was gaining muscle. I was gaining strength. My 2 fab docs weren’t concerned as long as I was keeping up a healthy regime. So I thought maybe this is just my body’s way of saying, “Change it up, missy!”^
7) Know when to push yourself and when not to.
Listen to your body. Why do you need to do 30 biceps curls x3 sets? If you strain your muscles, what good is 90 curls? This step ties in with the base-steps 2 & 3: Empower & Educate. You figure out what your body is about ⇒the good, the bad⇐ and then support that hawt-to-trot body! Do things that make it better, not worse.
It’s ok to have limitations. You can always work up to a goal. But it’s ok if you try and can’t. Well how about switching gears from bicep curls to taking the stairs instead of the elevator?
8) Don’t be ashamed to eat (when appropriately hungry) and to enjoy food.
Food is a HUGE
issue consideration for me. I blamed myself for eating like shit because I felt like shit. These thought distortions are sooo NOT helpful. I eventually said to myself: I like food and I’m going to learn to enjoy food without feeling guilty. So I turned back to Tip 3 of Edumacating Myself. I have happy memories and my family uses food for comforting.
Happy memories: My mom enjoyed cooking which is something we did together as I was growing up. Food is also a big part of my family’s party scene (a la Big Fat Greek Wedding). The hustle and bustle of a busy kitchen gives me the warm n fuzzies. In the first year of dating, Mr. Nals and I cooked our first meal together. We had fun and it’s something we do to this day.
My family also used food to heal – for flu, tummy troubles or recovering from wisdom tooth-ectomies.
Cooking is also a weirdly-wonderful mixture of science (homeostatic v. hedonic hunger, kinky molecules in kitchen science, what grows together goes together) and art (gastroporn, complementary flavours).
Food is a way to our cultural history, family connections, memories, biology and soul. Embrace it!
Focus on foods you can eat, rather than the ones you shouldn’t. As per my docs, I should avoid certain minerals… which means I shouldn’t really have my beloved citrus and Mehjool dates on the daily. But I can eat … a whole buck load of other stuff.
Fun food fact**: Chai conjures up images of hot cups of spiced milk black tea from India (often called chai tea, which means tea tea, btw). Cha also means tea in Japanese and Chinese languages.
That’s it for this post, N&Kers! Stay tuned next week: Kells will do up a post on how she broke these Tips down and applied them to her fabulous life.
Do you have any food for thought?
How do you feel about the ME Method?
Or the Tips?
Please leave a comment below!
*I get particularly crabby during those delightful monthly hormonal surges. So I came up with specific how-tos for those sitches.
^ Oh gosh . The Plateau Years were uber annoying. I changed up all sorts – cut out refined sugars, upped protein intake, quit bootcamp to swim, ate smaller frequent meals, incorporated smoothies, did food detoxes, did Reiki, decreased stress… My weight stayed +/- 10 pounds for years. But I kept losing inches, gaining muscle and endurance. My docs weren’t concerned. What reignited my weight loss was working out daily. My beach-babe friend Coach, who is also a kick ass personal trainer, works out twice daily. So I thought wtf let’s give it a whirl. I’m not quite up to BID every single day but I’m workin on it! Remember that this is a good goal for me. I researched it then spoke with my healthcare team. Before you make dietary or exercise changes please consult with an experienced licensed clinician!
** hmm maybe more like a language fact?