You know the proverb, You are what you think. What you say to, and think about, yourself shapes the person you are and could become. It’s not easy to change the way you think, but choosing positive, supportive, health-inducing thoughts is the only way to make health and wellness a successful and permanent part of your life.
The following “Better Thoughts” were integral in my breaking free from food and body image issues. I hope they can support you in achieving your health and wellness goals.
Be your own best friend.
What do you see when you look in the mirror? Your best friend or your worst enemy? We’re taught to treat others with kindness and respect, but many of us don’t extend that courtesy to ourselves. You would never tell someone you cared about that they’re stupid, fat, or weak. So don’t tell yourself those things either. Sometimes those messages aren’t intentional; we’re so used to saying them that it doesn’t seem like a big deal. But the messages you tell yourself every day have an effect on you, whether you realize it or not.
Monitor the thoughts you have about yourself. Practice turning negative messages into positive ones. Maybe try supportive affirmations until those replace your old, negative mantras. If you can’t love your body for the way it looks right now, love it for its function. For example, I’m not a big fan of the way my arms look, but I can love how they’re strong and give really awesome hugs. When you concentrate on what you love or appreciate about yourself, you’re much happier when you look in the mirror. And in supporting and nurturing yourself, you’re more likely to reach your health and wellness goals.
Forget diets, a.k.a the “quick fix”
Dieting doesn’t work. (This post explains more.) Think about the quality of the food you eat, instead of basing its merits on calories and fat grams. Why? Because calories and fat grams are not all equal! A piece of fruit vs. a fruit roll-up; olive oil vs. margarine; freshly juiced apples vs. commercial apple juice; raw cheese vs. cheese whiz….these pairs are not equal, even if the calorie count and fat grams say they are.
When I used to only focus on calories and fat grams to evaluate food, I wasn’t considering nutrition. I chose a lot of artificial food. And I was miserable. When I turned my focus to quality and nourishment, the obvious choices were the least processed ones. They also were the most satisfying, so I ate less. Maintaining a healthy weight became rather effortless, which let my mind concentrate on more important things, like enjoying life!
And may I offer a reality check that will help you big time? A slice of cheesecake will not lead to your undoing. Nor will missing a day at the gym. That’s dieting mentality, and I won’t stand for it! Life happens, we’re human. Accept it happened, take responsibility, and get over it. Tough love lesson has now concluded.
Rather than looking at eating healthy as depriving yourself from the less-than-optimal food you love, think of it as offering yourself more nutrition. There’s a big difference between “I can’t have that” (deprivation and judgement) and “I’d rather choose something with more nourishment” (support). It was a huge mental hurdle for me, but once I disentangled myself from the habit of short-term thinking, I was able to see big changes in my health.
Learn to listen to what your body tells you. We are born with bodies that have innate wisdom. They know when we’re hungry or full; what foods work with our bodies and which ones don’t; when we need to slow down and recuperate. After ignoring and overriding those instincts from years of dieting and trying to keep up with cultural standards, we can lose that wisdom. The good news is that our bodies doesn’t lose their wisdom…we just have to relearn how to listen to and interpret their messages.
This month I’ve introduced you to the 3 steps I think will help you achieve your health and wellness resolutions. While these steps are simple, they’re not necessarily easy. Be patient with yourself. Instead of getting overwhelmed trying to put everything into action, focus on what food, actions, and thoughts will benefit you. Choose ones that are within your comfort zone. When those are a part of you, choose better ones. And so on. You wouldn’t consider climbing Mt. Everest on the first try. You’d have to plan, prepare, and practice, while making a bunch of mistakes along the way. Don’t think of the finish line right now. Just the next step forward.
In choosing better food, behaviors, and thoughts on a consistent basis, you’ll make your health and wellness resolutions a way of life. Enjoy the journey to whole body nourishment! ♥