3 Simple Steps to Achieving Health and Wellness Resolutions

It’s the first week of January.  A brand new year.  You’ve got your resolutions in hand, or on your mind, and you promise yourself this is the year you’re actually going to achieve all of them!  Are you?  I’m not trying to be rude, just practical.  It’s common for people to be excited about their resolutions on January 1st but want to run for the hills when they hear any word beginning with “res” by January 31st.

Discarding, forgetting, or ignoring resolutions can happen to anyone.  Are you a procrastinator and don’t know how to begin taking steps toward your goals?  Are you an overachiever and have so many, or such difficult, resolutions that the pressure of checking them all off your list makes you feel slightly queasy?  Are you somewhere in between?  Whatever your personality style, perhaps I can help with your nutrition and health goals.

I’ve trekked a gazillion miles on the roads called Nourishing Nutrition and Loving Food & Body, so I have some experience in these areas and can share what’s worked for me.  Yes, it is only my point of view and not scientifically proven.  But if someone like myself, who suffered severe food and body issues for over 10 years, could come to a place of health and happiness, I think you can too.

My philosophy to achieving optimal health and well-being can be stripped down to 3 simple steps:

  1. Choose better food.
  2. Choose better actions and behaviors.
  3. Choose better thoughts.

Why these three, and in this order?

Step #1: Choose better food.

I found that when I began eating better quality food, I felt and saw a difference in my body and mood.  Seeing those changes encouraged me to make better choices (actions/behaviors).  Eating nourishing food also elevated and stabilized my mood and energy level, so I was able to think clearly to make better choices more easily.  Like they say, “You are what you eat.”  Positive health changes begin with food.

Step #2: Choose better actions and behaviors. 

When you’re eating well, you naturally want to continue on that healthy path by making positive choices of action and behavior.  Like going to the gym regularly, reading instead of always watching TV, and cutting down the portion sizes of your meals.  Small actions lead to big results.

Step #3: Choose better thoughts.

When I chose better actions and they became new behavioral habits, I noticed my thoughts and self-talk turned more positive, caring, and supportive.  There’s also wisdom in the saying, “You are what you think.”

These three steps combine to transform your body, mind, and spirit into a house of health and well-being.  Now wait, don’t concentrate on the big picture of total transformation at this point!  You’re likely to have a panic attack or give up before you’ve started.  All you should focus on is tackling one step at a time, starting with food.  Don’t worry, I’m not leaving you on your own yet.  In the coming weeks, I will break down each of these steps, providing examples and simple ways to improve your health and well-being.

Have any thoughts or questions about your nutrition or health goals?  I’d love to hear from you!

Avoiding the Holiday Party Bulge

Between office functions, family gatherings, and friends‘ parties, your December calendar is crammed with opportunities for reveling in holiday spirit, as well as packing on a pound or two or three or….

But it doesn’t have to be that way!  Here are some tips to keep you looking and feeling great while enjoying the spirit of the holidays!

Holiday Party Game Plan:

Have a healthy snack beforehand. If you arrive at the party in starvation mode, your body will command you to shove food in your mouth, and you’ll end up eating a whole lot more high-calorie treats than if you arrived satisfied or mildly hungry.

If you do come to the party hungry, put all the food you want to eat on a plate. It’s hard to keep track of how much you’re eating when you pick here and there.  Remember that your stomach is approximately the size of your fist, and only eat until you start to feel full.  If there are more treats you’d like to have, wait at least 20 minutes and ask yourself again if you want to eat more.  That will give your stomach a chance to more accurately gauge its level of fullness.

Between each alcoholic drink, sip a glass of sparkling water with a wedge of lemon or lime. It will still look like an adult beverage to others, will give you something to hold and drink, and will keep you hydrated.  It’s also a great way to avoid getting too toasty, which often leads to mindless eating and drinking!

Don’t stand next to the buffet table! It’s too tempting to be arms length from tasty belly busters, so give yourself a chance and stand as far away from the food as possible!  If you have to battle the crowds to get to the food, you’re less likely to overindulge.

If you lose all willpower surrounded by holiday treats and sweets, make a game out of it! You can have that brownie, but tell yourself you must talk to five people you’ve never met before you can indulge.  Or you can delight in that spiced apple cider, but you need to make it last throughout Aunt Shirley’s long-winded story.  You get the idea!

Drop some peppermint oil in your mouth. Peppermint is a natural appetite suppressant, and when your mouth is all fresh and minty, food doesn’t taste as yummy.  I use this peppermint oil–it’s 100% pure therapeutic-grade essential oil–just one drop on the tongue is all you need to feel intensely fresh (and NOT hungry!)

Don’t get too wrapped up in guilt! While there’s no reason to gain a lot of weight during the holidays, expecting to lose pounds this time of year is not realistic.  It’s normal to crave heavier foods during the winter, when our biology responds to the cold weather and limited light.  Do what you can to be healthy and active, but don’t worry yourself into a panic.  Gaining a pound or two should not turn your world upside down, or affect the way you think of yourself.  You’re an amazing person no matter what you look like!

In this season of giving and sharing, be grateful for your friends and family, savor the food you eat, and above all…enjoy life!

Happy Holidays!

Bite Your Words

Remember the post Eating Your Words on Purpose?  Here is a continuation of the conversation about food-related words.

Words Are Food Phrases #2:  How do you eat an elephant?

I think we all know the answer to this riddle…One bite at a time.  I love this saying because it plunges deeper than the surface answer and uncovers some treasure-worthy advice.  Many goals or problems appear monstrous at first glance–like the giant mammal, the elephant–but once broken down into mini goals or tasks, are revealed as entirely manageable.  If you keep plodding along, step by step, you’ll eventually find yourself at the finish line.  Or the elephant’s tail.  I’m one of those people who tend to experience a state of overwhelm when I look at a really big-picture situation.  I’ve learned that if I concentrate on one little thing at a time, I’m able to get it done, with a lot less stress and self-doubting.

Words Are Food Phrases #3:  Biting off more than you can chew.

I think this relates to the preceding phrase.  Biting off more than you can chew is not something you want to do, according to the traditional use of this idiom.  However, if you nibble away at the massive portion you have in front of you, why not take the biggest serving you can?  Go for it!  We often underestimate what we can handle because we don’t want to disappoint ourselves or someone else.  We don’t want the added stress or risk the possibility of failure.  Innovators, entrepreneurs, and other influential individuals would never have gotten as far, or achieved as much, as they did if they subscribed to the idea of only biting off what they could chew.

Final thoughts

My advice is to take on those elephants and bite off way more than you can chew.  Then calmly take small forkfuls and chew thoroughly to receive all the nourishment possible.  And enjoy the process!

Do you agree with my take on these phrases?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!


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“Eating your words” on purpose

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This idiom popped into my head a few times over the last day or so.  It got me pondering the traditional definition, and what it could mean if we took it out of context.  I thought it might be intriguing to explore between the lines, forage beneath the surface, and see what goodies we find.

Words Are Food Phrases:  #1 “Eat Your Words”

When someone is said to have “eaten their words,” it’s not a positive experience.  It means that person uttered something proven to be false and received a humble pie in the face with a heavy dollop of public humiliation. But what if we changed the negative connotation of this idiom?

In a new context, “eating your words” could be a good thing. If our words are juicy, rich, and made with love, why wouldn’t we want to eat them?  When we have something important to say, it might be prudent to taste our words first–make sure they have the right ingredients, cooked to perfection–then let them digest and see how they settle within ourselves before offering them to someone we value.  If we find our words to be energizing, inspiring, and fruitful, wouldn’t we share a nibble or two with a loved one so that may also enjoy the vibrant flavors?

Let’s get into our verbal kitchens, whip up some thirst-quenching, hunger-sating conversations, and share the nourishment with those around us!  ♥♥

I’d like to return to this idea of exploring words and food related common phrases/idioms in the English language and extracting inspiring viewpoints from them.  Let me know if you are interested in seeing this type of post once in a while!


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Ditch the Dieting…Eat For Life!

For almost all of my adult life, I’ve been on one diet or another.  From Atkins to Alkaline, No-Fat Food to No Food, I’ve pretty much done them all…along with some crazy creations I came up with myself.  The two dominating emotions I feel during dieting are misery (if I am “good”) and guilt (if I am “bad”).

Right now, I’m lean and happy and give in to my cravings.  So what diet am I on?  None.  I don’t do diets anymore and I never will.  I don’t think diets work in the long-term.  They have a long list of things we can’t eat, and we–as is human nature–tend to focus on what we don’t or can’t have.  The diet may go well for a while and the results get us excited.  But then there’s that dark side to will-power involving the foods we love.  There comes that time when we let down our guard or even say “to hell with this, I deserve it!” and we give in to the forbidden fruit…or rather, glazed donuts, Häagen-Dazs ice cream, sour cream and onion potato chips, cheesy fries, whatever favorite comfort food gets us salivating.

If we didn’t see those forbidden foods as “bad,” we might not feel the unrelenting gravitational pull to them.  We might only have had a little bit because “no big deal, I can always have more another day.”  But because these foods are a “no-no,” we tell ourselves “it’s just this once” and swear to “be good tomorrow.”  So we end up eating the whole thing…perhaps even additional “naughty” food until we feel sick to our stomachs and disgusted with ourselves.  A couple of these binges in a short period of time and we end up right back where we started on the scale.  Or worse.

It’s not the diets, per se, that are the problem.  It’s what goes on between our ears that messes everything up.  The incessant chatter, negative messages, and empty promises we tell ourselves beat us up psychologically.  Most people who follow diets have the mentality that food is evil, fats should be avoided, and deprivation equals weight loss.  These thoughts are draining, self-sabotaging, untrue, and set us up for a lifetime of food misery!  Here’s the thing about the four-letter word FOOD:  It’s not like other addictions or vices…we can’t eliminate it altogether.  We need food to live, so the only way to get recovery is to change our way of thinking about it and rebuild our relationship.

© 2010 Kristin Conroy

Food is a very important aspect of life because it gives us the energy to live and thrive, but it should not be the obsessive focus of life.  Food should enhance life’s experiences, not be looked upon as the devil in yummy clothing.  It’s essential to find a way of eating we can live with…not just for a week, a month, or half a year, but for a lifetime.

Since we are all unique and our bodies have different needs, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.  Trusting ourselves to find the right foods can be terrifying since most are accustomed to following what someone else has deemed the “correct” eating plan.  However, learning and experimenting and discovering foods on which you thrive is a very liberating and empowering experience.

Judging foods as “bad” or “good” is unproductive; the better perspective is knowing one food will nourish us more than another because of it’s ingredients, nutrients, and how it was grown or made.  When we eat well 80% of the time, choosing less nutritious food is OK.  It doesn’t signify failure.  We have to live our lives and sometimes that not-so-nourishing food is the only thing to satisfy us or is the only option available.  And that’s no big deal because we get right back to eating the way that supports our bodies and minds.

I encourage us to stop playing the role of life-time prisoners in the confines of a diet, and instead, become free citizens enjoying food as a part of life and reaping its rewards.  Doesn’t that sound like a great way to live?

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