Here it is, the middle of January. Perhaps the exuberance and energy of your intentions from the holiday season are fizzling like a day old bottle of champagne. Has anyone out there either fully abandoned your resolutions, decided to forgo making any this year, or, are you in the process of making some realistic adjustments to your resolutions?
Pertaining to weight loss, of course, the tips abound. Ways to lose 5 lbs. making teeny tiny changes. Cooking spray instead of butter. One piece of bread instead of two. Those tips are helpful and it is true: little bits add up. Little changes to your habits add up. As do the bits of food that you may or may not allow yourself to be conscious of throughout the day.
There is no doubt that having lofty goals that don’t quite fit into the reality of your life, are most likely going to be abandoned by mid or the end of the month. Spending hours upon hours with people struggling with their problems with food, I am absolutely convinced that the most difficult obstacle people face is not figuring out an exercise program that works for their life, or eating differently; it is simply remaining completely CONSCIOUS about the food they are putting in their mouth.
Like all the diet books, ‘mindful eating’ had its day in the sun a few years back. It is kind of surprising to me, given the popularity of the ‘yoga lifestyle’ these days, that there is less attention and focus put simply to this idea. I am absolutely convinced that if you add this piece into your efforts to make some changes to your exercise and diet lifestyle, it will give you more bang for your buck.
So here a few tips to figure out how you may not be as conscious as you could be, and ways to improve your mindfulness regarding eating:
1) If you have a history of ‘on-off’ eating, i.e. deciding to lose weight, eat healthy, and then abandon it as soon as you ‘fall off the wagon’, be aware of that history.
2) Try to track the time between when you go ‘off’ what you are trying to achieve and how long it takes you to return to some habits you have tried to change.
3) Ask yourself what negative thoughts you are having about yourself and write them down.
Now, how to shift some of that so that you can be as mindful as possible; as I say to people in my office, “Don’t go all unconscious on yourself regarding food!”
1) As many times as you feel you have tried and failed at losing weight, look at your negative thinking, and give yourself a break. It is the lack of consciousness that is feeding into your belief that you can’t do this, you are out of control, and any garden variety negative critical comments we all like to level at ourselves when we DISAPPOINT ourselves.
2) Just see it as some feelings of disappointment and frustration and get back into your mind. Pledge to yourself that even if you eat something you don’t think you ‘should’, or doesn’t ‘fit’ the diet, try these thoughts on for size:
a) You are in the drivers seat and as such have the right to decide when what and how much you ever want to eat. EVERY SINGLE MINUTE OF THE DAY.
b) Think of how your body feels and how hungry or full you are. Really notice how your body feels and even if you know that you are wanting to eat not for hunger reasons, again, reassure yourself that of course you CAN DO THAT IF YOU CHOOSE TO. YOU JUST HAVE TO MAKE THAT CHOICE VERY CONSCIOUSLY
c) Remind yourself as you know this now, that you can always have that food now, in an hour, or later on. Or tomorrow. You can eat a few bites, or decide to save some for later. STAY CONSCIOUS. TASTE THE FOOD. DON’T GO ALL UNCONSCIOUS BECAUSE THAT WILL MAKE YOU EAT MORE OF IT, CHECK OUT, AND HAVE A MORE DIFFICULT TIME EATING IN A WAY YOU ARE HAPPY WITH.
See if this year your New Year’s Resolution is different than any other year. It isn’t just making small, realistic changes that will count. It is trying to face your shame when you don’t do what you had hoped, and stay with it. Stay in your own head. It is not always a friendly place, but the less time you spend outside of your consciousness regarding eating, the more time you spend truly feeling like you are in charge of your decisions.
Now that leads to consistently good eating habits.
Happy New Year!