Okay, the goal is for more than year. It’s a life-time goal of mindful eating and treating my body with respect. A true change of perspective and mindset where I reset the button at how I view and consume food. Long-time readers will know that getting healthy and losing weight has been, basically, a forever goal of mine. Every year I make the grand announcement, “This will be the year I will lose weight and get healthy” and “I’m so committed to getting healthy!” and every year I fail. PERIOD. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, people. Because the truth is at some point, for whatever reason, I simply give-up.
As much as I want to lose weight and get healthy, I am also resistant to making changes. I’ve spent a lot of time wondering why I have such resistance. Logically, I can list a ton of reasons why getting healthy is important and yet I still struggle to do the work. It’s true that changing root-deep habits can be difficult but that only felt like part of the equation. And to really succeed, I needed to understand the whole equation.
The Whole Health Equation for Me
If you ask anyone who needs to lose weight, they can likely ramble off the steps you need to take. Consume fewer calories. Eat good-for-you foods, like veggies and lean protein. Lower your sugar and sodium intake. Exercise, both cardio and strength. And so on. All of those things are true and by themselves don’t seem inherently hard or overwhelming. So why was it so hard for me?
Last week, I talked about how “know thyself” was key to succeeding at goals over at my sister blog, A Mindful Migration. And the truth is nothing makes my brain go more haywire than the word DIET. It brings out a ton of negative emotions in me:
- I feel deprived, which makes me overly dramatic — I will, never be able to eat cake, bread, spaghetti and meatballs, mashed potatoes or my yummy caramels again. Damn you, carbs and sugar for tasting so delicious!
- I feel scared — what if I fail? Or succeed?
So. Much. Pressure. I am an emotional eater, so all these emotions around failure, success and everything in between overwhelm my system. Add in the thought of never again being able to savor a plateful of chicken parmesan with garlic bread, while visions of chalky protein bars dance in my head and suddenly Tanya is double-fisting handfuls of potato chips.
Obviously, I blew things out of proportion. Success and failure both scared me. My delusions on deprivation were also hugely exaggerated to point of being ridiculous. I basically did everything I could to fail before I even got started, because my mind believed all the lies I told myself. This is where I needed to start.
No More Lies. Getting Healthy for Real.
I’m tired of feeling slow and sluggish. Or looking in a mirror and not recognizing the person staring back. Having a closet full of cute clothes that don’t fit. But these feelings aren’t new either. So how will this year be different? How will I prevent myself from giving up? The truth is I don’t have the all the answers. And that feels really good to say. What I do know is that I’m going to keep trying.
1. Define What Being Healthy Means to Me
I define being healthy as feeling strong (physically and mentally), maintaining a healthy weight and being active. These are all generalities by design. It’s meant to be a broad definition with more tangible goals and action steps.
2. Understand My Emotional Resistance to Getting Fit
This is a big one, folks. This is the step I overlooked and why I feel that long-term success has been elusive. I need to dig a bit deeper and understand my beliefs around health. To separate truths from lies. To understand why I sabotage my own efforts. To retrain my brain around how I eat.
3. No Fad Diets. Just Mindful Eating
I’ve lost track of how many different kinds of diets there are. While many of them have some strong points, I’m not interested in eating only raw foods or going vegan. It’s just not me. What I am after is a more balanced diet. As you know, I love carbs. Love. Them. They love me too. My hips. My thighs. My gut. I’m not breaking up with them because I know myself. Nothing would make me inhale a bowl of mashed potatoes faster than the thought of never being able to eat them again. What I do realize is that I have to become a more mindful eater:
- I need to shrink my portions to right-size.
- I need to increase how much water I drink.
- I need to incorporate more veggies into my diet.
- I need to start a vitamin regiment.
- I need to stop eating when satisfied versus stuffed.
- I need to balance my carb intake.
- I need to reduce my sugar intake.
- BUT NO FOODS ARE FORBIDDEN.
I know some people do restrict food, especially when they are in weight-loss mode. I did consider it but ultimately decided against it because of my aforementioned tendency to binge eat whatever was forbidden, even if I didn’t have a craving for it until it went on the banned list. So I’m not going to eliminate pasta or chocolate cake from my diet but set some rules around consumption. This I can handle. I think. 🙂
4. Move My Body
I don’t like to exercise. In fact, I dislike it intensely. But … I also want to look good and feel good, which means I gotta shake my booty. I also know myself: I am the King at finding excuses as to why I can’t exercise today. I promise to do it tomorrow and then find another excuse. One of my biggest excuses is time. By the time I get to the beach and walk, I lose a big chunk of my day. There is some truth to this; some days it is hard to find the time. My solution? I have to find a workout that I least somewhat enjoy and preferably is in-house. My plan is to start swimming. I’m no Michael Phelps but I like swimming. It’s great exercise. And my apartment has a heated pool. No excuses.
Will This Be The Year?
I am certainly going to try my best. As such, you’ll see more posts on mindful eating, including more refined and tactical goals, what’s working and what’s not on Eat Laugh Purr. Because Max is not a feline that will tolerate being ignored, he’ll continue to have a monthly presence as well, and every Thursday will feature a yummy recipe. You’ll probably see a few more healthy but still delicious recipes, along with the occasional decadent dessert. I still adamantly believe you can have your cake and eat it too, but just not every night.
Did you make any health resolutions for the new year? How do you plan to keep them? Any getting healthy tips for me?