We live in a time where people are able to acquire knowledge about health risks and want to make sound choices in their lives. They want to prevent catastrophic problems. People are living longer each year, and it’s so important for us to keep ourselves healthy to live those extra years with a good quality of life.
As a health coach and mentor, I partner with clients to help them take charge of their life, recognize their bad choices and teach them about making wise choices. Together we work on making gradual, lifelong changes that will enable them to not only lose weight but to achieve wellness. I am there to help set health goals that we break into manageable steps, help track their progress, and help identify and overcome the personal challenges they encounter and how to successfully work through them.
For most, it’s about working on how to more easily incorporate the changes you want to make in your daily life with the goal of maintaining your commitment for a healthier lifestyle for the rest of your life. I am there to support and advance your success.
For many, the struggle of staying in control is often the key issue to work through, and we discuss about taking baby steps and the need to be flexible with themselves. I create a supportive environment, and share how it took me some time to adjust to new flavors and feelings. I encourage them to give their taste buds a chance to adjust and catch up to their new food choices.
Changing old patterns and behaviors is probably the biggest key to success. But change is hard. We work toward moderation while tastes adjust and talk about how to plan for slip ups with the goal to quickly get back on track when they have done so. That’s why I believe that most of us need to plan for cheats. In the beginning of this life-long journey, two or three times a month, or once a week, plan a cheat. Plan for it. Enjoy it. It won’t be necessary to beat yourself up over a cheat if you’ve planned it out. Then immediately get right back into your healthy eating plan. Before you know it, those cheats will become few and far between.
Along with learning about good nutrition there is a lot to learn from our old patterns and food addictions. Let’s be honest, most grown, overweight, adults are addicted to food. I know I was addicted to cheese. For some it’s sweet and salty, for some it’s just sweet, for some it’s salt and fats. When we are used to eating something, even when we know it’s bad for us, we go back to it because our body feels “bad” when we give it up. Unlike smoking or excessive drinking, or drugs, poor eating choices are harder to “give up” because eating is socially acceptable.
Some of the bad feelings you may notice when you give up those unhealthy choices and begin to increase your fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, as well as, whole-grain foods might be some increased digestive dilemma (gas) along with headaches, food cravings (why I suggest a planned cheat) and feeling tired. These unpleasant feelings will get better mainly because a diet rich in nutrients will satisfy your desire to eat. Believe me when you eat a meal of 300 to 500 calories of veggies and fruits with some whole-grains, your tummy will be filled up. That high volume of food will reduce your long-term food cravings. The fatigue you may feel at first will come from your giving up the sugar and the toxic proteins from animal products. As your body rids itself of the toxic foods, you should begin to sleep better which will in turn improve your energy level.
Of course, many food cravings come from emotional issues that we’ve had since childhood, or that helped us cope when going through a stressful relationship or helped us deal with a close friend or family member’s health issues. For those who have chosen to begin their journey to become healthy by making healthier lifestyle choices, it will take time to work through past issues toward new life patterns. It will also take time to make new lifestyle changes of being more active, taking some time for themselves and eating a healthier diet.
But isn’t it rewarding to realize that with your desire to take the journey toward a healthier you, you will no longer be gaining weight? You will begin to feel better and look better? And as each day goes by and turns into weeks, months, and years you will be getting better and better. That’s what counts.
So, here are my five tips for the week:
- Change is hard but set your goal to completely commit to your new eating plan for six weeks.
- Focus on your actions, not just on the weight. The weight will start to drop off as a result of all the healthy lifestyle changes you are making: intelligent eating, exercising, getting more sleep.
- Be sure you eat enough nutrient dense foods (focus on whole-foods, vegetables, fruits, whole grains; avoid dairy and work toward moving away from animal products, especially during the first 6 weeks).
- Give your taste buds a chance to adjust. Plan a cheat two or three times a month or once a week. Then get right back with your plan.
- Find outside support to help you be accountable and talk things through; that can be a family member, good friend, your walking-buddy, a health coach.