Today I want to talk about challenges, specifically around weight control. If you find yourself challenged with controlling your weight you may want to read my blog on emotional eating (Emotional Eating & a whole foods diet).
I’ve faced my own challenges with weight control. In fact it’s part of what drew me to Holistic Nutrition. I was an emotional eater and through learning to recognize triggers, reduce stress with methods other than eating, re-frame past history in my subconscious mind and with trial and error discover what works best for me I rarely eat emotionally. I still have challenges now and then, we all do. It’s how we keep learning and it’s also because we don’t stay the same all our lives, neither physically, emotionally/mentally or spiritually.
In the past 5 months I’ve been so focused on my professional development, and the emotional, stressful and mental impact of that, that I’ve been neglectful of my physical well-being. I know the connection between the physical and mental/emotional but sometimes I forget to pay attention to all of them equally, so my eating has been off and so has my physical activity level.
My eating has been off in a few ways. 1) Not always eating breakfast within an hour of getting up. This is an important one as it helps get my metabolism revved for the day. 2) I’ve been eating out more often. No matter how wisely I may choose when I eat out, you never really now how much you’re eating, or the real quality of the food. 3) Not planning meals and making sure I have what I need in my fridge and cupboard. This one is also important. If I’ve been out and about busy all day and I come home and don’t have something planned then I may not eat at all or may go out to eat and not make the best choices.
My physical activity level has also suffered. I’ve been doing tons of research and that means way too much sitting. That also creates neck issues for which I’m seeing my Chiropractor. I love walking and hiking. I have a great park to walk in only a very short block from my apartment but getting motivated to get out there can be a struggle when I’m tired from traveling on transit or mentally from seeing clients and doing research. The places I like to hike all require at least 45-60 mins on transit which is easy to use as an excuse when my brain is tired. I know of course that the physical activity relieves stress, balances the mental/emotional output, supports and speeds up my metabolism and just feels so darn good! I have also learned through those trial and errors mentioned above that for me I must exercise 5-6 days per week to feel at my best on all levels – physical, mental/emotional and spiritual.
For me, one who can lose control of my weight very easily, this has resulted in a small weight gain that I’m not happy with. I’m not feeling my best, not feeling as energetic as normal and feeling a bit stiff and sluggish. So today I said, “That’s enough of this, time to get re-balanced!”
The first thing I did was make a grocery list and a list of the healthy foods I most enjoy eating and put them in the breakfast, lunch or dinner category. I didn’t list meals per se, more so foods I like to eat in those meal time categories. Then I grabbed my trusty grocery baggage cart and walked to the grocery store at the mall. When I got home from the mall, I cleaned out my fridge and cupboard of any expired food or of anything that I wasn’t eating and was not going to eat either. Man that feels good to be organized and have a fridge and cupboard full of yummy healthy foods. I am so very blessed! BTW, my grocery shopping buggy looks similar to this one. I can fit a lot in it! ->>
Next on my plan is my physical activity. My boyfriend and I have already been talking about more exercise. He lives not too far from me and there are some lovely parks in his area to walk in. (No, that’s not him and I in the photo, but it could be) 🙂 I love walking in nature. The connection and peace and grounding I get there is priceless! I can walk the city streets for exercise when no other place is available but my heart belongs in nature. 🙂
I know for me 45-60 mins of fast walking, or 60 mins or so of moderate to difficult hiking, 5-6 days per week is ideal. My first step is a walk in the park tomorrow morning. I’m also going to reach out to my best friend in Vancouver and get together more for walks and hikes, she loves too do both also and I know she’s been wanting to re-balance and up her physical activity.
So, just to make a simple list of what I am doing to meet this challenge and what you can do too:
- Plan your meals and always make a grocery list before going to the store. Don’t shop on an empty stomach, if you’re tired or in a rush.
- Be flexible with your meals as there’s no point in making something you won’t eat, at the same time deciding in the morning what you want for dinner that day is important so that you do plan for when you’re rushed or tired getting home.
- Follow the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time you eat healthy and well, 20% of the time you are more flexible and indulge a little.
- Schedule exercise into your day and with trial and error figure out what time of day works best for you. For example for me exercising (first thing) in the morning works best. I feel better, I’m more likely to do it and it revs me up for the rest of the day. You may find that getting in a workout on your lunch suits you best, or maybe right after work but before dinner. Find out what works and just do it! (To borrow a famous phrase)
- Work with a buddy/friend to be accountable and/or to exercise with, if this is something that works for you! Working out/exercising with a friend or partner is a good idea for a lot of people, just make sure the two of you are on the same page and the same level of fitness. You don’t want resentment building if one can’t keep up with the other. Sometimes just sharing with a friend or two is all you need to keep you on track and motivated, sometimes you need more structure.
Challenges are lessons waiting to be learned, or to keep us growing, or maybe just to keep us on our toes so to speak. 🙂
Meet them head on, tackle them sideways, announce your plan to the world or keep it to yourself. However you handle challenges is all up to you. Who knows you better than you?