The start of a new year is an excellent time to set some health and wellness goals. We all need a path of small, attainable goals and action steps to help us reach our bigger goals. This keeps us moving forward and creating a fulfilling life. I hope you will take some time, sit down with a pen and paper, and think about what you want to achieve in the coming weeks and months. Maybe you want to organize your personal space, be more creative, have more meaningful relationships etc...
For many of you, weight loss will be on the list.
Today I am sharing some things to think about before you embark on your weight loss goals that often come up in coaching sessions with clients.
1. Asses your water intake. Are you really getting enough? This is so simple but can have profound effects on your weight and health as most people do not drink enough water and are chronically dehydrated (aim to drink at least half your weight in ounces per day). Dehydration leads to sugar cravings, poor concentration, low energy, and more and our bodies do not translate the need for hydration well leading us to mistake thirst for hunger. Skimping on water could be the reason you are reaching for that donut and feeling too tired to work out! I personally experienced this several times in the last busy holiday weeks when I consumed less water being out of my normal routine. I was noticeably thirsty, hungry, and depleted. Skip plastic bottles, filtered tap water is best; no one needs to be consuming BPA with their H2O.
2. Think about how often you are snacking and what you are snacking on; consider keeping track in a journal for a few days to get really clear on this. I often hear clients say that they don’t eat that much and they don’t understand why they are not losing weight. Often its not about the eggs you had for breakfast or the soup you had for lunch, but the snacks that sneak into your mouth during the day and evening. The handful of potato chips, the mid-morning coffee with cream and sugar, the 2 cookies, the 10:00 p.m. dish of ice cream. It may not seem like much but if you are consuming foods that increase your insulin levels (simple carbohydrates) you are increasing fat storage and inflammation in your body and sabotaging any weight loss efforts, despite the small quantities of food you are eating. And if you are hungry between meals causing you to snack, its a sign you are not giving your body the proper nutrients it needs. Consuming balanced amounts of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, along with some micronutrients at each meal, will keep you full and energized for hours. If you do get hungry and need a boost between meals, choose a protein rich food which will help keep blood sugar stable.
3. Think about when you most often get into binging or snacking on the wrong foods. What is happening for you at this time? I often hear clients say they find themselves heading for the ice cream or chocolate at the same time each day. “I am good all day until my kids won't go to bed and then bam, I am into the chip bag with a vengeance.". What is going on for you when you tend to snack? Did you just walk in the door from a long and stressful day at work? Are you watching your third hour of television at 10 p.m.? Often we mindlessly eat when we really need something else. Maybe when we walk in the door from work we need a glass of water, a hug from a loved one, and a few conscious breaths. Maybe at 10 p.m. we are bored with television and need to acknowledge the boredom and go to bed instead of eating for entertainment and staying up later. If our kids are testing our patience maybe recognizing the frustrated feelings (and having some self compassion because you are human) and making some chamomile tea is what you need instead of a few handfuls of M&M's. Ask yourself if you are truly hungry instead of going straight for the food during these times. Ask yourself why you are eating and how you feeling. Becoming conscious of how you are feeling and ackowledging these feelings can do wonders for eliminating mindless eating!
4. Get self control on board because you will need it. Self control is a sign of being a mature adult. Things can’t feel good and comforting to us all of the time. Sometimes we flat out need to tell ourselves that we cannot eat the brownie, drink the beer, or have that tempting desert. The process of reaching our goals doesn’t always feel good and its not always easy but attaining goals feels amazing and sets you up for more success in the future.
5. Think about how you feel after eating the wrong foods. Most people don't feel energized, light, and focused after eating a piece of chocolate cake. If you can remember how you felt after eating a Snickers bar you can remind yourself that you don't want to feel that way again. Attaching feelings to something can be profoundly compelling for us humans. Same goes with attaching a feeling to eating healthy foods. Remembering how energetic you felt after a day of clean eating will compell you to do it again.
Being conscious goes a very long way in helping us to reach all kinds of goals. I hope these tips provide you with some awareness so you can meet your 2016 goals.