The amount of research pointing to mindfulness as a better way of life is mounting and we liberated eaters are on the cutting edge. We don’t really need researchers to tell us what we already know…
Showing up for life makes it richer!
Brown University researchers recently described a mindful moment like this:
“Imagine the simple task of backing a car out of the driveway. In order to reach the street safely, you must hold your destination in mind while steering and ignoring distractions: the radio, children playing at the end of the block, an itch on your foot, the glare of the sun in your eyes.”
When we back up a vehicle our attention is enhanced. We show up. We try not to let anything distract us. This mundane task illustrates our powers of concentration and our ability to guard against split-focus.
As we practice:
• being present for what’s going on right now
• connecting honestly with our mind and body
• listening deeply
• putting our phones away and showing up
• eating like each bite is a treasure
…we’re going to find that our days and relationships with ourselves and others get sweeter and sweeter…
and that we aren’t thinking about finding something to eat quite as often.
We can give ourselves and our health a great gift by occasionally finding a quiet moment alone to ponder a few good questions.
Here are a few good ones for starters:
• What kind of person would you like to be when it comes to your health and fitness?
• In what ways is this important to you?
• What will you have then that you don’t have now?
• What would you like to be doing consistently?
• How wide is the gap between where you are and where you want to be ?
• What obstacles are standing in your way?
• What are you willing to work on now?
• How might your present health/fitness/weight be protecting you?
• What are the costs and benefits of making changes right now?
• What are the costs and benefits of not making changes ?
Questions help us remember what we really want and who we really are. Find a pleasant spot and have a good, friendly heart-to-heart with yourself. Take your time and enjoy yourself – because you are in very good company indeed!
Recently during our weekly tele-coaching the dilemma of holiday candy came up. It’s everywhere, all the time, in abundance. And – it’s on sale for weeks after the holiday is long gone. And – as soon as Valentine’s is over Easter candy will take its place. Good grief.
Here are a few of the good ideas that came up as we brainstormed around this situation:
• Treat yourself: Decide what candy you want the very most, buy it and savor it with your full attention. I like to put mine on a dessert plate.
• Be the connoisseur: If you taste something that isn’t extremely good – spit it out, or at least don’t take a second bite.
• Stay supported: Take a friend with you when shopping for holiday parties
• Plan ahead: Get your shopping done before the candy revs up or goes on sale.
• Choose your own path: When you do shop don’t go down the holiday aisle.
• Be confident: Remember, you’re strong. You’re in charge. Not the holiday.
• Stay inspired: Have a reminder of your Wellness Vision in plain sight, so you can remember what you really want. [Perhaps a photo of the ocean you want to play in…not you in a bikini when you were 17.]
• Check in: Make a plan with a health buddy to encourage each other through the holiday.
Remember – candy isn’t fattening. (Overeating it is) It isn’t wicked. It doesn’t have super-powers. If we see it this way we are giving it more power than it deserves.
It’s just candy. It’s not all that. You can choose what you like, savor it fully with no guilt whatsoever – and get on with your life.
As you adopt this reasonable and relaxed stance, each holiday will be a little less emotionally charge than the last – until one day – the thought of holiday candy will not even be a blip on your radar screen.
COMMON CONUNDRUM: The more stressed we are, the more the body needs to move – and the less we feel like doing it. The health-stealing irony here is that moving and playing is a huge stress buster!
SIMPLE SOLUTION: Being active produces happy endorphins and brings more oxygen to the brain and body. Both are key to relieving stress, empowering and enabling us to think afresh and find solutions.
STRESS BUSTING IDEAS:
• Breathe Deeply – Stop for deep breathing breaks every hour or so, or at least several times a day. Please do not underestimate the power of this. By the way, breathing deeply means your stomach (not your chest) rises as you inhale, which takes oxygen to your whole body.
• Eye on the Sky – Get out from under a roof several times a day, walk briskly with arms swinging and gaze on the sky or horizon. Breathe and release the heaviness of stress as you go, even if just for a few minutes.
• Identify and Relax Tense Spots – Stop and listen to your body. It will tell you where you hold your stress. Is it your neck, core, jaws, chest? Intentionally and repeatedly relax the tension in your body.
A Challenge: Do. These. Simple. Things. For one month. Don’t give yourself an out. We aren’t talking about perfection here; we’re talking about making some changes that will change things.
Let us know what you discover…
“We can’t solve our problems by using the same thinking that we used when we created them.” – Einstein
Albert was onto something big here. Same old thinking gets us the same old results. But the reverse is also true; when we think a new way, new things happen.
This is certainly true when it comes to our health, energy and weight. The biggest thing I’m up against as a wellness coach is never the ability of my client to change things or to reach their best health. The biggest thing to help them overcome is simply how they think about themselves and what they believe is possible for their future.
The simple truth is that you can change your health and weight. Permanently. You can turn around this time next year and be sincerely saying, “I can’t imagine thinking the way I used to think!” This happens all the time. People change and love it. And, it starts with being willing to build a new mindset.
If what you’ve been doing has not been working for you, please, stop and think about what you’ve been thinking. Thinking that is negative, demeaning, hopeless, restrictive, compulsive or frenzied is not going to take you where you want to go.
If you need some help replacing your old mindset with a new one, let’s talk about it. I am yours.
You can change your mind. And your body will follow.