You know that little internal conversation you have when staring at the buffet table, open bar or other indulgent food (or beverage) choice? There’s often opposing voices or thoughts going through our minds such as “it’s not that bad, “or “you know, you really don’t need that…”
You are normal
The good news, you are not crazy if you are hearing voices too! In fact, most of us have an inner helping and sabotaging voice. I think of it as friends versus an accomplice. Our friends help us when we feel down by saying comforting words that are uplifting and encouraging like this exchange with my best friend, Gretchen:
Me: I have a craving to quit my job, eat icing out of a plastic tub, and drink a margarita. Apparently, I’m feeling stressed…
G: Is it weird that we have all the same stress things? LoL
Me: Hahaha no, makes me feel less strange. And probably just confirms the soulmate best friend thing 😛
G: What’s got you so stressed?
Me: It’s the story I’m making up around people canceling or rescheduling last minute (clearly appointments with me don’t matter… Yada yada yada)
G: I’m sorry babe. I know that gets to you. You are amazing and important. Everyone overbooks and overdoes this time of year. That’s all it is.
See how Gretchen affirmed my feelings and gave me a chance to process through my negative thoughts? On the flip side, my thoughtful office mate, Richard, is more of an accomplice. When I told him that I was stressed out and craving sugar and/or booze he offered me animal crackers with icing and a beer or wine from the mini fridge. Not that he was purposely trying to sabotage me! On the surface, it sounds like those external stimulants or numbing agents are the cure to our problems, but we typically feel worse about ourselves after using comfort foods to “feel better.”
The answer is in you
I can tell you in moments of stress nothing outside of us can make what’s going on inside feel better. Sure, the chocolate may light up some happy hormones in your brain which could temporarily take away the sadness. However, often when we turn to food or a drink to deal with negative feelings those choices cause guilt or shame, which leads to the downward spiral of making more unhealthy choices.
Recently, while speaking with the client, she mentioned when she eats ice cream with her son in the evening or on weekends her sabotaging voice will say “it’s OK, you’ll do better tomorrow.” I asked, “what does your helping voice say in opposition?” She responded, “I tell myself ‘you know you’re already gaining weight and you don’t really want to gain more weight’.”
Did you notice her helping voice sounds super judgmental?
Is that helpful?
Instead, I asked, if her friend called and explained she was feeling upset and was about to eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream “what would you say to a friend you know is trying to lose weight?” She had much more supportive words for her friend that did not include justifying or shaming her choice to eat ice cream.
Food for thought
What kind of stories is you’re sabotaging voice telling you? When do you notice yourself reaching for food or a drink to soothe your negative emotions?
How can you respond to these cravings as a friend instead of an accomplice?
Looking for a friendly dietitian to help you sort out your food cravings? We can help 🙂
Monday, Aug 21, 2017
The other night, while reading Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire, I got to thinking about my people. You know, the ones that make life more fun, doable, and interesting. I joke that God knows I am such a handful I needed two partners – one in life and one in business.
If you have ever been through tough times, you know how important relationships are. Whether it’s the relationships with your family, best friends, or church community we all want to know that we matter and have a sense of belonging. In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the need to feel loved and accepted is just above the need to be safe.
Back to Harry Potter, in the fourth book – The Goblet of Fire – Harry is competing in the Triwizard tournament. He is at least three years younger than his competitors and has less magical education, knowledge, and experience. Luckily, Harry has several helpers along his journey to give him the support he needs. For instance, his best friend, Hermione, helps them learn a summoning charm to successfully complete the first challenge. He also gets a tip from one of his fellow competitors for the second challenge, and so on throughout the story.
We cannot expect to reach our big goals alone. It is imperative to have support and help from others to succeed.
Who are you hanging out with?
Jim Rohn, a motivational speaker, says we are all the sum of the five people we spend the most time with. If your goal is to be fit and active, but all your social time is spent sitting at a friends house eating snack foods and drinking wine, is that helping you reach your goal?
In another example, we can look at Sarah’s story. Sarah has always been a healthy eater who also happens to enjoy sweets. She recently started dating a guy who loves all things chocolate. He takes candy with him everywhere and often brings chocolate to share with Sarah whenever they hang out. In the first six months of their relationship, Sarah was surprised to find she gained 8 pounds.
In life, there are helpers and hinderers when it comes to living well-balanced. We have friends and accomplices. Our friends genuinely want to help us and our accomplices want to help us… get in trouble.
Be the change
Before you go saying farewell to all of your friends or family members, let’s consider a few other options.
- Find a helper. Get someone on your team to support your health initiatives. This can be an accountability partner at the gym that encourages you to work out consistently. Or a coworker that is keeping a spreadsheet of your progress.
- Join the tribe! We have an active and fabulous Facebook group that provides ideas and encouragement to help you make healthy lifestyle changes.
- Train your people. I have a client who has successfully “trained” his guy friends that he does not drink alcohol on work nights. That means they do not offer him a beer or other drink if it’s Sunday through Thursday. This helps him continue to make good choices while still enjoying the social time.
- Get accountability. Find a friend, coach, or app that can support and encourage your healthy habits.
Food for thought: It’s never too late to ask for help. If you noticed your partner bringing more snack foods home lately and it’s affecting your habits, perhaps now is a good time to have a conversation about your goals and how the ones that love you most can help you reach them.
And while you’re at it, check out this accountability tool to help you get or stay on track! Just a few more days to sign up for 4 free weeks of the Healthy Habit Tracker.
“I’m going to do better,” you say. “I need to lose this weight and I’m starting today.” “I’m so out of shape, I’m going to join the gym.”
How many times have you said something like this to yourself without following through? Or maybe you did, but it only lasted a day, because things like this happen….
We all want to do better. It’s just not always easy getting there.
When clients come to see us at Well-balanced Nutrition it’s often not about what they need to do. They show up knowing what to do. They just can’t make it happen on their own. Maybe, just maybe, they think to themselves, there is a secret solution they can share with me so I can finally do this. That’s true, we have a few secrets to making healthy changes, but they might not be what you think.
Why is it so hard to follow through with our goals?
Because they come from within and nobody else knows about them. Many people respond to outside expectations and make them a priority, while their inner expectations fall quickly to the wayside. For example, you may want to meal prep on Sunday, but then you get asked to help someone move or your boss gives you a new assignment you want to get ahead start on. So you choose the activity that involves others’ expectations over fixing your meals for the week. Gretchen Rubin, the author of Better Than Before, classifies people like this as obligers. She says, “for Obligers, accountability is crucial. Key. Necessary! If you’re an Obliger, external accountability is the element that will allow you to follow through.” There you have it. One of our secrets to successful change.
So, are you an obliger?
If you could relate to the above scenario or if you are a person who really needs deadlines and late fees to keep you on top of things, there is a good chance that you also need similar accountability with your health habits. When people learn that they are an obliger, many are relieved. They realize it’s not their fault for letting themselves down, putting others first, nor lacking “willpower” to make a change. It’s just the way they are wired. So if you would call yourself an Obliger, instead of blaming yourself for not following through… again, this time set up some outside accountability that will ensure you make the change you desire.
Accountability: The obligation of an individual to account for their activities, accept responsibility for them, and to disclose the results in a transparent manner.
Which types of accountability will you try?
Here are some ideas:
The scale (regular weighing), your Well Balanced dietitian, your coworkers, your BFFs, your doctor, your food journal, your weight loss group, your fitness buddies, clothes you want to fit into…
There’s an app for that:
It’s never been easier to get accountability from your favorite dietitians here at Well Balanced Nutrition. 😉 We just launched an upgraded version of our Healthy Habit Tracker
and Obligers are going to love it! It allows you to track and share with us your:
- food journal
- steps (syncs up with your fitbit)
- Healthy Selfies or before and after shots
The best part is you can try using the Tracker for one month at no cost when you sign up in August (no tricks, contracts, or obligations – we promise!). So, start today because we know how much you want to make that change and how hard it can be to do it on your own. Let us encourage you along the way. We bet you finally follow through with those goals!!
We all know we need to move our bodies, that sitting is killing us, and that we ought to get to the gym or go outside more. After all, our health depends on it. Right?
BUT WAIT, we are thinking about it all wrong….
As it turns out “health is not an optimal way to make physical activity relevant and compelling enough for most people to prioritize it in their hectic lives,” says Dr. Segar, a psychologist who specializes in helping people adopt and maintain regular exercise habits and the author of “No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness.”
The exercise mistake
We are making the mistake of putting too much emphasis on the long term effects of exercise. According to the research, we spend the least amount of time exercising when we do it for weight loss and better health. That is true even for older adults, a study of 335 men and women ages 60 to 95 showed.
Furthermore, we think of exercise as hard work, a struggle, or a chore.
So what are the two secrets to exercising more?
First, make it FUN!
This may be different for everybody. What you think is fun, might not be the same thing your coworker thinks is fun. That’s okay! You get to find what works for you and your personality. If you grew up participating in team sports, then find an activity you can do in a group. If you like dancing, find a fitness class that will reflect that. Outdoor activities like walking on scenic trails or riding a bike in the neighborhood could be the right fit for those who hate the gym. If you are a busy mom or busy professional, you could find quick workouts on youtube that take 20 minutes or less that you can do from anywhere.
Second, call it anything but exercise!
Give your workout a name that focuses on the immediate benefits you will receive from moving your body. Here are some ideas to get you thinking.
- Adventure – Scenic Walk – Field Trip – Play Break – Nature Bath
- Mood Lifter – Stress Reliever – Trail Mediation – Me Time – Sanity Saver – Mindful Moment
- Brain Booster – Memory Lap – Clarity Walk – Mental Break – Focus Booster
- Daily Vitamin D Dose –Sunshine Soak – Sunshine Therapy
- Fresh Air – Breathing Break – Energy Enhancer
Food For Thought:
Similar to the word diet, exercise has a negative connotation for many of us and doing it for “better health” is just not rewarding enough to make it a regular habit. Answer these questions in the comment section below.
- What could make exercise fun for you?
- What immediate benefits of exercise do you enjoy most?
- What will you call your workout sessions now?
Monday, May 1, 2017
Like many of you, Christina is a busy professional who is in a position of leadership. She was a pretty healthy gal before she started coming to see me, but she wanted to do even better, especially as a leader in the office. Her wellness WINS are highlighted below. Her story is a reminder of how our behaviors not only impact our own lives but also those with whom we work.
Making self-care a priority
Christina hates running but she found that training for a 5K and 10K race last year kept her inspired to exercise consistently. She pushed herself because she knew being active was important for her health. To fuel her life she enjoys healthy vegetarian foods. She especially loves anything with chickpeas and fresh vegetables.
Inspiring and encouraging others
Not only do Christina’s coworkers notice and get inspired by her healthy meals she brings from home every day but they also see her taking an active role on the employee wellness team. Plus, after enjoying a fun well-balanced walking session with me around downtown Durham, she incorporated walking meetings with her staff. How fun is that!?
She also cares about her friends and encourages them to adopt healthy habits. One example includes suggesting busy professional friends invest in a meal delivery service, which can make it easier to prepare fresh and well-balanced meals at home. Click here if a meal delivery service sound interesting to you.
Now it’s your turn.
A healthy and happy team is a more motivated and productive team. Here are 3 healthy leadership tips we can all learn from Christina.
Lead by example – It starts with you. Christina found an exercise strategy that worked for her. She also packs her lunch with leftovers and keeps healthy balanced options in her desk, like that can of chickpeas :-P.
Make it fun and do what you can – Would you rather sit windowless office for meetings or enjoy some sunshine? Take your team out for a walk like Christina or break up your long meeting with a fun mini activity break. It does not need to be a sweat session, just let everyone get up or get out and move their bodies.
Provide/create a nurturing environment– Donuts and candy dishes look fun but often leave people feeling guilty or sluggish after the sugar buzz wears off. Do you have sliced veggies and a fruit for an easy colorful side dish with lunch or dinner? To live healthy and happy we need to set ourselves (and others) up for success, y’all. Check out Kristen’s blog for a few more ideas.
Food for thought
We have an opportunity to positively impact those around us, whether it’s our family, friends or coworkers. How are you leading yourself and others to healthy habits?
Which healthy leadership strategy are you already rocking?! Let us know in comments below or give a shout out to the healthy role model in your life!