The Great Spring Breakup: It’s Time for Healthy Change
Healthy Weight Is Based on These Three Things: FOOD, HABITS and MINDSET.
This is a theme we are going to keep coming back to over and over to help you shift your focus from going on a diet to making a lifestyle change. In life, sometimes we have unhealthy food, bad habits, and thoughts that really derail us on our journey to health and wellness. It’s time for change, time to clean house, and time for our Big Spring Breakup.
Does it make sense to get rid of foods from our diets that trigger us to crave sugar? Should we step away from bad habits that jeopardize our health? What about the ridiculous stories that we tell ourselves? We can definitely do without negative mindsets. Do we need to break up for a season, or is this just one of those breakups that needs to last forever. Here are some great break up tips to help you make positive changes to achieve your healthy weight and more importantly maintain it.
How to Break up with a FOOD
They say that breaking up is hard to do…. If you’ve ever been through a breakup, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Sometimes what we love the most isn’t what is best for us.
I’m talking about breaking up with FOOD. Letting go of the foods with the strongest gravitational pull, the ones you can’t walk past in the store or stop at just one. Trigger foods.
Trigger foods can make you crave more and eat more. These foods are generally eaten out of habit or emotion, and not necessarily hunger! Your trigger food is something you probably feel addicted to at times and is most likely processed, high carbohydrate and high calorie.
If you’ve already begun your weight loss journey, you’ve probably had a tough conversation with your trigger food. But how did that talk go? Was it a “goodbye forever” or a “see you later”?
Imagine this scenario: You’ve worked so hard to create a new, healthier lifestyle and lose weight. You’re feeling so good! Then you see it. The potato chips*, the M&Ms, the popcorn. You think to yourself “I’ve done all the work and I can handle this. I can have just one.” But can you?
In a perfect scenario, we could have just one. In an ideal world, we would catch ourselves in that decisive moment and always make the better choice to stop at one bite, one French fry, one jellybean. But those decisive moments happen in a split second and aren’t always conscious decisions. Often, they’re automatic; an old and not-yet-dead-and-buried habit.
It takes willpower to say no to temptations when they’re literally right in front of us or to stop at just one. But as we’ve all experienced at some point in our lives, that willpower isn’t always there when we need it. Self-control can fade quickly when we’re tired, stressed out, hungry, overwhelmed, or when our minds are already fully taxed with other mental and emotional challenges. Your logical, rational brain gets tired of the struggle and wants to be impulsive. When willpower fades, it’s essential to have your environment set up to support you in making healthier choices. So don’t walk down the snack aisle at the store. Don’t even look at it. Ask your family members not to bring home the Ben & Jerry’s. Tell the server at the restaurant that you don’t want the chips and salsa* on the table.
BREAK UP WITH YOUR FOOD. FOR GOOD.
Write a breakup letter! Tell your trigger food how you really feel, then say goodbye forever! Share your letter with a close friend, your spouse or your coach for accountability. Hang it somewhere visible in your home as a reminder. And don’t look back. As with any breakup, it gets easier with time and before you know it, your ex-food will be a distant memory.
How to Break Up with a Bad Habit
Making changes in our behavior and habits can be really difficult. Many habits we’d like to change have been with us for a long time. They bring immediate pleasure, but eventual remorse and unwanted health problems. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed by the enormity of adding in so many new healthy habits and eliminating all the old ones. Rather than trying for a complete makeover, we can start with one small change and give ourselves a confidence boost and a little boost to our health in the process. It’s time to break up with a habit!
So how do we break up with a habit? Here are a few ways to make a change.
Break your habit up into smaller pieces. Are you wanting to give up coffee? Give up just your afternoon cup. Wanting to watch less television? Give up the last hour before bedtime. Want to eat less takeout food Choose one meal to replace with home cooked food. Giving up on something we do a frequently can feel overwhelming, so make a decision to do less of it, knowing that every little step we take is good progress toward better health
Put your temptation out of sight and make it more difficult.
Putting extra steps between ourselves and our bad habits makes them more difficult to implement. Some of these suggestions might seem a little whacky, but when we want to make changes badly enough, sometimes we have to take big steps to make it happen. Putting your phone across the room at night will make it impossible to scroll social media right before sleep or snooze the alarm too much in the morning. Leaving your credit card at home might stop large impulsive purchases. Putting your wallet in the trunk of your car might make drive thru options more difficult. Taking the batteries out of devices that lure us, or placing things in hard to reach or out of sight places can keep the objects of our habits more difficult to get to.
Replace your bad habit with a new good habit.
Replacing a bad habit with a healthy habit has twice the benefits! Replacing a nightly glass of wine with a cup of healing herbal tea, going for walk instead of snacking before dinner, going to bed early instead of snacking late at night, meditating in the morning instead of sleeping in, drinking bubbly water instead of sugary sodas, or saving money instead of spending it all pay off double!
Remind yourself of the benefits of this change.
Sometimes we have to talk ourselves out of doing something that’s not good for us. Writing little notes or having a few simple reminders for ourselves can help. “If I stay out of the snack aisle at the grocery store, I will save both money and calories.” “If I drink less coffee, my stomach will feel better, and I’ll sleep more soundly.” “If I stop snoozing my alarm, I’ll have more time in the morning.”
Track your progress.
Habit tracking creates accountability, and it helps us to see our progress. Get a calendar or make a spreadsheet and give yourself a star or a check for every day that you are successful with giving up or replacing your habit. Make a pact with yourself to never miss twice. If you go back to your habit one day, that doesn’t mean you have to go back to it for good. Give it up the next day and begin tracking your progress again.
Give yourself a reward
Rewards reinforce our desired changes. Think of something you’d like to give to yourself as a reward after a certain period of time and track your progress until you earn your reward—a massage, a new pair of shoes, a special meal or activity that makes your efforts worthwhile. After earning your reward evaluate whether you need to still be working on this same habit or if it has become easy for you, maybe it’s time to go ahead and tackle the next one.
We are all works in progress attempting to make improvements to ourselves so we can live happier, healthier longer lives. Give yourself time and grace as you go through the process of making changes to your habits.
How to Break Up with a Situation or Tradition
When you think of holidays like St. Patrick’s Day, do you think, “I’m going to have some green beer or maybe in Irish Car Bomb!” What about Easter? Do you need to have a chocolate bunny, a Cadbury Egg, or ham with macaroni and cheese? Do you find yourself being asked to bring a certain cake, cookies, or unhealthy entree that you’ve become known for to a potluck or family gathering? What about Margarita Monday, Taco Tuesday, Wine Wednesday, Thirsty Thursday, TGIF……
Do you get where we’re going with this? How can we possibly be successful with a healthy eating plan when all of our traditions center on unhealthy choices? Just because we’ve done something the last 10-20-30 years doesn’t justify continuing to do it when we know better.
It’s time to break up with these traditions and situations.
If we want to live a healthy lifestyle, and have our kids, friends and extended family think more positively about the food they eat and their overall wellness, doesn’t it make sense to lead by example?
Take small steps to make healthy changes.
Rethink your days of the week! Motivation Monday, Terrific Tuesday, Workout Wednesday, Thankful Thursday, Friendly Friday, Spa Saturday, Sunday Funday. Once you rename the days, pick a healthy activity, craft, guided meditation, anything that supports this new view of your week.
Want a green drink on St. Patrick’s Day? Order a Muddled Mint/Basil Club Soda with Lime. Make a cheesy broccoli bake instead of macaroni and cheese for Easter. Come up with an alternative to that unhealthy entree/dessert that you’ve become known for.
Maybe you decide to make a big change and build NEW healthy traditions. Start bringing healthy options to your potluck dinners, make creative veggie platters for the holidays, have a fruit and cheese plate for dessert instead of cakes or pies.
Guess what?!?! You will get to be known as the HEALTHY person. People will ask you to bring that amazing healthy dish. As time passes, people will ask what you brought to a party, because they KNOW if they eat what you bring, they won’t feel crappy the next day.
How to Break-up with an Unhelpful Mindset
Our thoughts have the power to heal or destroy, build or tear down, bring hope or destruction. What thoughts are you listening to and how can we “break-up” with thoughts that are unhelpful? A simple strategy is to:
- Acknowledge or “Break-Up with”
- Reframe or Rebuild
Unhelpful thinking “I am bored, I am going to get a snack.”
Helpful thinking “I am bored, I am not hungry, so I am going to find something to do.”
Seriously, how does boredom relate to eating? They don’t but somehow, we allow them to be all too often. Eating doesn’t change boredom, a project, activity, task or to-do list changes boredom. (And don’t we all have some of those lying around?!)
This is one example…
Do you have thoughts that you need to reframe? Talk to your health coach about them!! Often we have unhelpful thinking that can be reframed to help us stay on track with our health and wellness goals.
Is self-sabotage a well-traveled road for you? Have you set goals but find “old thinking” creep in and lead you back to old behaviors?
Example – You just started a new healthy eating plans and friends ask you to dinner…
Sabotaging thinking: “I will eat whatever I want tonight and start again tomorrow”
Helpful thinking: “I love this restaurant and know how my old favorite meals taste; this is a great time to try something new that helps keep me on track.”
Simple steps to stop self-sabotaging yourself:
- Identify patterns of self-sabotage.
- Be preemptive in these moments, have a plan, be prepared ahead of time.
- Rethink these moments, instead of as a threat, an opportunity to apply your new goals, mindset and objectives.
- Acknowledge your new strategy and way of thinking each time you overcome a traditionally self-sabotaging trigger.
Are you a mind-reader? Have you ever said, “I have to eat these cookies, because __________ made them for me and they would be really upset if I didn’t eat them.” Or “I had to eat the hot dog because it would make other people uncomfortable if I sat there and didn’t eat with them.”
Are these helpful thoughts? Do we really know how someone else is thinking? Often, we don’t. And likely if a friend knew that we were working on our health and had goals, they would support them no matter what!
Share the cookies with a neighbor or co-worker, make a healthy food choice, even when no one else is… and break-up with mind-reading!! Keep your focus on your goals, your WHY, your mindset and health!
Have you labeled yourself? Are you a stress-eater, come from a heavy family, have “always” been this way, foodie, comfortable with where you are?
Are these labels serving you well or are they keeping you STUCK?
Often, they are like quicksand, even when we start making changes, they have the power to suck us back in. We need to break-up with old labels that don’t serve our health or our goals well.
Try these out and see if they feel different….
“I may tend to eat when I am stressed but I can pursue new ways of managing my stress.”
“I have come from a heavy family, but I can learn to eat, move, and think differently and live at a healthier weight.”
“I have been “this” way in the past but how I am in the future is yet to be decided and I have the power to change that.”
“I may be a foodie and in the past that meant heavy sugar and fat foods but now I will be a foodie of healthy foods with variety of flavors, seasonings, vegetables, and proteins.”
“I keep telling myself that I am comfortable at this weight, but I know I can feel better, have felt better, and I am worth the work to achieve it.”
Feels different, doesn’t it?? It’s open-door thinking, acknowledging old labels and giving yourself the tools to move beyond that limited label.
While breaking up with unhelpful labels, consider giving yourself new labels, some that lead you to live your best life possible – You are Strong, You are Able, You are Enough, You can, You are worth it, You are healthy, You can make difficult choices, You can overcome temptations!!
“Comparison is the thief of joy” – whoever said this, was spot on! I hear it often said, “Skinny people don’t have to worry about what they eat.” Now tell me, is that helpful?? NOPE! Does it make you feel good? NOPE! Is it true? Almost always, NOPE!
Yes, there are some people who eat whatever they want and seem to stay thin, but this certainly doesn’t mean they are healthy. Bad food likely still has some negative effects on them, food is fuel for everyone and if you give your body poor fuel long enough, the effects of that will show up.
Back to NOPE – the truth is if you watch your skinny friends or talk to them, they do worry about what they eat. I have done this over the years and found that my “skinny” friends make different choices, often weigh themselves daily, drink a
lot of water and pursue healthy eating. I have a friend who did our weight loss protocol years ago to lose about 7lbs, although she didn’t “look” like she needed to lose weight at all, losing that 7#s made her feel so much better. Since that time, she has adopted eating along our maintenance approach of eating and I rarely do I see her eat differently no matter what the environment, what restaurant, what vacation she is on. It’s how she eats!
Stop comparing, choose to live your life to the fullest, live your LIFE POSSIBLE and break-up with comparing. If you do insist on comparing yourself, compare yourself today to who you were yesterday or last year or who you hope to be tomorrow or next year. This is comparing that can help you stay on track; build you up and not tear you down and spur you on towards your goals and results!!