If you are like me and are generally not a lover of exercise, and specifically a lover of chocolate, you might find yourself on the unhealthier side of the tracks. I got sick of always feeling tired and unhappy with my weight, and it wasn't the first time I'd felt fed up. Something had to be different this time if I hoped to change my lifestyle. My attitude needed to shift big time.
Over the last couple of months I have reached two conclusions (total epiphany moments in my books):
1. Worrying about a problem is always going to be worse for your mental well being than actually taking steps to fix the problem
2. There is a reason, a brilliant reason in fact, why people say it is best to set small and achievable goals rather than big long term ones.
These two realisations came once I had started my new (baby step) routine and have helped me keep going.
So what have I been doing to live a healthier lifestyle?
- I think it would be a big ask for me to go from not exercising at all, to hitting the gym 4 days a week. It was just not going to happen. Instead, I have committed to doing at least two 15 minute walks a day. I don't go far, just a couple of blocks and some stairs at the sports field near my house. It is small and achievable and is making a real difference to my energy levels. If exercise just isn't your thing, I really recommend this!
- Being more food smart. I haven't gone all 'I'm going to starve myself' which is never a good idea, but I have made some fairly big changes in the last year. Mainly
- Limiting my sugar intake (and yes this means fruit and honey as well, not just sweets)
- I finally stopped ignoring the fact that me and dairy don't mix, so I have cut out all milk products from my diet.
- I am super organised with my meals, including lunches for work. I make sure I have balanced healthy meals readily available. It helps avoid temptation.
- I bake. Cake isn't healthy right? Wrong. You can easily whip up yummy and healthy treats like my raspberry nut muffins and freeze them so they are always on hand.
- Urge Surfing. 'WHAT?' I hear you say? Well psychologists are starting to recognise that urges (like the urge to eat a whole block of chocolate) tend to come in waves. They have a beginning, a middle and an end. Urge surfing is the act of being mindful of these urges and the way they rise and disappear, rather than trying to ignore them or fulfil them. After a while of practising this, the urges will appear further apart, and eventually not at all.
- Take guilt out of the equation. If I miss a walk or eat something not so great, my mind goes something like this 'bummer, but next time I'll make a better decision' where as before, I would have gone down in a guilt/hate spiral that did not help at all. Be kind to yourself, I promise it is important.
I guess I started to make some of these changes last year, especially the sugar, but the daily walking has only been happening since sometime in April I guess. So far I am feeling mostly great, though stress and anxiety still have a big presence which isn't fun at all. I have lost about 10kg (which is about 22 pounds) but to be honest I don't weigh myself all that often. I do know I have gone down a size in jeans which is very very exciting!
xx Samantha Alice