I get it.
There are only so many hours in a day. You only have so much creative energy and only so much will power. You’re keeping the family happy, you’re effective at work; how can you be expected to be consistent with positive food changes?
You know perfectly well that to lose the weight, heal your digestive woes, calm the allergies, you’ll have to cut out an entire grocery list of foods & additives, squash a lifetime of bad eating habits, and probably eat more vegetables.
The theory’s all mapped out in your head, but you just can’t seem to put those good intentions into action.
Instead, you use what precious little energy you have left at the end of the day to beat yourself up about everything you should be doing while mindlessly inhaling a pint of cherry chocolate with a salt & vinegar chaser.
It’s a slippery slope, isn’t it? You start by taking stabs at your poor food choices, until your mind inevitably points out how you haven’t been feeding the kids so well lately, not to mention all the other bad parenting moments you’ve had this week, …how did you think you can be an effective parent with everything else you’re dealing with? What were you thinking? Did you really think you could manage it all?…Is this boat you’re in all your fault because you chose the wrong man in the first place?…And now you’re going to be a fat, lonely slob for the rest of your life!
How stupid are you?!?
Right now. Just stop. Take a breath.
We’ll look at the mindless junk food habit next time; for now, let’s talk about the self-flagellation.
Would you talk to anyone else that way? Would you tell a friend what an idiot she is for eating ice cream or getting divorced? I’d wager not.
It’s time to stop being so tough on yourself and try a bit of tough love instead. You know, set yourself straight in the kind way you would with a small child you care about.
Another good theory, but it’s where you get stuck in the follow-through.
It comes down to perfection. That habit you have whereby, if you’re not going to do something to the letter, the way the experts and the health nuts do it, you’re not even going to bother.
Tell me, if the boss handed you a list of what she expects you to accomplish over the next 6 months, and told you to get it all figured out tomorrow, you’d freak out, right? You’d quit your job, or report it to the higher-ups. If, however, she explained the big picture of the goals she wants to reach by the end of the year, then gave you the first pieces to start on, it would be simple, doable.
Same goes with how you nourish yourself.
If you’ve given even half the thought to all the possible solutions you’ve googled, there are likely a few options that stand out, whether you want to admit it or not. Trust that wisdom. Chances are there’s a reason you zoned in on them.
Of all the things you know you need to do to get your body back to its happy place, pick one.
Just one. It will likely be complex in and of itself.
For example, giving up dairy is one thing you know might help your digestion.
Break it down further:
Become aware of when and how you eat it: notice through the course of a few days and/or write down all the foods you normally eat that contain some form of dairy – milk, cream, ice cream, yogourt, cheese, whey powder, butter,…
Now choose ONE of those, and replace it: instead of the milk/cream you use in a day, put almond milk in your coffee, coconut milk in your porridge or your soup, have tomato/vegetable sauce on your pasta… after a few days, even a week, move onto to replacing the cheese, and so on…
In the same way you would track the metrics and such of how your work project is progressing, you can understand how well these changes are helping (or not) by observing your body, your energy, your moods.
Notice how you feel after a meal without the usual ingredient.
Notice if any of your symptoms calm. Maybe nothing happens after a week of no milk, but eliminating the cheese then makes a difference, …does it improve more when you reduce your dairy sources even further?
What happens to your appetite, your hunger and your satiety?
What happens to your cravings?
Has your sleep improved? Your energy?
Notice where you still get stuck.
Have you run out of ideas? Do you lack motivation? Would you kill for a piece of cheese?
Get help if you need it.
Every journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step. Same applies to self-care habits.
Pick a habit to change.
Trust yourself to stick with it.
Notice what happens.
What do you KNOW you have to change and where do you get stuck? When you share your thoughts in the comments, you open the possibilities for others.
Know someone who’s been lacking consistency in her food habits? Send her this post using any (or all!) of these buttons.
Thanks for the post. Made me feel a bit better and change a little more possible.
Sometimes, I think we just put too much pressure on ourselves to do it all right, all the time. We love our children and our spouses despite their imperfections. It’s about time we show ourselves some of that unconditional love.