There are many things each of us should address on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis. The first of which are our goals. What are our short-term goals? What do we want to achieve in the next week? Not having snacks after 6 pm? Would you like to feel lighter, knowing your efforts have created results? In the next month would you like to be down one inch in your waist? In three months — have normal blood sugars?
We need to be firmly aware, always, why we are going to change our habits of eating and exercise, otherwise we won’t make any major change, and we will be left with disappointment and frustration. Do you want to lose weight to improve your diabetic numbers? Improve your ability to climb stairs without becoming short of breath? Possibly, improved mobility to play with your grandchildren? Many of us are limited getting up and down off the floor due to poor flexibility, and we are missing out enjoying true ‘play’ with these children.
Please write and re write your reasons and goals constantly. Whatever your reasons, are these reasons aligned with the way you are choosing foods? If there is a disconnect, and you are snacking and forgetting your values and goals, then it’s time to sit and contemplate what strategies you need to set in place to bring your eating habits in line with how you want to feel and look.
Maybe there are many barriers (or are these excuses?) to following through with clean eating. Going out with friends, socializing, travel, family obligations to get kids to their sporting events. All of us can come up with solutions rather than excuses not to be able to choose ‘good’ food. If other people can do it, in the same circumstances, why not you or I?
Identify those barriers and write down strategies that you can be prepared to implement when life becomes chaotic. Certainly, one way is to simply not eat. If you are rushing to a soccer game, you don’t have to eat anything at a fast food place—have a coffee instead. When we are busy and distracted, we fall into old habits and ‘allow’ ourselves to have food that is not necessary for our weight, and certainly not good nutrition.
Reevaluate your goals daily; don’t lose sight of them, otherwise we will react to the food around us and feel guilty later that we didn’t pay attention to what we wanted to achieve that day or that week. It’s no different from studying for an exam; we can work daily and be prepared or do nothing and somehow hope we can be prepared at the last minute. So many people want a crash ‘diet’ thinking that if they get the weight off quickly, it will stay off. Spoiler alert. It won’t, because we haven’t addressed our long-term relationship with food, and gone through modifying our behaviors repeatedly, such that we become resilient to the temptations of all the food around us.
Make some rules and see if you can stick to them. No carbs except vegetables after 3pm? No snacks after dinner? If you don’t stick to the rules you’ve created, examine why not. Is it fatigue, stress or social situations? Become more and more aware of the triggers and barriers so you can develop long term techniques to cope with them. These will be recurring situations for the rest of your life.
Think long term. How healthy do you want to be at 50, 60, 70, 80? Have you thought that far ahead? Imagine being healthy and vibrant and enjoying the outdoors, on no meds; no cane, no walker. Independent! If you could look into your future, what things would you do now to maintain your health? Certainly, exercise and strength training and flexibility exercises. You would avoid adding extra pounds by avoiding simple carbohydrates, avoid seed oils and sugar in general. The future is now! Don’t wait for Monday or next Friday. Begin your health journey today, and if you slip, don’t get upset, start again immediately.
You can do it! Dr. Doug