Sunday, May 8, 2011

Go for the Goals

This article will also be available on the Total Cleanse website
Go for the Goals
Sarah Reid, RHNC

What do you say to yourself when you look in the mirror? Do you hate your thighs, the slight “pooch” on your middle, your stretch marks? We all have our own “self-slamming” vice(s), but the truth is that none of that self-deprecation is doing any good – quite the contrary.

Our brain is hard-wired to believe the words we hear or say – even if they aren’t out loud, and whether it’s true or not. Even if it’s a fact that you do have 20 or so extra pounds to lose for your optimal weight and health, or that you would rather watch TV for hours instead of going for a walk, if you voice these things about our bodies in a negative way, we start to feel hatred about our body as a whole and give up trying to change what you see. Think of it like how an employee would feel after several negative performance reviews in a row – nothing they do seems to garner success, so why bother putting in the effort in trying?

The riskiest part of the so-called “fat talk” or similar body dissatisfaction is linked to weight gain, diet failures, and especially eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and binge eating. More than all the front covers of Glamour and statuesque actors onscreen, the thoughts generated from inside the mind have led to over 10 million women in the US suffering from anorexia or bulimia. Even more struggle with binge eating disorder.

If you want to make changes, make them – go for the gold, as it were. But focus on all the positive things you are doing to make yourself better, healthier and stronger. Stopping all the talking down to yourself will give you the energy to jump into behaviour patterns that act like a train, ferrying you to that now attainable goal. So sit down and make yourself a “to-do” list of sorts, with your ultimate, concrete goal at the top (like “run a 5K by next April”, or “lose 20 lbs by my next physical”). Then on your list, write out habits you’d like to make or break, being sure that these actions that you can perform in your daily life match up with that goal on the top. These “to-dos” can be occasional boosts to your routine (such as going on a detox program) or long-term approaches like joining a fitness class or signing up for a healthy eating workshop). The important thing, like with your “major” goal, is to give yourself a timeline for each of these items. Remember: you are your actions, choices and decisions. You have to keep consistent with these every day to reach that goal. If you simply put down “join a gym”, rather than “do cardio exercise at the rec centre three times a week”, you’re not as likely to continue. And find a way to be accountable for these goals – tell your husband or wife, your friends, even your kids your goal and what you’re doing to reach it, and post your list on the fridge where everyone can see. Children are notorious for reminding you when you’re slipping, and rather than see it as an annoyance take it as an opportunity to rein yourself in.

The one thing about all these changes is that over time, these too may change. Circumstances come up that prevent some of the items on that list from being fulfilled as per the timeline you set for yourself, or speed them along. Feel free to go back and review it, but only make changes to your plans that stay in the vein of achieving that goal at the top and rework your timelines to fit. Whatever you do, if you have to change your plans, refuse to let the negative chatter enter your psyche again. You’ve come this far that you can confidently declare you are changing your life, not that your life is changing you.

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About Me

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I started my "working life" as a holistic and allopathic nutritional consultant with a love of cooking. Teaching the value of wholesome meal choices to families became close to my heart after I battled a long history of struggles with weight and health, and the passion for teaching led me into where I am now. My blog, which focuses on "bringing good taste to healthier food" through creative use of whole grains, fresh produce and acknowledging the importance of the occasional treat, also features a wealth of "specialty diet" friendly recipes for gluten-, egg-, dairy- and sugar- tree nut-free items that everyone can enjoy without alienating those who need them.

Overall, I want to bring back the desire for good quality, homemade, (mostly) healthy food into the hearts and kitchens of families so that the next generation will be less box-reliant than mine. I firmly believe that any “homemade” food, even when labelled as "naughty", is a more wholesome treat than pre-packaged, cookie-cutter junk. With the knowledge of good food (and how to cook good food) as a base, a healthy lifestyle can follow, and then anything is possible!