Everybody has a story in them, a string of events that together forms a narrative and influences their choices and behavior. Think about it, when you tell people that you are a good cook what does this mean? You may reference several meals that you have prepared over the years and the praise you received from friends and family for your creations. At a deeper level you might even remember the time you spent in the kitchen with your parents learning the nuances of putting together a meal.
You can wear a culinary badge of competence based on a history of success and you enjoy the confidence that goes along with it. The thing is, story telling works in both directions and if you are still mastering the art of boiling water you have a pretty different story. The stories we tell ourselves can both carry us forward or hinder our progress; you get to choose which one you want to listen to.
Creating a lifestyle where you achieve a healthy weight and confidence means learning a story that aligns with what you are trying to accomplish. The thing is, if you have had a difficult time with weight loss in the past your story may need revisions. In fact, you may need to do a bit more research and find co-author if you really need to make some significant changes.
Before you know where to go you need to write out where you have been. Take the rest of the week and think about your healthy living story. Who are the main characters, who are the villains, what plot twist caught you off guard and what successes did you experience. Once you have this down you can start to write the rest of the story.
Note, you don’t have to write this story alone so don’t be afraid to ask for help.
I’m a personal trainer and a counselor, I workout because it is fun and I really enjoy pushing myself. When it’s not -25 here in Chicago I like getting in a morning run but in the winter I opt for some early morning Yoga to get things going. Later in the day I block off a couple of hours for a gym workout.
Often, when I talk to my friends about my lifestyle they point out that they would workout like this if it was their job too. Well, it is your job. In fact you are the CEO of your healthy lifestyle.
I spend 30 minutes in the AM and a couple of hours in the afternoon that includes my commute to the gym and a stop a Whole Foods after. If you break down my actual gym time I work out for just a little over an hour. The thing is, I make the time, I get up early, I schedule my clients around this break in the day. I prioritize my health.
It is Monday, you have the whole week ahead of you, schedule the time you are going to dedicate to yourself today. You are the boss of this life.
In my last post I talked about setting the foundation for your weight loss journey and pointed out some strategies you can use to establish a strong base. I asked you to take a look at what is working for and against you. In this post I am going to focus a bit more on the role that awareness plays in creating a healthy lifestyle.
What does losing weight mean to you? Are you instantly hit with visions of all the things that you won’t be able to enjoy anymore and dread about stepping on the scale? If you are serious about losing weight and keeping it off you have to create a life that supports your goal. Understanding your habits and tendencies are a significant piece to the weight loss puzzle.
Over the next couple of weeks take a look at the things you do on a day-to-day basis. Do you get that latte and scone every morning before work? What is your evening routine like, do you have a couple of glasses of wine with dinner? Sure, you may be hitting a spin class three days a week but the caloric expenditure in those classes are being undone by daily habits you don’t even think about.
It may not seem like much but when you think about calories like money there is a nickel-and-diming effect that can add up over time. The better your awareness the better you will be able to attend to counter productive habits. So, use an app, write in a journal and start keeping track of what is working for and against you.
Could you imagine beginning with parallel parking when you first started driving or playing a song for friends at your first attempt at the piano? Yet, so many people start their weight loss journey in the middle without establishing a foundation to work from. It is no wonder failure rates are so high, most people are starting at the wrong point in their program.
So, where to begin? Start with a review of what you have done in the past, what has and has not worked for you? You have to take a look at the road you have traveled through critical eyes; if you lost a lot of weight over a coupe of months on a low calorie diet only to gain it back did it really work? If you don’t have many references for what has worked for you look at what has worked for other individuals. The National Weight Loss Registry is a great resource to find individuals that have lost weight and kept if off.
Next, take inventory of what resources you have available to you and what barriers you need to address. Will you be using a gym or equipment at home? Will pizza Friday be an issue for you and what is an alternative? Who in your life will support your efforts and who will razz you for not having one more beer when out and about? Your journey doesn’t take place in a bubble and you should account for as many variables as possible.
Your attitude will play a significant role in your success and you have to be open to trying new things and staying aware. Developing your awareness will be the key to really establishing a solid ground to develop from. Keep a notebook for the next couple of weeks of your eating habits and exercise routine. Check out Penzu.com for a free on-line notebook.