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It's All In Your Why

The 70’s and 80’s gave us more than bell bottoms, VHS and MTV. They also gave us a “diet culture” that affected our body image and how to get thin. Jane Fonda came out with her exercise videos, Sports Illustrated had their swimsuit models and Tab and Fresca were the drink to drink to “be skinny.” Did you ever restrict your calories to 1000 or 1200 a day recording everything you ate? Did you ever try the Grapefruit Diet, The Starvation Diet or The Cookie Diet? Isn’t it ironic that these diets came out about the same time as packaged and processed foods were spiking? Then in the 90’s when the “low fat” diet craze started, many of us were buying Snackwells by the box thinking we could eat as many as we wanted because these didn’t have fat and it was the fat in food that was “bad.”

We know so much more now. A calorie is not just a calorie. Eating 100 calories in an apple is completely different from eating a 100-calorie cookie or bag of chips. Eating for nutrition to nurture our body is so much more humane and loving to ourselves. But that diet culture left many of us with poor body image, a deprivation mentality and a notion that foods are either good or bad. Many of us have learned diets don’t work. How many times have you lost and gained the same five, ten or twenty pounds? The US weight loss and diet control market is now up to $72 Billion.

Click this link to read more.

Can we change our thinking? Instead of trying to follow a specific diet that a friend swears by, can we start to pay attention to how our own mind and body work together?

Get To Know Your Why

The first thing I recommend is to ask yourself, Why do I want to (fill in the blank) lose weight, build muscles, change my diet, sleep better etc. Knowing the why behind what you want is what will make it easier to stick with your healthy lifestyle choices. Once you know why, let’s go deeper. For instance, let's say I want to lose weight to bring my blood pressure down naturally. I can then ask myself, why do I want to bring my blood pressure down? I want to get off of medications and I want to lower my risks for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Why do I want to lower my risks? Because I want to enjoy my retirement and be around and healthy for my children and grandchildren. Enjoying my golden years and being around for loved ones is a much bigger why than lowering my blood pressure to get off meds.

Now that I’ve given you an example, try this out for yourself. What is your why? Then go deeper.

Set A Goal For Yourself

This doesn’t have to be a big goal. You can start small and build from there. Knowing your why will help you set a goal. Let's say you choose to stop snacking after dinner. This is a simple goal but it may not be easy. Creating a clear and specific action plan can help keep you motivated.

  • Put it into practice–Imagine carrying out your goal from start to finish. Make a list of each action step in order and include relevant details such as when and where. Once I finish dinner I will clean up the kitchen and then go brush my teeth.

  • Make it enjoyable–Instead of snacking I will call my friends or family to visit, play a game, go for a walk, take a bath. Choose something you enjoy doing that doesn’t revolve around food.

  • Reward yourself– Choose a timeline and when you go a week or two without snacking after dinner, reward yourself with something that means something to you. A trip to the salon, dinner out with friends, a new candle or bubble bath.

  • Make your space work for you– Our environment heavily influences our behaviors. Clearing out clutter in our cabinet or pantry, not bringing foods in the house that we tend to turn to for snacking and keeping the kitchen counters clear are all ways to make your environment more conducive to healthy habits.

  • Have a backup plan–Things don’t always go as planned. Anticipate and prepare for anything that may get in the way of you reaching your goals. Have herbal teas or bubbly water on hand in case you feel you need something. Plan something into your evening in case you need a distraction, a walk, trip to the library, MELT, yoga or meditation.

You can try using the SIP strategy.

  • STUDY– Learn a concept or get familiar with a change you want to make.

  • INTEGRATE– Take the information into your mind and transform it into action.

  • PRACTICE– Consistent repetition, health and wellness doesn’t change overnight. It is the byproduct of our daily decisions over time. Practicing this change or new habit consistently over time is the key to long-term change and successful outcomes.

Keep Yourself Accountable

We all have different accountability types. You are ultimately responsible for you. What plan will work best for your personality? How would you like to monitor your progress? How would you like to keep yourself on track? There are many ways to keep yourself accountable–technology including apps and fitness trackers, calendars, journals, lists and planners. A client of mine who wanted to drink more water put out eight pennies on her kitchen counter. She would put a penny in a jar every time she drank a glass of water. Her goal was to have all eight pennies in the jar by the end of the day. Sometimes something so simple but visual can be a good reminder of sticking to what we set out to do so we can enjoy the benefits of healthier habits. Click here to read a past blog post Those Little Habits.

No matter what your goal is and whether it’s big or small, you can achieve what you set your mind to do. It’s not that it will be easy, but following steps to keep you on track will keep you on your path. I have just a couple spots left for Holistic Coaching Clients this September. Send me an email to We’ll set up a complimentary consultation call to see if we’re a good fit to help you on your journey.

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