Checking in at the end of National Nutrition Month
Earlier this month I told you about my personal goal to improve my eating habits and have a healthier relationship with food. I’m happy to report that I have been successful in achieving that goal. I hope all of you have also met – or are close to meeting – your nutrition goals.
I’ve found the key is being more patient with myself and accepting that making a lifestyle change is a marathon, not a sprint. Of course we all want change to happen now, but that’s not the way it works.
How to create lasting change
The first step is breaking down your goal into small, achievable steps. For example, if you want to lose weight, you could set a goal for losing two pounds per week. Rather than getting overwhelmed by your goal of losing 20 pounds, you can take it one step at a time and ultimately achieve the weight you want. As you accomplish each goal, you will build the momentum you need to reach the finish line.
Map out a meal plan for the week, keeping in mind the real-life interruptions such as a birthday party or business lunch. Clean out your kitchen, so there isn’t any junk food around to derail you. Instead of counting calories, focus on foods that will provide the most efficient fuel, as explained in The Calorie Myth, by Jonathon Bailor. Eat on your most beautiful plates to elevate the experience of eating healthfully.
Research shows that being accountable for your end goal and watching visible progress can seriously improve your chances of sticking to whatever it is you want to achieve.
Adjust your expectations
Did you know it takes about 21 days to form a new habit? Your brain is like a muscle, and it needs to be trained like one. Positive reinforcement helps.
Don’t worry if you get off track from time to time. The important thing is to focus on the progress rather than the end goal. Seek better, not best.
Interestingly, experience creates the strongest, most long-lasting synaptic connection. Through your senses of sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing, you mentally record all the information into the brain’s synaptic wiring. These newly formed neural networks cause a release of chemical neurotransmitters that, in turn, produces specific feelings. This is why every experience is followed by a feeling or emotion. To put it simply, feelings are chemical memories. For every pound you lose, the positive emotions that follow form a new neural network.
The bottom line: your ability to change is based on your ability to learn from experiences, and then adapt or modify your behavior in the future.
Be the change you wish to see in yourself. If you want to change the way you live your life, you have to stay focused. Envision the person you want to become and believe you will succeed.
Good luck and keep me posted!