Sunday, August 16, 2009

Habitually... (insert word here)

I saw change yesterday, in a familiar face, and it was so powerful that I wanted to share it with you. My boyfriend and I were invited to a pig roast by some old friends. When we walked into the party, what was most notable was not the roast pig, nor the tents; it was not even the giant double water slide. It was our friend M. She looked incredible. Young, beautiful, tan. I couldn't put my finger on why exactly she looked so noticeable. Was it her festive, green hibiscus print dress? Nope. Turns out, it was that she'd lost 25 lbs.

She and I talked a lot about this. She is turning 40 in less than six months (like me), and she said she finally decided that this was the time to lose the weight she'd wanted to lose. She has an eating plan that she likes, and she sticks to it. It isn't easy, as she is a mother of three, and has a house to feed and manage every night, while also going to work. But she's doing it. And you can, too.

It's not about her plan, but about the fact that she found one that works for her, and she is committed to it. She stays on track through days of errands, and parties, and nights when she really feels challenged to stray. Seeing someone be so committed to something is admirable, and it's also quite motivating.

My boyfriend has also made some very healthy changes in his life, major changes that welcome me to eat healthier and workout more consistently with him. His sticktoitiveness not only helps me to commit to my health, but it makes me admire him so much more than I already do. He looks fabulous, and his choices promote his (healthy) goals. He amazes me.

Here are some tips below, to making healthy eating a habit.
  • Decide to change. Just plain decide. Once you really decide to change, it's just a matter or restructuring things in your day-to-day life to support that habit.
  • Water, water, water. Drink water all day long. It's okay to drink other things, too, like tea, coffee or an occasional glass of wine. Just be sure to make water your primary beverage every day.
  • Make a *good habit* bracelet. You know how people used to tie a ribbon around their finger to remember something? Well, it's like that but you wear it longer. Try a beaded bracelet (of course, I love my Good Habit Bracelet by Bella), or a rope bracelet, anything to remind you that you are in the process of creating a good habit for yourself. Feel free to pass the bracelet on to someone else, once you've met your goal.
  • Write your intention, make it present tense, and post it where you will see it often. (If you write what you want, you will continue to want it. Write it in the present tense and behave as if you've already accomplished your goal.) An example is, "I am healthy and strong" or "I drink water and eat lots of fruits and vegetables."
  • Relate the new habit to a current practice. If you want to practice deep breathing, decide to do it at every red light. (Put a sticky note in your car to remind you.) Or do ten Kegels (both women and men should do them) every time the telephone rings.
  • Start a new habit with a friend or a loved one. If you both commit to walking five days a week, do it together. If you aren't on the same schedule or in the same area, call or email each other daily as motivation. My friend Mary is doing a half Iron Man with a friend, and while training she and her friend shout mantras to each other. She said that this really gets them through the tough times.
Remember, you are human. If you slip up, or get off track, just brush yourself off and start again. It's okay to make mistakes, and you don't need to get down on yourself for them. Love yourself enough to get back on track and move forward.

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