Tag Archives: motivation

How You Can Improve Eating Behavior in 2013

New Years calanderJust in time for your New Year’s Resolution, this great article provides a few tips to help keep you on the right track for 2013!

Courtesy of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

By Carolyn O’Neil

If you’ve banned bonbons and sworn off french fries, I don’t need to tell you that New Year’s diet resolutions are among the most popular self-improvement declarations.

But the trouble with telling yourself to make big changes — whether it’s with food or finances — is that it only takes a few slip-ups and you’re back to your old tricks again. That’s why nutrition experts say don’t be so rough on yourself, because adopting healthier eating behaviors takes some time.

In her new book, “The Food Lover’s Healthy Habits Cookbook,” registered dietitian Janet Helm writes, “One recent study found that it takes an average of 66 days before a new habit becomes automatic.”

She adds that long-term behavior change is the result of small victories and little daily tweaks. For instance, when ordering a veggie omelet, ask the kitchen to double up on the veggies and halve the cheese to shave off significant calories and add fiber and nutrients.

Sometimes a new habit means continuing to enjoy the splurge foods you love, but less often.

“Eat your special foods in reasonable amounts,” registered dietitian Jill Nussinow suggests. “If you love cheesecake and eat it a few times a year, that’s fine. Love great croissants? Eat them occasionally, as in when you go to Paris or the best bakery around.”

Be specific

Diet declarations such as “I’ll never eat out again!” are just way too broad to be believed. Helm advises being as specific as possible so goals are action-oriented. For instance, instead of “I’ll be more active,” she suggests “Get up 30 minutes earlier so I can walk in the morning before work.”

Or, let’s say you love Southern foods. Rather than promising to back away from bacon totally, learn to enjoy Southern flavor favorites in moderation.

Resolve to eat more

While most folks think of nutrition improvements as a list of the things they’re not supposed to eat, registered dietitian David Grotto has come up with the lists of food you should be eating more to be healthier.

In his new book, “The Best Things You Can Eat,” he ranks nutrient-rich foods “For everything from aches to zzzz.” For instance, Grotto’s top foods for lowering cholesterol fall into three categories: whole grains, berries and legumes. Garlic, apples and olive oil make the list, too.

Another happy side effect of eating more healthy foods is that they keep you feeling full while crowding out the junk foods and fast foods you may be trying to consume less of in 2013.

Carolyn O’Neil is a registered dietitian and co-author of “The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous!” Email her at carolynoneil@aol.com.

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10 Ways to Stay Motivated

1.   Think wellness not weight loss. Rather than the numbers on the scale, focus on the long term goal of wellness for your life. Make good food choices a part of your lifestyle change instead of “just” making good food choices until you’ve reached your goal weight.

2.   Limit but do not eliminate. If you completely eliminate all of your favorite foods, you will only crave them. Allow yourself your favorite indulgences but limit your portion and frequency.

3.   Celebrate small victories. Fitness goals are more like a marathon than a sprint, they take time and patience. Start by setting small goals, track your progress, and celebrate every goal met, no matter how small.

4.   Drop the “perfect” mentality. Having a moment of weakness is okay. Learn to pick yourself up and get back on track. Try doing an extra activity to make up for a lapse.

5.   Find an accountability partner. Choose a friend, co-worker, group, or family member that has the same or similar goal as you. Enlist this person to help keep you on track to reach your fitness and healthy living goals.

6.   Focus on what is going right. If you miss a work out or two, do not get discouraged. Instead acknowledge the actions you are taking to reach your goal and remember why you are doing them.

7.   Be your own motivator. Place notes around the house with a motivational reminder, such as “You can do it!” or “I feel great!” or “You are doing great!”

8.   3-Step your goal. Having one large goal to lose 30 pounds can be overwhelming. Break your large goal into three smaller, more achievable goals. That will help you gradually build healthy choices into your lifestyle.

9.   Step away from bad influences. Do certain stores, restaurants, foods or friends lead you to make unhealthy choices? Stay away from triggers that tempt you back into unhealthy habits. Find places and people that will influence a healthier lifestyle for you.

10.   Keep a success journal. Documenting your success can help build confidence in your ability to reach your goal. Keep a journal next to your bed and write down each day’s successes (for example: felt tired, but managed to go to the gym for a work out). Review it weekly/monthly to see how far you have come.

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Don’t have time to exercise or be healthy?

Published:April 22, 2012Image

A New York Times columnist recently came across this article from the Wall Street Journal, “Are You As Busy As You Think?” Here are her thoughts:

After explaining in some detail studies that were conducted to show that Americans grossly underestimate the amount of free time they have, the author made a suggestion that immediately flipped a switch for me.

Instead of saying ‘I don’t have time’ try saying ‘it’s not a priority,’ and see how that feels.

Try it: ‘I’m not going to edit your résumé, sweetie, because it’s not a priority.’ ‘I don’t go to the doctor because my health is not a priority.’

If these phrases don’t sit well, that’s the point. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don’t like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose differently.

Stating that I didn’t exercise because I didn’t have time sounded entirely reasonable to me. But when I changed it to say, “I don’t exercise because taking care of my body is not a priority,” I suddenly felt completely out of alignment with that excuse. I knew that it didn’t sit well with me because it’s not who I am or who I want to be.

So I went for a walk, taking slow deliberate steps, acknowledging the fact that my body was responding positively to being outside and the movement was helping to clear my mind.

The next day I did a yoga video in my living room, using my TV to help me–instead of hinder me–in my attempt to be kind to my body.

That weekend I committed to twice weekly work out sessions with three of my girlfriends, knowing that giving my word to others would help me stay accountable to myself.

When I decided to take the excuse of time off the table, I began to take notice of the underlying reasons — the real reasons — why I did or didn’t do certain things in my life:

  • I avoided calling my ailing grandma because I didn’t want to be witness to her deterioration, I’d rather remember her as she was when I was young.
  • I gave up drawing because it brought to the surface feelings of inadequacy I struggled with when I attended art school.
  • I abandoned the idea of taking photography classes because I didn’t feel like I would ever have the eye for it.
  • I ate processed foods and take-out because I didn’t trust that I could ever really learn how to cook and I was embarrassed at any attempts I made to try.

Each of these things had been grouped in the same category — “the things I should do but simply don’t have time for.” Creating this broad umbrella in which to place them under was the easiest way to curtail the real issues, the real insecurities, the real hurts I was consciously or unconsciously trying to cover.

While I’m more aware of the things I’ve worked to avoid now than I’ve been in the past, I haven’t corrected every single one of them just yet. However I do notice that taking the comfortable, fall-back excuse of “time” out of the equation makes keeping certain things the same seem counter-intuitive.

When you expose the truth of why you do things, it prompts you to make decisions that fall more into alignment with who you are and the direction you wish to move in. To me, this seems incredibly empowering.

Is time an excuse you’ve used in the past to get out of doing something that’s in your best interest or in the best interest of those around you?

Here are a few questions I asked myself when I started exploring this in my own life:

  • What are all of the things I haven’t done because I “didn’t have the time?”

Not everything you put on the back burner is something you should pursue, but making a list of everything you’ve avoided with this excuse can be incredibly eye opening.

How do you feel when you pair each of the things on your list with the statement, “It is not a priority?” If it doesn’t feel like something you’d want to repeat out loud, then it’s likely something you should look into further.

  • What is it that I’m really trying to avoid?

Sometimes we are trying to avoid failure, other times we’re trying to avoid hurt — either way we are simply hindering our growth by avoiding tasks or situations that could get us out of our routine and teach us something great.

  • Where is my time going?

Do a time audit. If you spend ten minutes a day checking Facebook, that is over an hour a week that could go towards taking a class or catching up with a friend.

The time is there, it’s simply a matter of spending it more deliberately.

Each day I now set my intention to give my physical body the same amount of attention I give my mind. I know that it’s possible and time is no longer an obstacle I can fall back on.

What will you pursue now that you have the time?

By Tiffany Reed of the Spokane Regional Health District. 

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