HEALTHY BITES: Year's end: There's a power of reflection!
It’s almost the end of the year and a great time to do some reflecting.
Were you one of the millions of Americans that vowed to lose weight and get healthier in 2017? If you succeeded, wonderful! And if you didn’t, then this is the perfect time to do some reflecting in order to change the outcome in 2018.
What went well?
Rather than focusing on what didn’t go well, celebrate what did. Remember that change and progress doesn’t happen immediately. Sometimes positive change is two steps forward, one step back. And celebrating small events reinforces positive behavior, so celebrate!
Perhaps you were able to find support in the right places? Or maybe you have come to the conclusion that you enjoy some healthy foods or you lost a few inches even though you didn’t lose weight? All of these are amazing accomplishments and should be celebrated.
What didn’t work?
Did you tell yourself that you will spend two hours at the gym every morning before work and only eat 800 calories per day, only to realize it lasted for 1 week before you jumped ship?
Perhaps for you it may be better to limit a goal to one weight loss goal, like exercise or trying to get more fiber in the diet? Unhealthy behaviors develop over the course of time. Thus, replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones requires time.
Don’t get overwhelmed and think that you have to reassess everything in your life. Instead, work toward changing one thing at a time. And don't make it a resolution that you "should" want or what other people tell you to want. It has to fit with your own values.
Put some thought into it and prepare yourself appropriately for a lifestyle change.
The power of journaling
It’s been proven that those who journal, succeed. Many of those who vowed to lose weight and succeeded have done so by getting to know themselves better through journaling.
This is a daily reflection of what has worked and what hasn’t, which is half of the battle. Maybe you come to the conclusion that you like salty foods when you are stressed, or so and so is a bad influence when you dine out or getting on the scale daily helps you be more accountable.
If journaling everything on your weight loss journey seems like a daunting task, consider keeping just a food diary. Even if you are not consciously cutting calories or making healthy food choices, a food diary may still help keep your eating in check.
Many people keep a notebook or smartphone handy and write down everything that has been eaten and drank throughout the day. Even if you write it down on scrap paper and throw it away, the act of writing it down is about being accountable and is a very effective tool for weight loss. Keeping track of emotions while eating is also important.
Were you angry, sad or bored? We often focus so much on foods and calories, but our emotions are a huge part of our eating habits. If you make a connection between your emotions and overeating, counseling can be a big help in handling those feelings.
Reflection is powerful and it should be a tool used for successful weight loss and weight loss maintenance. Take some time for yourself and use it to reflect what this past year has meant to your health. Because after all, your health is your most valuable asset.