Friday, February 12, 2010

3 Ways to Return to Your Diet and Fitness Resolutions Pt. 2

By Amy Phillips-Gary

In the previous blog post, I talked about those “oops” moments-- when you've set diet or fitness goals for yourself only to discover somewhere down the road that you've veered quite far from the course you intended.

Sometimes we are very aware of the splurge we are having or the “vacation” from the gym we are taking. Other times, we simply get so caught up in life we don't realize that we're eating and moving (or not) in ways that we'd supposedly sworn off for good.

It happens.

These two posts are all about encouraging you to get back on the track that you set for yourself. As I suggested previously, re-framing and re-phrasing your diet and fitness resolutions in terms of commitments might help you return to your goals in more sustainable and self-empowering ways.

Here are 3 additional suggestions...

#1) Forgive Yourself
I can't even count the number of times that I've noticed myself eating spoonfuls of cookie dough when I'd promised myself just 1 or 2 cookies. I then usually proceed to feel a number of emotions: shame, embarrassment, frustration, anger, irritation, sadness, helplessness and out of control.

You can probably guess that none of these emotions ever help me to stop eating cookie dough or cookies. I am taken further away from my promise to myself as the self-criticism builds and grows (along with my waistline!).

Instead, I could make a giant move back toward the diet and fitness goals I've set for myself by taking a interrupting this pattern and, instead, forgiving.

Forgiveness is an amazing and powerful practice.

As you forgive yourself, you clear away all of that blame, judgment and even self-pity, if that's mixed in there too. You don't have to beat yourself up anymore. You've probably already experienced that this isn't an effective motivator anyway.

Even if you don't believe it at first, instead of the self-castigation, repeat to yourself, “I love you, I forgive you.”

Repeat that sentence and allow yourself to open up more and more to the meaning behind the words.

Forgiveness tends to create internal space that was previously taken up with all of the blame, judgment and self-pity. From that expanded internal space, there's so much more room for choice.

What will your next move be?

#2) Return to the Present Moment
When you forgive, you essentially let go of whatever “oops” just occurred. You are now ready to come back to the present moment.

This is where your power and your capacity to make conscious decisions resides.

Spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle so wisely says: “Through forgiveness, which essentially means recognizing the insubstantiality of the past and allowing the present moment to be as it is, the miracle of transformation happens not only within but also without.”

Each morning before you get out of bed, you might consider setting your diet and fitness goals or intentions for the day. Just for that day.

Be specific and be realistic.

If you have a super busy day at the office, perhaps an hour-long trip to the gym in the evening is unlikely. Set daily goals for yourself that you can relatively easily follow and feel good about.

Remember, the more success you encounter, the easier it can be to continue on this path.

Particularly before you eat anything, take a few seconds to check in with yourself. Will eating this particular food or this amount of food help you keep to your daily goal? Make the choice to eat or not eat whatever it is from a present and conscious place.

#3) Know Your Triggers
Triggers. We all have them.

These are those seemingly insignificant words, events, days of the week, times of day, visual, auditory or sensory cues that somehow transport us back to another time and place-- often one that was unpleasant, undesired and perhaps even traumatic.

Triggers can come up in the middle of a conversation you are having with your partner. They might emerge when you hear a particular song on the radio. They could pop up when you face an apparent block with a project you are working on.

When we are triggered, we can seem to lose control. We might find ourselves saying, doing, eating or not-exercising in ways that we later regret.

Triggers can be food-related. Some of us turn to food when we feel overwhelmed, bored, depressed or dissatisfied. We use foods (usually those foods that are not included on our healthier eating diets) to cope or attempt to escape.

If this happens in your life, it's important that you get to know what specific things trigger you.

Notice if you reach for chips when you feel overly busy or overloaded during your workday, for example. If so, take care of your overwhelmed feelings as soon as you recognize them by taking a short break if possible. Step away from your desk; go get a glass of water and remember to breathe.

The key here is to soothe whatever feelings you are having in ways that will allow you to maintain your daily eating (and fitness) goals.

It doesn't matter how many times you fall off the proverbial diet and fitness wagon. Get back up, love and forgive yourself and return to living more fully and mindfully in this present moment.

Do this all the way to a healthier, happier, more fulfilled you!

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