Happiness affects health, and vice-versa. Here’s how to keep both in good shape.
Identify your weaknesses and cravings
We all have certain trigger foods or foods we just can’t seem to resist. Or can we?
Your relationship with food can make a world of difference in how you eat. We often fall into a trap of using food or alcohol to deal with stress or even celebration.
And while I’m not saying don’t ever make a toast, have a holiday treat, or have birthday cake, but I do know it’s important to identify how you are doing it and be present. Be aware.
I know if I over indulge (and lord knows I can) there is a quick high followed by a long low period of guilt and regret. Remember, it’s not about perfection, it’s about progress and being at peace with your choices.
Keep your weaknesses away
The foods that you know are bigger challenges for you should be out of your own kitchen. I don’t mean hide them somewhere else: Keep them as far away as possible if you know it’s a losing battle (say with chocolate, potato chips, or ice cream).
Find positive distractions
I find that choosing to clean out the junk drawer, or reorganize the closet, garage, or basement helps me relieve stress for a longer period of time and I definitely don’t regret it (unless I find a lost bill and I guess even then it’s better than getting a late fee, right?). Decide some productive ways to reduce your stress rather than going to food, and when there is a celebration, give yourself a break but set some guidelines to keep you from the guilt.
Log your food intake in detail
You don’t have to get scientific with your intake, but the detail in which you track your food can really help you identify what works best for you. Cravings for one thing can mean you are deficient in something else. Check out these lists and try these options:
“Food Cravings: Here is what your body really wants.”
The Veggie Girl
“Craving this, eat that.”
Another great benefit to logging your intake is to be able to look back and see what you are actually taking in. We often get a taste of this or that while we cook or are getting lunch packed or don’t realize the 5 times you walked by the snack bowl and grabbed a handful of this or that.
This can actually control the amount and the quality of what you put in your body. Water intake is another big eye opener. “I drink water all the time” could really be “I carry a water bottle with me but only fill it 2 times a day.” You should get as a general rule half of your body weight in ounces a day.
If you’re sweating a lot you may need a little more. I fill up a gallon jug and bring a water bottle with me to work. I drink out of the water bottle, but know how much I have left for the day as I fill it from my gallon jug.
Try it out or tell me a tip that works for you.
Set goals (with a deadline!)
You need to write down what really matters to you.
What do you want to achieve and how and when are you going to do it? As the saying goes, “a goal with out a plan is just a wish.” Once you identify your goals and develop the plan on how to get there you need to figure out when you want to get to them.
Write it out
Writing them down can help you make this happen with a sense of urgency which as much as you may think you don’t want it, if it’s truly your goal then you want it to feel urgent. This will mold your daily choices into a more efficient road to success.
Short term can be what you will be doing today, tomorrow, this week to get there. Long term can be this month, 3 months, this year, in 10 years. Stepping stones on your way with small goals right on to your larger goals.
Writing them down, reading them daily, and keeping a copy of them with you at all times are important steps to reaching those goals. How important are your goals to you? Prove it.
Decide what matters to you
Organic, local, grass fed, free range, these are all can be healthy options, but some exploit the words with marketing and don’t always end up being healthy choices. Also, some of these things may not seem to fit into your budget.
In Vermont we are fortunate to have wonderful local farmers that are making great natural choices to help keep our crops and animal meats healthier (check out my previous post for more on that).
The great benefit to eating more local real food options the less we have to think about calories or wondering where the food came from, or even if it’s actually food at all. You have the choice to set guidelines that work for you, but be aware as much as you can of what you are actually putting in your body.
It’s one of the few things we can control that can make a difference in your immune system, energy, body, and mind. You may be able to find a friend that will go in on a grass fed cow with you to help the cost, or grow a small garden in the coming year.
Listen to how you feel
Improving how you feel is one of the–if not the most–important goals in the world.
This is not meant to sound selfish. If you are making better food and healthier lifestyle choices then you are able to be more do more and essentially be your best for you and those around you. Reflect back on your food log to see if a day that you felt off, or things didn’t go well has anything to do with your intake. It could be the timing of a meal or snack, a combination of foods and or liquids or plain and simple we all have days that are better than others.
You have a choice to take a positive outlook and react to situations in many ways. The more open mind and positive you are the easier it will be to be happy, and make the best choices for you. Take the time to check in with yourself and identify and adjust how you feel. If you can take the time to learn more about yourself and what makes you tick the more you can achieve greater accomplishments and make your life more fulfilling.
Conquering the self is the answer to being your best and getting the most satisfaction out of life. Feel better today with what you put in your body, what you do with it and your world will be a better place.