Over the years I have spent so many hours, days, months, and yes years, wasting time. Planning but not taking action.
A diet could not start because I wanted to wait until after the holidays.
I could not try a new sport or activity because I was not in shape.
The list could go on.
one day I finally had enough, why was I not enjoying my life? Why was I waiting. Did I want to die with so many regrets?
That was when I started to take action, even on my own. I met new people who became good friends and I got into shape while doing fun activities. The people I met doing activities were not all skinny jocks but normal people. All shapes and sizes and abilities.
what I have learned if if you don’t do something now, when will you do it? Because there will always be an excuse not to.
I was too busy to stop for lunch, documents were due, people were shouting that they needed information from me. Grabbing something quick between tasks was all I could do.
If I was asked what I ate for lunch, I could not tell you. Not sure what I actually had, or what it tasted like.
Eating without thinking about what you are eating or even enjoying what you are eating is something that can cause you to overeat.
You pick at a pack of biscuits or crips and before you know it, the whole pack is gone.
Did you even enjoy them?
I decided one day that I like food, why was I not enjoying eating?
I left my desk at lunch and went over to the cafeteria, instead of asking for a take away I had a plate and sat at one of the tables. My computer was not with me so no emails, I turned the ringer off my phone for a few minutes and enjoyed my meal.
The break was only half an hour but when I returned to the office I felt rejuvenated. I got so much more work done than I usually did because I was fresh and recharged.
There are so many reasons why slowing down over your meal is good for you, but for me I enjoy the break. I love returning to work and getting more work done in less time as well. That half hour is worth it.
Now during covid while working from home, I work in my home “office”, my spare bedroom. I go into the office in the morning, then at lunch, leave to return to my home cafeteria. Sitting and eating in another room helps me to recharge so I can return to my home “office” and get more done. At the end of the day I leave my office and switch off the light. Before I made my spare room an office I would use a bureau. At the end of the working day I would close my office, just close the bureau so I could not see all my work items.
Making time to eat, and enjoy what I am eating helps me in many ways, this is just one.
How can you make time to eat and really enjoy your food?
How many times have you been given advice from someone who has not struggled with their weight? Sometimes I think everyone I knew had some advice.
Food was the most frequent topic of advice.
Put lemon in your water to lose weight.
Remove carbs from your diet.
Don’t eat after 6pm.
For years I tried them and had no success. In fact, I probably did more harm to myself than good.
I would wait as long as I could to eat, then be famished and ate something quick and unhealthy. Eating so fast that I would eat more than I needed.
I never lost the weight and just kept gaining. The more I gained the more advice I tried.
It went on and on. If I ate and someone made a comment about whether I really needed to eat it or would it not be better to cut back, I would start to starve myself. Eating less than my body needed to run.
After a few days I would start to feel terrible, until I had to eat. Then ate too much.
It was after surgery I found out that half a yogurt for breakfast, the filling from half a sandwich at lunch and either half a yogurt for dinner or half a cup of soup was not healthy, or enough to live on.
I was tired all the time, forced myself to keep going until I could not do it anymore.
My dietician said that that was not enough, I still did not listen until I went away on a business trip. She had said to start enjoy what I ate, and take some time off while away and sightsee.
I took her advice and ate regular meals, with small healthy snacks between. I did a walking tour of the town and took the weekend off to see the other sights.
Over 10 days I lost 10 pounds!
I was not hungry over those days and I foods that I really loved.
What did my trip teach me?
That food can help you lose weight. Not eating enough leaves you really tired, but eating too much of a bad thing is not good either.
I also realised that if I am really hungry I will eat more at the next meal, probably more than I need. My choice of food will not be as good either. So if I have a healthy snack between meals I will not be famished and will be able to make better food choices and eat a healthy amount.
Do you let yourself get so hungry that you overeat or make poor food choices? What snacks could you have that would help you with this?
Do you have a food that even thinking of it makes you cringe or want to run? I do.
I had a bad experience once, I ate a chicken Caesar salad. It was delicious while I was eating it, but I reacted badly to the lettuce. I know for sure it was the lettuce and not the chicken. Sorry to be graphic but it felt like razor blades going through my digestive system.
From that point on I cannot look at salad the same way. Even the word salad brings back bad memories.
This is wrong. Not all salads have to have lettuce, I can live without eating it. But salad is a whole type of food.
In order to eat healthy I decided to let go of my fear and remove the association I had of lettuce with salad. Now when I think of salads I think, grated carrots, chopped cucumber, lots of other vegetables, with possibly some fruit.
I realised that we can sometimes get stuck with a preconceived thought about something, it is our decision to let that hold us back or to free ourselves from it and change how we think.
As with all change it can take time, every time I thought about salads I had to remind myself that salad does not have to have lettuce. Now I can think of salads, in fact I really would like to try a brussels sprout salad.
Is there any food that you have preconceived notions of? Can you change how you thing of it?
I am looking at a river with a rock in it. The water flows around the rock, it takes the easiest path. That is something I had to learn.
Change does not have to be difficult, we just need to find the right path for us.
Diet, exercise, there have been so many times that I struggled. That I chose the difficult road, not like the water that flows around the rock.
I would choose extreme diets, or exercise at levels my body was not used to.
Then fall off the wagon and quit.
I became depressed when the extreme did not work. Eating next to nothing. Not losing weight, so eating even less.
Something snapped in me. I could teach people how to change how they worked so why could I not teach myself?
I would be more like the water. Instead of major change I would flow and make smaller changes finding an easy path around the obstacle.
The first obstacle I had was skipping meals and not eating much. You may think that is great for weight loss, but food is the fuel that helps our body run. Without enough fuel our body stores what it can and we are tired.
I needed to fuel my body. With good fuel to help it run.
The next obstacle was exercise. I needed to stop pushing myself too much. Instead of trying to do 10,000 steps a day and failing I lowered the steps to an amount I could do.
Then after reaching that goal 2 days in a row I increased it. Instead of increasing it by a lot and then not being able to reach the new goal, I increased it by the number of steps to get to the office toilet and back to my desk.
I could do an extra trip to the toilet each day, or to the kitchen for a drink.
Instead of getting depressed that I could not reach my goals I actually started to get to them, then push them further.
It was exciting, motivating. I could make more changes and soon my life was unrecognisable from before.
For years, and even now I suffer from something called Imposter Syndrome. It is really hard to acknowledge this. I do not see my success, only my failures.
This syndrome is where you criticise yourself and cannot see how good you are at what you do.
For years I was a workaholic, striving to do better. Learn faster, create better training faster than anyone else. My close friend, who is also a colleague would tell me over and over how I learn faster than anyone she has ever met, and that my standards and quality of work was higher than the client expected.
I never took it in, did not listen.
Why am I telling you this?
This affected me achieving my goal. I learned over the years to always look confident and in control but inside I was upset and felt like a failure.
No matter what I was told by the people I was training or coaching, or those who had hired me, I could only see where I needed to improve.
Last week one of my coaches ask the question, what are you afraid of?
That question floored me, I really thought about it. Was I afraid of something? Then it came to me. No, I was holding myself back because I was the one who criticised myself the most.
When someone was telling me that I had lost a lot of weight during my weight loss I would reply there was still a long way to go.
When I had lost weight and even yesterday evening someone said I had lost a bit more weight, my reply was not thanks so much, but oh no, that can’t be a good thing.
Self criticism can hold us back from achieving our goals, it can stop us from changing our mindset and becoming the person we want to be.
This is one of the reasons I love motivational mantras. They help me to remember how far I have come. That I am worthy and that I have done some amazing things.
When I feel myself criticising myself I have started to say these mantra’s, because I am worthy of success. Just like you are.
I have taught adults for over 20 years. I started out answering questions my colleagues had, they pushed me to become a trainer at a training company, then I went freelance in 2001 and work on projects where new software is being upgraded, updated, implemented or new features and processes introduced.
I love seeing how people go from dreading the change to being able to work better than they did before. This past week I have been training people on a new process as well as answering questions in two countries about the process I am training them how to use. This has reminded me of what I have learned over 20 years.
The people who go into the process who have negative thoughts about it have a harder time then those who do not. Even those who are resigned have an easier time. This shows how your thoughts towards change can make a huge difference.
When I started new diets I would think of it as a chore, dread doing it but think that it was temporary and something that I had to “put up with”.
One day I realised that I was WRONG!
I needed to stop thinking that I had to have a temporary change, in order to meet my goal I needed to think of it as a lifestyle, making changing that I could live with for the rest of my life.
Healthy food I could love.
Activity I like to do and with people I enjoy being around.
Work I love to do.
This does not mean I don’t have a glass or two of wine, or a piece of chocolate once in a while. It means my life is more balanced. When I drink that glass of wine or chocolate I do so slowly and savour it.
I am more thankful of good food and good friends.
How has your thoughts held you back?
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