"Create healthy habits, not restrictions"
As diet programs constantly change, we’re all slowly starting to understand that strictness, punishment, the words can’t,don’t and shouldn’t just don’t work…
So why is it, that every time you tell yourself off, every time you set new rules, every time you tell yourself ‘try again’, or ‘Let’s start on Monday’, you fail to succeed?
I guess you’ve heard that one before. I know, it sounds so simple; easier said than done, so let’s just start with a great example; my mum!
For as long as I can remember, my mum’s life has been about dieting. Up and down, like a yo-yo. Always searching for new methods, strategies, plans and approaches. As soon as she managed to lose a little, she gained. Once she gained a little, she started all over. A continuous circle, desperate to see that magic number on the scale, and leaving her insecure for years.
Recognize yourself already?
5 years ago, she lost her brother. A painful shock that caused a fierce change in our family.
My uncle, who was blessed with an athletic build and naturally enjoyed healthy living, (didn’t drink, didn’t smoke, watched his diet and worked out, but all without pressure). He, who was told by doctors to make it to a 100, passed away due to a cardiac arrest.
Especially for my mum his loss was extremely hard to understand.
‘How could someone so strong and fit, leave us so sudden?’
Someone, who basically lived the way we tell ourselves to do, day-in-day-out, was taken away for no weight, or diet-related reason. It left us with many unanswered questions, changing our mind-set and beliefs.
Instead of giving up, my mum seized her chances and considered it as a sign to do something about her lifestyle. She felt responsible and finally saw that obsessive dieting and overthinking were not going to get her any further.
“If I'll die, I may as well enjoy life”. “I’ll just do what I feel like, eat what I want, but be wise in my choices”.
The weight game automatically adapted. How!?!?
You guessed it; mind-set!
It was the mind-set that helped her lose weight and still helps her stay on her target weight every day.
Mum started eating less, but now truly enjoyed the food she consumed. Before digging into a bag of crisps, she asked herself if she really wanted it, or if she needed it emotionally. When going to the supermarket, she made a list, bought only that was really needed and deliberately started to make conscious choices.
“All the chocolates taste the same, but the 1st is always better than the 10th - 1 is enough to please my taste buds”.
The beginning was the most difficult. Imagine being on diets your whole life; you start to forget what a normal eating pattern looks like, and feel guilty about all you’ve told yourself not to eat for so long.
She started selecting all the healthy choices she liked from her previous diets, add on and take out what she felt like. She didn’t crash, didn’t vast and didn’t put pressure or expect any drastic changes to happen (soon). She just wanted to feed her body with nutritious, healthy ingredients to feel stronger and more energised.
She started to work out, in moderation. Not in extremes, just enough. Just enough to don’t get bored of it and just enough to get toned, fit and increase her stamina.
She still eats the products we often tell ourselves not to. She still consumes the food and drinks she feels like, and we normally totally skip from our diet. Just not every day; once in a while. This way she controls her cravings (and have therefor become less and less).
"Now, 35kg (77lbs) lighter, and an abdominal correction later, she has since, stuck to a healthy weight.
As we live apart, we enjoy our holidays together, and for the first time, I now see her truly enjoy what’s on her plate. Eating slowly and mindfully. She doesn’t overindulge, doesn’t feel guilt, and if she was to gain weight, wouldn’t freak out. Because; she knows, that once back in the homeland, she gets back in her routine and will lose it gradually, without pressure.
She knows she’s in control of her consumption choices and has learned to truly listen to her body.
Last year, she turned 50 and looked better, happier, healthier than ever. I’m so AMAZINGLY proud of the strong, hardworking, most caring and loving mother and wife she is. A beautiful soul who made the most of a traumatic experience, instead of hanging in there. I couldn’t wish for a more intelligent role model.
Now, this doesn’t mean you need to lose someone to make a change.
Remember, you’re in control of your choices. You carry the responsibility for your own happiness. You’re the one to take accountability. You’re the one you can trust. And all that blah, blah, but in all seriousness…
Start simple, step-by-step, day-to-day, ask yourself;
- ‘Is this going to serve me?’ ‘How?’
- ‘Will it make me feel better in the future, or is it going to be a quick fix?’
- ‘What does my body need today?’ (It’s okay to have a cheat-day!