With oh so much to do to make your 2013 resolution stick, I developed this handy acronym (yes it spells BETTER!) to give us an easy to remember, handy go-to for when life gets nuts, when we don’t feel like doing what we said we would, and those times when it all just feels too confusing and overwhelming. We get so freaked out when we think of all we need to do to pull off our big health and fitness goals. We obsess about not being perfect or we let ourselves behave badly because we simply can’t be perfect so why even try. We get focused on details and take on too much, when that fails, we can drift off for weeks or months before we get back on track. Use these BETTER guiding tenants to keep on track, day after day and take the bigness out of your new, big changes.
BE Who are you “being”? Are you in want of a better body, desperately wanting better health, confused or constantly wondering, “What’s wrong?” If so, you’re not being who you want to be, you’re still wanting to be her. Until you be that person or rather, that version of you, you’ll still be this one. When we are just wanting and wishing it was different, we feel guilty, fed up and frustrated. Everything we should do: the gym, the eating, the sleep, feels like a chore, a punishment. It’s frustrating and all we can see is how far we need to go. A fit, healthy person makes room for the gym, healthy meals, good sleep in their life because it’s who they are, who they be. They stay in hotels with gyms, they pack their own snacks, they aren’t afraid to pass on a cocktail or dessert because their friends will think it’s weird. They “be” health and fitness. Less trying, less struggle. More success, more ease. Not who you want to be yet? Fake it. Soon you’ll make it! It will feel phony for a while, that’s OK. Just be. EAT Eat regularly, eat smart and eat well. Eat like a sane, healthy, fit person – not a dieter. Dieter’s eat less, skip meals, get obsessed over details (like that the tablespoon of half and half in their coffee). Dieters miss the big picture and they have a shelf life – however long they can white knuckle the restriction. Smart eaters eat well because they feel better that way, because their body deserves it and because their mindset is of a lifestyle that gives them the body and health they want, vs. a mindset of temporary restriction. It’s sustainable, yet still yields success. Win-win. Smart eaters think of food as information vs. a mathematical equation (this is hormone thinking vs. calorie counting). Smart eaters see food as nourishment, not as punishment. Be good to yourself and eat smart, eat well. Nourish your body, be grateful that good food makes you feel good – feel your food. THINK If you think the food you eat is horrible, boring, restrictive, punishing, unfair – you are already doomed. Your way of eating needs to be something you make some peace with. Same goes for the gym. If you’re working out because you ate that bad, bad thing or your insert-hated-body-part-here too big, too small or whatever then you’re thinking all wrong. Rather than focusing on the downsides to any nutrition plan, focus on the great stuff. Like how great it feels to wake with more energy from not eating gluten. How clear your skin is when you skip the dairy. How much more productive you are in the afternoon if you don’t over-carb at lunch. And of course, how great it feels to look at your closet and know everything looks great on you because you’ve been eating smart for a while now. Your emotions drive your thinking. If you’re feeling restricted or punished, you’ll be thinking how awful this all is. Why me? She can eat whatever she wants and blah blah blah. This may be true, but it’s useless to you. It keeps you feeling bad about what you need to do for yourself. Instead feel hopeful, happy and excited that you have the tools to do better with food, exercise, etc. This will keep your thinking optimistic, creative – even fun! Stay positive. Think more about the new, healthy habit you’re trying to create, vs. the old one you’re trying to break. For example, focus on trying to eat salads and protein at lunch vs. trying NOT to eat pizza. Create new great stuff by focusing on great stuff! THANK Do you feel agitated (maybe even outright ticked off) that you’re eating a veggie omelet when you friend can eat muffins? Does your friend have great legs and hasn’t seen a treadmill in years – while you’re slaving away at the gym because you hate your thighs? Be grateful for your body just as it is. Feeling resentful, jealous and angry will only make this whole process painful and tedious. An attitude of gratitude on the other hand will make it not only livable, but even enjoyable. Remember that slump you’re in post holiday eating or after a vacation, that time when veggies and more water seem so refreshing! Be grateful that you can actually feel that way about a salad…everyday! Think of a time when you were sick or injured and you couldn’t workout or even go for a long walk to blow off some steam. That next trip to the gym feels so good – and you’re grateful for it! But we lose sight of that when we’re there punishing ourselves with another sit up, another mile on the treadmill because our insert-loathed-bodypart-here to be smaller, bigger, leaner, etc. You can want more for yourself without hating where you are now. You can want a better body without berating the one you have now – as imperfect as it may seem to you, it’s worthy of gratitude. Be grateful for what you’ve got and enjoy a much more peaceful journey getting to where you want to go. EXERCISE Some of you love it, some of you loathe it. All of you need to do it. We were made to move. These bodies need to be exercised to fire up our brain, pump our hearts, strengthen our bones and muscles, and yes, to look hot. There are smarter ways to exercise and types that work better than others. But truth is, the smartest plan out there is useless if you don’t do it. Find something you enjoy and do it. If you’re stuck, get some coaching on how to make your regimen smarter. Just keep moving, just keep sweating. Always be looking for more ways to move. Sprint your stairs. Walk your errands or home from work. Drop and do 20 pushups. Opportunities abound, if you’re open to them. RESTORE Restoratives issues are your reset button, they set your hormones straight again after all you do to mess them up all day. Keep stress down and sleep up. 8 hours of restorative, restful sleep daily is essential. Address sleep issues straightaway as nothing sets the stage for fat storage and difficult fat burning more than lack of sleep. Stress happens so learn how to calm yourself as quickly as you can after getting all worked up. Try this simple breathing technique: focus on your breath, inhale for 4 counts and exhale for 6-8 counts. It’s a simple, effective way to engage your parasympathetic nervous system (aka your cool, calm and collected nature) and get out of fight or flight mode (your sympathetic nervous system). It’s really quite simple really. As you decide to go to the gym or not, to order a big salad for lunch instead of a sandwich, to go for the egg-veggie scramble over the cereal or bagel, to get more sleep, to drink more water – do it with this mantra in mind. Simply be, eat, think, thank, exercise, and restore. Then repeat, repeat, repeat. Little, better decisions every day. That’s it. They will add up to big changes and to you looking, feeling and being BETTER. And this is for real, its legit, it lasts because it’s who you are now, who you be now, what you do now – it’s not temporary. Welcome to a BETTER life. Ahhh, it’s nice here right? Questions, comments? Post them here and be sure to keep up with BETTER on Facebook for recipes, inspiration and more.