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It's About Time for a New Year!


Hallo everyone, and Happy New Year! Helen-the-nutritional-therapist back with you for my second ever TalkRadioBlog post. Check out http://www.blogtalkradio.com/lifesuncertainjourney for details. And let’s get this year off to a healthy start, what do you say?

I teach a sugar detox program called Restart and I thought I would share some wisdom from it.

We have a saying in Restart: Whatever I eat, I choose it consciously; I enjoy it thoroughly, and I let it go.

The bottom line is, one, to eat mindfully, two, to not beat yourself up if you do eat something inappropriate, and, three, to really enjoy that choice--whether it’s a donut or an avocado--completely and thoroughly enjoy it, no guilt, no obsessing. Choose, eat, enjoy, let it go.

What I find frequently with my clients is that the first part can be the biggest challenge: choosing consciously. We tend to eat whatever is put in front of us. The restaurant delivers a basket of bread while you wait for your meal, your neighbor keeps candy in a bowl on every side table in their house--okay, that was my father-in-law for me, does anyone else have that situation in their life?--and, of course, any party you might go to, there’s just a lot of food and we are encouraged by TV ads and billboards to eat it all because then we’ll be happy and carefree like the people in the pictures. Seriously! So, mindful eating is usually the biggest hurdle.

So, what do you think one of the top things is which folks try do for their health every new year?

Yes, quitting smoking, or drinking, improving fitness and diet, and, yes, losing weight.

About 38% of those surveyed about resolutions say they are going to lose weight in 2019. Yet, it usually doesn’t go to plan. About 30% of those who committed to changing their diets have quit by the time we hit February.

We tend to make our goals too ambitious and we tend to go in under-prepared. I challenge you, whatever your particular goals are for this year, take it low, and go slow-ly.

So, One, get clear about your goal. Define it. Think through any challenges to your success. If your goal is to work out 5 times a week, how will you navigate the destination wedding you are going to? If your goal is weight loss, how will you deal with Girl Scout cookie season? Think these things through. And that leads to the next tip:

Preparation. It truly is truly true that if we fail to plan, we are planning to fail. It may be tedious and it may be a bit stressful to add something else to the, ah, plate, but making your food ahead of time is probably the biggest secret to success with all things dietary.

I just completed a 5 day, super intense self-transformation program. If I hadn’t prepped my food ahead of time, I would have ended up with nothing I would feel good about eating and my energy would have taken a huge hit. As it was, one day our assigned restaurant was one of those all-you-can-eat buffet places and the group of people I was with were eyeing my salmon salad hungrily. Yes, it took time, yes, it took planning, and both of those were in short supply during my training, but it was so worthwhile to know I had what my body needs. So worthwhile.

Tip number 3: Keep track. Whenever my food gets a bit wobbly--if my children leave food on their plates, for instance, and I don’t want it to go to waste, I may mindlessly eat it--I find that recording my daily intake helps me get back on track. I sometimes use one of the free apps to do this--one that doesn’t focus on calories as much as balancing my intake of fats, proteins, and carbs. But using paper to jot down your daily food is also very effective and, honestly, I think it’s faster and easier.

My fourth tip is to give yourself both time and grace. We like to think it takes 21 days to establish a new habit, but it turns out that’s an urban legend. Sorry to say, the average amount--based on one study anyway--was 66 days to form a lasting habit, with a range of up to 250 days! So, grace. In my work, I don’t like to promote an All-or-Nothing mentality. We have these bodies for life, this is more of a marathon than a sprint, isn't it? So if we slip from our plans, if we had a day where we failed to plan, breathe. Breathe. Understand Why you may have sabotaged yourself and then brush yourself off and move on. This makes me think of a zebra after its been chased by a hungry lion. It stops running, shakes to get the adrenaline out and goes back to grazing. If I choose to mindlessly eat the rice snacks my daughter left behind it doesn’t mean I’m a bad person and I should go eat the plate of cookies on the fridge--or stop at the French bakery on my way past--no, I need to remain calm and get back on track. Breathe. Think. Learn. Love yourself and move on.

My fifth tip for navigating the new year: support. If I decide to lose weight in the new year, if I decide to go to the gym 5 times each week, if I decide to stop cursing, great. But if I keep it a secret, if I hold it close to my heart and don’t share my commitment, I am almost guaranteed to fail. If we don’t share because we are afraid we will make a fool of ourselves when we fail, we are basically dooming ourselves to failure, aren’t we? So, broadcast it! Enroll your friends and family in supporting you--maybe they’ll even join you. That’s one of the reasons I love my Restart Program so much--the group keeps us accountable as well as keeping it fun.

And, finally, I would be extremely remiss to not remind you to drink drink drink--although be clear I’m not talking about booze! That’s another top resolution that doesn’t last long, skipping alcohol. I am talking, of course, about water. It’s startling how many people are admitted to hospital, young and old, because they are dehydrated. It causes a multitude of problems, from dizziness and heart palpitations to anxiety. Water. The formula for success is, who remembers? Yes, half your body weight in ounces of good, pure water--and yes, feel free to add a splash of juice if water is too plain to manage right now! Baby steps y’all, and grace.

Happy New Year. Enjoy YOU this year and feel free to reach out if you want my support in your endeavours.


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DISCLAIMER: The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. Helen Gardiner-Parks is not a licensed medical professional, dietitian, or nutritionist.  Seek the advice of a physician or qualified health provider with questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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