Take small steps

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Have you ever made a new year’s resolution? Did it work out for you? We’re already three weeks into the new year, so how is your resolution looking? Are you still doing what you set out to do? Are you feeling a bit less motivated to keep it up? I’m guessing that at least one of your resolutions has already been ‘deferred’ to next year or dismissed as being incompatible with your current situation.

When it comes to our health, sometimes a change is what’s needed to get you to the next level. Humans are wired to resist change. It’s a survival mechanism. Change is uncertain, and sometimes dangerous. Our primitive brain wants us to survive, so it will create all kinds of obstacles that keep you from making a change.

People who are successful at change don’t have more willpower than you. They're not any more committed to making it happen. They don’t have better organizational skills.

They simply make change achievable.

One of the ways I’m able to achieve success with my clients is in encouraging change in manageable chunks. Some of my clients are ready to jump in on day one with a total diet and lifestyle overhaul, and there are others who don’t see any room for change at all. My goal is to create a strategy with changes that fit with my clients’ established lifestyle.

What that really means is ‘we just make it work.’ I get clients who flat out refuse to give up a food that bothers them. Dairy is the worst. Dairy is addictive, and stopping it creates a withdrawal syndrome that’s very difficult to overcome. How do you work with that?

Of course, the specifics depend on the situation, but we try substituting almond or coconut milk in certain recipes. We use spices and seasonings to replace cheese, or look at some of the more palatable vegan cheeses (although I will admit that cheese is practically impossible to replicate). Butter can be replaced with dairy-free ghee. If it works for the client, we try milk-free days and avoid all dairy for a single day each week. Instead of stopping cold turkey, we transition dairy alternatives into the diet and shift dairy out. Add, rather than subtract. As they start to feel better, they’re encouraged to continue avoiding dairy – or whatever food is problematic for them.

Maybe we’re so stuck in our routine that even substitutions don’t work (parents of picky eaters take note here!). So we don’t change the food at all. We’re just going to change the way we eat it. Instead of eating in front of a screen, or in the car after the drive thru, or while reading a book or magazine, eating will now be done at the table with full focus on the meal. Sit down and eat – and ONLY eat. You’ll find that your tastes will change a bit and you’ll start wanting food that is more wholesome and healthy because it tastes better and it makes you feel better.

There’s lots of ways we can create a space for a shift toward a healthier you. It all starts with you deciding that you’re unhappy with how your health feels right now. From there, we take small steps toward your goal. We look for opportunities and we celebrate success. We learn from the pitfalls and create a plan to avoid them next time. We learn to listen to our body and we advocate for what we need.

What challenges are you having with making change? Are you struggling with finding a good shift to make? Is your shift too big for you to manage right now? Are you struggling with resisting cravings?

If you need help putting your strategy together, send me a note or set up a time to call me. I might have that missing piece of your strategy puzzle that leads to a healthier, more energetic life – one that allows you to enjoy your family and follow your dreams.