You know that nagging little voice inside your head? The one that sounds like your mother. Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about. It’s the one that keeps you up at night and so graciously replays all of your life’s disasters for you. Ring a bell yet? It explains in very explicit detail why you are a failure, while you ineffectively stuff a pillow over your face to make the thoughts go away.
Yes. We all have that voice. Personally, mine gets worked up enough to head to the kitchen some nights to go food foraging. And by foraging I mean looking for any type of terrible junk food that I can get my hands on. Come on, man! It’s a soul soothing technique. We’ve all done it!
This ‘fly by the seat of our pants’ culture is wreaking havoc on our lifestyles. Stress, lack of sleep, and the mass quantities of junk food at our disposal are a recipe for disaster. And when we succumb to them, the pounds start to pack on. Am I right? I’m here to tell you that it’s time to shut that nagging voice off once and for all. The last thing any of us need is one more iron on the fire, so NO – this is not a new diet for you to try. I have found that small, simple changes can be the most effective in warding off the pounds. Here are my 6 favorite go to tips:
1) Drink more water. Sounds simple, right? How many times have we heard that we need 8 glasses a day? Now, reflect upon your own intake and how often you actually do that. That’s a ton of fluid in my world. If I’m not thinking about this consciously, I would never consume that much. It’s uncomfortable at first, coming from a culture that relies predominantly on coffee and soda. But if you make water a priority, you’ll notice the coffee and soda desires coming less and less.
2) Nix the sugar! Oh boy! This one is a beast. Sugar addiction is a very real thing. And unfortunately, processed sugar hides virtually everywhere. I’m not saying get out the magnifying glass and scour every salad dressing bottle for hidden sugars. I’m just saying use some common sense here. Eat real food. We are not garbage cans, so let’s stop putting garbage into our bodies. A diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and proteins has always been my reset when I haven’t been eating so well. I also try staying away from most things white in color: SUGAR, flour, potatoes, rice, and bread are the usual suspects. Does this work like magic? Heck no! But making an effort makes a huge difference.
3) Sleep, for goodness sakes! This is SO important. Bedtime is not just for children. As a mother myself, I know how hard it is to squeeze in the right of amount of snoozing so that I can feel refreshed for the next day. This is a very current and real struggle for me. But, I have felt the benefits of a good night’s rest. I have also heard, over and over and over again how important it is. When your body is rested properly, everything else functions smoothly. You tend to stress less. You make better food choices. You are also more of a “Glenda the Good Witch” instead of the wicked one.
4) Run. You heard me. Learn to like it. It will be awkward and uncomfortable at first. Keep at it. I have found that running every other day works for me. It gives my joints a day off in between to recover, but not enough time off to regress. Also, find some other physical activities that you enjoy for the off days. Yoga, Pilates, a favorite local exercise class are all great ideas. Keep switching it up so boredom doesn’t set in. Keeping yourself active is a vital part of maintaining energy!
5) Be at peace with imperfection. Listen up. Here’s the deal. None of us are perfect. We don’t all look like the runway models with the hollowed out faces and visible collar bones. Pop culture has shamed us into thinking that this is beauty. I spent most of my teenage and young adult life wanting to be THAT girl. That beautiful girl. I even starved myself enough a few times to get there. But, do you know what I realized? Getting to that weight or that size bikini didn’t make me feel any more important or alive or human. As a matter of fact, even when I was that “skinny”, I still felt too fat. Thank goodness adulthood set in. I now can look in the mirror and do a better job at accepting who I am. It’s not about a beauty queen appearance anymore. It’s about my health and how good I feel.
There is no magic wand that is going to fix any of this. The struggle is really real. The best thing we can do is be aware of that and make simple, daily choices that affect us positively in the long run. You got this.