I’m really excited about today’s guest post! It comes from Julie Riddle of Random Meanderings. I got in touch with Julie because I love her perspective, not just on health and fitness, but on all of life’s “random meanderings”. Julie is all about “moseying, observing, pondering… and finding little gems in the oddest ordinary places.” Here’s a BIG gem from Julie, and just in time, too – the silly season is upon us! Now’s the perfect time to rebel…
A night out with friends at the newest hot spot in town.
Your favorite all-out holiday feast.
Triple-layer fudge cake from an office party.
Just when you’ve decided to start eating more wisely (for whichever of the 110 reasons why we all should), your willpower is seriously being tested every time you turn around.
You may need an extra dose of resolve to join in the convivial fun. A few tricks under your plate, so to speak, could help. These tactics I use are as well-worn as your favorite oh-so-comfy bathrobe.
Adopt a different mindset
You’re not “on a diet” or “avoiding” or “eliminating” anything. What you are doing is learning to like doing things differently. Secretly, in your heart of hearts, didn’t you ever wonder what it’d feel like to be a rebel? Here’s your chance. Envision it: You’re an explorer, wandering off into new corners of your local grocery, experimenting with different foods, new tastes and textures. You’re finding and trying new things that make you say “Yum!” And you enjoy it so much that all the “old” food is just so, well, ordinary.
If it’s your habit to have lunch out with the crowd, and you always eat too much or there aren’t enough healthy options, remind yourself you want to try something new. Look at the time off for lunch as “time,” not “lunch.” See it as a gift of a few precious moments to yourself (who doesn’t need more time alone?), and then take your own mini-meal to the nearest park bench and fresh air. Apples and grapefruit are surprisingly filling choices. With these, you can easily just sit and enjoy watching the people and birds and goings-on. Enjoy your free time. Enjoy your fruit. Enjoy the fruits of your free time!
Stimulate your senses
Become very tactile. If you don’t normally roll down the windows as you drive, do so. (Bear with me on this one.) Stick your hand out the window and feel the wind. Walk barefoot in the grass. If you drive a regular route to work, start taking different ways. Shake things up a bit; do everything slightly differently. The more you start adding spice to little everyday things, the easier it is to approach bigger things differently—like your eating habits. When you begin to see yourself as more adventuresome, then change becomes fun.
See the inherent beauty
No matter the style, whether simple and unadorned or rich and elaborate, dive into the spirit of the individual dish. Revel in the freshness, juiciness, the crunch; feel yourself enjoying it all. Imagine, even, that you plucked the item out of the field or orchard yourself. That puts a very organic and personal spin on things. It gives you ownership. And what’s yours, you’re more likely to relish. If you relish, it, that means you’re taking your time to enjoy it. If you’re savoring, then you’re eating more slowly. See how wonderfully everything ties together, one thing leading to the next?
Notice the way you feel
You might feel a little hollow, in a good way, a little more open, receptive, flexible, limber, energetic… You surely feel some pride of accomplishment, of empowerment. Run with it! Celebrate the changes! This will help you continue wanting those results.
But do it with class and flair. Remember that “dangerous” treats must be taken in tiny doses. Instead of the three-scoop bowl of ice cream for dessert, complete with topping and sprinkles (yes, I used to do that!), teach yourself to enjoy a bare sliver of unadorned ice cream. Serve it in a tiny dish, use a tiny spoon, and go slow. Close your eyes and savor each teensy taste. Ah! You’ll be amazed how much you enjoy this! (It even works for that office birthday cake. Your colleagues will just think this is your uniquely expressive way of complimenting the baker!)
Learn to become your own best friend
Realize there are three of you involved in this endeavor to improve your overall health: your mind, your body, and your self (that part of you that wants what’s best for you). Most of us tend to be ruled by our minds trying to run the show, while our bodies keep trying to say, “Please don’t make me eat that.” It can be a cacophony in there, so talk to your body, love it, and encourage it. Build it up. Watch it start to follow you instead of cow-towing to your mind’s clamoring. Before long, you’ll start to hear your body’s voice loud and clear, and then you’ll both be a lot happier—and more powerful. Your mind will finally quiet down and take a much needed rest. And the three of you will live happily ever after as one great big happy “you!”
Prepare to be astounded by how much easier it will be than you might think. Expect, and believe in, your absolute enjoyment of your new dietary lifestyle—and it will happen!
Disclaimer: I make no claim of 100% success, however, when exposed to such temptations as the 85% cacao dark chocolate bar that flashes your name in neon lights. You need your own game plan for that one.