I know that I am taking a flying leap here especially when the holidays are right around the corner, but I want to put a spin on it. I say flying leap because I know the thought process and many of you will think I am trying to be overly optimistic when in reality, I am merely re-framing it and taking another perspective. You can choose to agree or choose to agree to disagree or just disagree but just like the title of this post. “You have a choice.”
As a personal trainer and yoga teacher it is always right around this time that people are ready to get back into the routine of a regular fitness and yoga practice but at the same time they are bombarded by the challenges that comes around at this time of the year. Some of the things I hear from clients is,
” I want to start losing weight, I want to start getting back into shape, but (sigh) it is just so hard with the kids schedules and holiday’s right around the corner. I mean, first it starts with Halloween with the kids bringing candy into the house, then Thanksgiving with all that food, followed by Christmas and New Years Parties, it just seems endless and impossible to to start a program right now.”
The intentions start out so positive and then slowly they spiral into the negative, as if for some reason, the holiday’s are to blame for people to not continue making good choices. Don’t get me wrong, I love the holiday’s and I will be the first one to indulge in foods that I only get once a year, but what I think sets me and my mindset apart from the rest and keeps me moving in the direction of leading a healthy lifestyle, is that 1. I choose to not see food as good or bad. 2. I give myself the permission to make the choices I want to make. 3. I know that each day I am presented with an opportunity to continue on with a lifestyle that is not limited or confined restricted.
This is where I take that flying leap. I say that because I feel like sometimes when I say this, people look at me like I have my head on backwards or that I am overly optimistic or they give me that look that screams…well you are a personal trainer and yoga teacher, you HAVE to eat that way, you HAVE to be fit, you HAVE to make good choices, you HAVE to do it because it is part of your job. Well here’s the thing, I do not HAVE to do ANY of those things. I CHOOSE to do those things. I Choose to make healthier choices when it comes to food. I choose to eat the right portion sizes and I choose to stay fit, and I choose to work in this profession. Here’s the other bit of advice, when you look at something as having to start that means you anticipate there being an end and when it comes to living the best and healthiest and fullest life possible there is no end. Once you decide that you want to make changes then those changes need to stick with you through thick and thin, through good times and bad. Those changes are being made to allow you to live fully, give fully, and be everything that you want to be.
So with that being said, I am going to state the obvious, when you are ready to start, it will not be the perfect time, when you are ready to make changes, there are going to be hurdles that stand in your way. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, birthday parties, parties in general, are not going away. They are always going to be with us. How we choose to manage those holidays and events while still being able to enjoy them is what will allow us to stick with our choice to live a healthy life. Here’s the thing, we are not incapable of achieving our goals and dreams, how we choose to react in times that challenge us and the conscious and even subconscious decisions we make are what influence how successful we are.
When it comes to taking care of ourselves and making healthy choices we can not afford to make choices that are going to hurt us. Even though, it might be the cheaper, easier or quicker option, down the road those choices will catch up to us. I do not know about you, but I want to know that I am making choices today that are going to save me time, money, and energy in the future. Just because it is easier cheaper and quicker now, could ultimately lead it to be longer, harder stays in the hospital or doctor visits, more expensive medical bills and paying for medications I could have avoided and now everything goes slower because I have pills to take, doctors visits to make, and that is time and energy that is out the window when I could have been enjoying my time doing something I enjoyed.
A lifestyle change is something we must not take lightly. It is not something you start and stop and start and stop, even though with the bumps and blocks life throws at us it can feel that way. I would encourage you to think about your journey more as weaving a little to the right or left, but always staying consistent to yourself. There is no track, there is just a way of life. If you are not on a track or wagon, you can not fall off you can not lose your way. You are just moving in one direction, the direction of living a quality life. I think that part of the problem is that so many diet programs and our culture in general like to put dates on things and likes to say this is the best time to start, this is bad, this is good, this is right, this is wrong. Everything when it comes to living a healthy life it seems is either black or white.
As a personal trainer and yoga teacher, I work daily to change peoples mindsets and perceptions around this concepts. When a clients tells me that they were bad and at all the wrong things. I quickly come back to them with the questions, well why do you think that YOU were bad, or why do you think you did ALL the wrong things? They always are a bit confused at first, but then they realize that what they are saying is coming from a place of all or nothing, from a place of black and white with no shades of gray. This is an important realization because they need to realize that eating foods that are not the healthiest on occasion does not make them bad people, it does not make them incapable of making good choices, it merely means that there were no other options available at the given time or that on occasion we can enjoy foods that should be kept in moderation. When you re-frame your situation to a more positive mindset, you will be more likely to continue with the healthy lifestyle that you started.
You will have people that try and convince you other wise to deviate from making good choices. Or it will seem that way. I encourage you to re-frame how they are approaching you. You must understand that because of the stigma of eating healthy and living a healthful life has, people are more likely to feel insecure and or even awkward. That is their insecurity not yours. That is their feeling and because it makes them feel uncomfortable they are going to do what they can to make you feel like you are the one who is being “weird” or deflecting their feelings on to you to make you uncomfortable. That is when you must pull yourself by the boot straps and let them know that you are making choices that are in the long term bettering your life. Either they accept it or they don’t. Not your problem. You can nicely even let them know that you are fine eating a piece of cake a birthday party or enjoying a glass of wine with a nice dinner but those are occasional things and that in general you are being more conscious of the choices you are making. Again, either they will accept it and leave it be, or they won’t. Again, not your problem it is their issue.
You are your best advocate for a life that is the greatest it can possibly be. You are your own best friend when it comes to taking care of yourself. I encourage you to be more mindful of your choices. Take a look at the impulsive and subconscious choices you are making and try to understand why you are making that choice, is it a habit, is it something you need to be more conscious of? Think about how you want to retrain and rephrase your words in your head to be more positive about the changes that you are making. Today is your day to saying YES to conscious eating choices. Today is your day to move forward in living a life that is the best possible. You have amazing things to accomplish and things to do and awesome things to experience. Live each day fully with the mind set of nourishing your body with foods that are going to allow you to do all of it!