Major life events can turn our lives upside down, like having your first baby or getting cancer. When we had our first baby we probably went a bit overboard in protecting him from everything. I remember keeping his delicate skin covered even when we walked down to the mailbox to protect him from the “cancer-causing” rays of the sun. I had many ways I chose to protect him, and like the total avoidance of sun rays, some of those choices misguided. Over time, through the busy-ness of life and many kids later we slowly (and sometimes quickly) released the reigns of trying to find a healthy balance in a world of too many choices.
As our toddler grew, I quickly saw the potential for the exception to the rule becoming the new “norm” for adults and children. Everyone enjoys spoiling kids: holiday treats become monthly or more as your social calender fills up, classroom rewards, birthday parties,candy or treats at home, school or the office, suckers at the bank and viola’, you have the new Status Quo.
As adults we can fall into the same pattern, once a month office parties become weekly (or more), birthdays, retirements, weddings, endless opportunities to indulge. If you succumb to your your temptations every time an indulgence is presented, over time , you’ve formed your new normal. Before you know it, you’ve put on 10 pounds (and it wasn’t even December) and you’re trying to figure out how it happened.
Watching what foods you put into your body is a great example of being diligent about maintaining healthy habits. Food can be a fantastic source of energy and vitality when used properly and is an essential element to having a Pure Body. Food can also be a great source of stress on the body if chosen poorly. Food is an integral part of the social nature of many cultures. We are obviously veering in the wrong direction in the US as we have skyrocketing obesity rates, the CDC reporting in February 2012 that over 1/3 of Americans are obese. Healthy habits are not just limited to foods, but other behaviors as well. For most behaviors, moderation is the best whether it is alcohol consumption, playing video games or reading gossip magazines to name a few. It’s easy to fall into new habits, make sure they are healthy ones and be aware of less than ideal situations that they can become. Here are some ideas to keep you moving in the right direction:
1. Stay confident in who you are, your value does not reside in what activities you do or don’t participate in. If you doubt your priorities at all, get a copy of my free eBook to the right – it’ll give you direction in building that confidence so you can make the best choices every day that support a Pure Body. When you are placing your value in what other’s think, you are making yourself susceptible to compromising what is really important to you.
2. Choose a few healthy habits that are important to you, then stick with them. Don’t compromise your standards at all for a while. Once you become comfortable with your new habits you might be able to bend the rules once in a while when you are sure you won’t fall back into old patterns. The perfect situation would be never compromising your standards, but we do live in an imperfect world, don’t we?
3. Skip the treats at work or parties once in a while. It helps if you have healthy snacks and lunches prepared each day. If you are hungry and unprepared, it will make it more difficult to resist the temptations. We teach our kids to eat treats only after they’ve eaten a good dinner. If you choose to take a treat, save it for after your lunch so you are less likely to go back for more than you really need. I really admire the French in this regard, they have the most luscious foods, cheeses, wines and pastries. Yet, they remain one of the healthiest and slimmest cultures because they are balanced in their diets, not allowing the rich foods to make up more of their diet than the whole foods that nourish.
4. Practice self-control – this is a form of exercise. The more you practice it the easier it gets. Practice self-control with the small things so you’ll be stronger with the big things. You can practice self-control by just taking a small treat and limiting yourself to that, or set a time limit for how long you’ll be online. Make a choice then stick with it. Stand firm and don’t allow yourself to cave no matter how much your conscience is prodding you. Over time, you’ll develop better self-control and you can save your choices for things that really matter. When you practice moderation, YOU choose to indulge when you want, it will make it more worthwhile. It will also keep the exception (eating high calorie desserts, for example) from becoming the norm.
5. Set the standard. Be the Leader.Whether it’s bringing treats to the office, taking a walk at lunch or sending something for a school party, you can set the standard. Be the exception and do what is BEST. There are so many beautiful, delicious options, make the NORM healthy. It usually takes a little more planning and preparation at first, but it will be much appreciated by everyone. If everyone makes small changes for the better, this can be our new normal: raise the standards and see how everyone follows. We can do it together, but it takes consistency, perseverance and courage.
6. Make better choices. Look at several options in any situation and really choose what is best. Simply put: natural materials, whole foods, organic when available & affordable, and locally produced.
- Teachers: offer stickers or privileges instead of candy
- Office gatherings: fresh fruit kabobs or a veggie platter instead of bakery treats
- Class parties: whole foods & 100% juices instead of sugared treats and juice cocktails
- Getting together with friends: fresh plant/herbs for the garden as a hostess gift, your favorite home-made recipe with fresh fruits or vegetables, bowl of fresh fruit or locally grown salad greens with a fresh salad dressing
If you’re in a crunch for time, check out a local organic foods market for whole, delicious snacks and prepared foods, local bakers for goods made on site and farmer’s markets for the freshest produce.
What is your favorite tactic to help you stick with your healthy habits?
Are freebies making it more difficult for you to have a Pure Home and Body? Is everything free worthwhile? Watch for my next post to find out what I think!