We’ve all been there, January 1st. For the past month you’ve indulged in all the glorious excesses the festive season has to offer, with the comfort of knowing your New Year’s transformation is just around the corner. Inevitably the day of shortfall comes where you stumble into temptation- like the snake in the Garden of Eden persuading Eve to eat the apple, your co-worker coerces you into sharing a slice of cake, “just one bite”. You’ve sinned! You’ve fallen from grace. You’ve failed at your reinvention. You fall back into old habits, and make a promise to try again next year.
The consensus is pretty clear- new years resolutions Just. Don’t. Work. So much so, this theory even has its own anniversary. January 17th has been hailed “Ditch your New Year’s Resolution Day”, because it’s the most common date people desert their goals.
You don’t need January 1st to come around to inspire a new transformation. Set yourself up for success with my tips for leading a healthy, enjoyable and sustainable lifestyle, year after year…
Set realistic expectations
Resolutions fail because most of us are not equipped for dramatic overnight shifts. Work towards your goals one achievable and sustainable step at a time, and celebrate your successes along the way. A healthy lifestyle is about balance, not imposed extremities; so don’t make it ridiculously hard for yourself. Take the advice of superfood guru David ‘Avocado’ Wolfe and“Create change with EASE, GRACE and FLOW”.
Your on, your off. Your on, your off. I don’t know about you, but I get dizzy just thinking about the way I used to diet! With thousands of diets out there, each promising the Holy Grail in results, its little wonder we’re so confused. The problem is diets require will power, and biologically speaking this comes in short supply. The percentage of people who are able to sustain the rules of dieting long term are few.
Will power aside, chronic dieting disrupts the internal cues of hunger and fullness, having serious consequences on our health and metabolism. The cycle of losing and regaining weight is far more hazardous to our health than staying the same weight. Diets also affect our emotional wellbeing by perpetuating feelings of guilt around food, often leading to eating disorders.
My advice? GET OFF the diet rollercoaster now!
Mind Set over Will Power
A healthy lifestyle is saying I CHOOSE to nourish my body with whole food, rather than I MUST or should. There is great power in the statement ‘I CHOOSE’. Consider the difference in how these 2 sentences make you feel…
1. I can’t eat [insert favourite food] because I’m on a diet.
The latter statement does not require self-control and does not enforce any rules, and therefore does not ignite the rebel within! Humans are naturally defiant, and we all know the more we focus on what we can’t have, the more we feel deprived and compelled to seek it.
This brings me to my next point…
Crowd out the bad stuff.
By shifting your focus to what you CHOOSE to nourish your body with each day, you crowd out the bad stuff without trying to force it out. For example you might commit to adding a cup of your favourite vegetables to every meal, and including a delicious green smoothie each day. When you’re full of good stuff you simply don’t feel like binging on junk. Soon enough you’ll be able to tune in and recognize clean food makes you feel so much better, making a balanced and healthy lifestyle a natural choice.
Inspiration is an internal fire that drives you towards your goals. When you are inspired from within, you don’t need outside motivation (like new years resolutions) to succeed.
Dr John Demartini explains, “If you constantly have to ‘get focused’, then your desired actions are not congruent with what you truly value in life. When your desired actions are congruent, no one has to get you focused. You are automatically inspired to do what is most important. Imperatives like ‘should’ are signs of outside authorities, not inside dreams….You are inspired when you are true to your highest values, and you require outside motivation when you are not.”
My personal inspiration for eating clean was sparked on a journey from sickness to health. When I made the connection that what I choose to eat greatly affects how I feel, who I become and what I achieve in life, it fueled my passion and desire to choose clean food for me and my family. When I felt how good I was born to feel every day, I was inspired to keep feeling my best! Identify YOUR purpose, and use this to inspire change.
A world obsessed with counting calories has become a sicker and fatter one! This approach destroys the art of eating, disconnecting us from the vitality and wisdom of whole food. For example 1 calorie of junk food is in no way equal to 1 calorie of whole food, and they certainly do not fuel and shape the body in the same way! When we choose to focus on the vitality of the food we eat- that is living foods grown as nature intended, free of toxins and additives- we can tune into the natural rhythms of the body, and the types and amounts of food we need falls into place. You won’t need to count calories because you will intuitively KNOW what you need. Plus counting calories is an arduous chore, and hard to sustain. It attaches anxiety to the ritual of eating- one that is something we ought to enjoy.
Release the need for Labels.
Our society is obsessed with labels, and they often limit the way we experience the world. I have a friend who says she is vegetarian in summer and paleo in winter. Ditching labels affords you this flexibility to adapt with the seasons of life.
In my own quest for health I ventured from one extreme to the next, and it wasn’t until I released my need for labels that I found a place of peace and confidence in my food choices. I now tune in and simply eat what fuels the best version of me, which changes, as I grow older.
I whole-heartedly believe there is not a ‘one size fits all’ diet because each and every one of us is inherently unique. The only ‘absolutes’ when it comes to obtaining good health is eating food grown and produced as NATURE intended, preparing and eating it to maintain maximal nutritional properties, and ensuring it is compatible with YOU—YOUR beliefs, YOUR digestive system, YOUR ancestral heritage; and eat in moderation with happiness and GRATITUDE. This is how to obtain good health and longevity.
Just like my friend and I, these compatibilities may change with the seasons, and you may very well find yourself a vegetarian one week, and paleo the next! No labels means no rules, which releases feelings of frustration and anxiety
Just. Eat. Real. Food. It’s that simple.
Living with passion is just as essential in leading a healthy lifestyle. Fulfilling your purpose is busy work, and leaves less room for boredom or emotional eating. You won’t need to fill a void with food because the void is filled with passion. Consider your divine gifts and how you may share them with the world.
Adversities are great opportunities
Feeling sick, exhausted, stressed and over weight? For many of us it takes reaching rock bottom to inspire change. I’ve traveled Australia speaking about Wellness and listening to Wellness speakers, and invariably we all have something in common- our adversity became our opportunity. Weight gain, aches and pains and disease is our body telling us we are doing something wrong. Your body is a great gift- and it’s the only pace you have to live. Tune in to what it’s telling you, and invest mindfulness, time and money to care for your most important asset- your health.
If you find yourself falling into temptation too often, learn how to cook your favourite cuisine from scratch using fresh produce. For example home made burgers and baked wedges are far more satisfying than the fast food kind. Google is a great place to find healthy recipes for all your beloved ‘sometimes’ foods, so you can turn them into ‘every day’ foods.
When you find your equilibrium, part of a healthy balanced life is leaving room for occasional indulgences- sometimes we need to nourish the soul, not just the body, and a piece of chocolate cake is just the thing to do that!
*PS Contact me for information on my Juicy Body Transformation Program, which incorporates all of these principles for health and weight loss.