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This post is an old cross-over from my Nutritional Therapy practice. As you can see from my Bill-and-Ted-esque verbiage, I have few concerns about maintaining a regal air of professionalism (that went out the window with my Balanced Bites Podcast shenanigans).
It’s important to note that I use the phrase “most triumphant” as Bill uses it in the following video:
I mean it as highly triumphant, or fully triumphant. I mean that these habits, for all intents and purposes – and no, it’s not intensive purposes – will guarantee amazing progress. These habits are to success what Eddie Van Halen is to Wyld Stallions’ triumphant-ness. (Triumphance?)
I’m speaking from my experiences with helping people – and helping myself – choose better foods, make healing lifestyle choices, and become healthier physically and mentally. I learned very quickly that the journey is not only about habits pertaining to food.
And by habits, I mean things that are done repetitively until they become second nature. (Listen to me, Rufus – I know what I’m talking about.)
Habit #1: Looking beyond food.
As we learn more about food, we also learn that there is far more to the equation of health-and-wellness than what we put in the cake-hole. While food is a critical input, healing really starts when we address the life landscape.
As we begin (or continue) to seek nourishing, healing foods, we’ve got to simultaneously look at improving stress levels (if you’re a hyperactive stress case, even the best food won’t solve your woes – trust me, I know), re-evaluating toxic relationships, reducing the toxin load from the personal environment, getting better sleep, and maybe – just maybe – getting a pet whose sweet presence and goofy ears could break even the worst day’s tension.
Habit #2: Doing the hokey stuff.
Nourishing, healing moments are, quite literally, healing to the body as well as the mind.
This is a continuation of habit number one, but involves spending time – sometimes, as much time as we might spend cooking, food blogging, or exercising – doing things like conscious meditation, deep breathing, and relaxing.
This may mean finding a place for relaxation on a daily basis; seeking peace and calm; keeping a gratitude notebook; or making a point to hug your spouse, kids, or even yourself every day (trust me – to start the day with a smile, just give yourself a hug).
Important note: too often the suggestion to relax and meditate is taken as “watch TV for 5 hours” OR WORSE, “buy a yoga mat and join a hot Vinyasa flow class that meets for 90 minutes five days a week.” While I absolutely adore a nice Real Housewives marathon, and sometimes even more so a good hot Vinyasa flow class (it can certainly help calm and center a person mentally), this is not the point I want to make.
Often, spending time or money on something that represents relaxation comes to serve as a substitute for actually relaxing; and in fact, television and over-exercising can both cause the body more stress.
By “hokey stuff,” I mean stuff we don’t have to pay for; stuff for which we don’t need Real Housewives, special equipment or a bank account deeper than the genius of Real Food Ryan Gosling.
Habit #3: Being patient and persistent.
None of us got to a state of ill health or unhappiness overnight; and it takes time to achieve health goals. Sometimes it takes time, re-evaluation, further learning, renewing of commitment, and more time. Giving up or giving in to frustration is Diet behavior. Patience and persistence is lifestyle behavior.
This also means not just “following directions” – ie, creating obsessions rather than habits, or blindly following a “program” without understanding why or how it works. It means learning who we are, what food does in our bodies, what stress does to our health, and how modern diet and lifestyle myths have completely screwed us over (That’s what my book is about).
Trust me, we’ve all spent more time spinning our wheels at “quick fixes,” calorie counting and weight loss frustration than it would take to understand our own bodies a little better on the path to actual, sustained success.
One major modern myth: that “weight loss” by any means necessary will make us as healthy as bringing the body into balance, patiently and persistently, using real, nourishing foods and dedicated lifestyle change (see #1 and 2).
Watching Harrison Ford movies Listening to Yoda.
If this post wasn’t fully saturated with nerdy movie references, it surely is now. Most of us know the famous Yoda line “Do, or do not. There is no try.” The fact is, when a person tells me “I’ll try,” I can almost always predict they’ll also, at some point, tell me “I fell off the wagon;” “It’s too hard” or “I tripped and fell into a plate of Tasty Kakes.” It’s almost as if they’re pre-acknowledging the possibility for failure – by whatever measure they gauge it.
Whether you think “failing” means a bite of a coconut macaroon, a night of pizza and beer, or a slip-up from a list of arbitrary “rules” is irrelevant – it’s the mind-set with which you dedicate yourself to a lifestyle change that truly matters, as well as the attitude with which you address slip-ups.
If you screw up, just get right back to business. Don’t melt down. And if you do melt down, get right back to business once you’re finished. Mmkay?
Although we all, of course, need to have a try-hard attitude; and while we all need to commit to doing our best, moment-by-moment, while refusing to judge ourselves for the so-called slip-ups, we also must realize that our words are incredibly important determinants of the way we go about tackling a lifestyle change. The words “I’ll try” often indicate an unsure, waffling mind-set that exists only to cushion failure with half-commitments.
When you make a choice, make it fully. Make that moment a decisive one.
And last, but not least, remember…Be excellent to each other. And tell me YOUR ideas.