So many people have an “all or nothing” mentality when it comes to losing weight and making healthy lifestyle habits, but please believe that positive changes can happen with small, consistent, MINDFUL efforts. Here are three that I practice regularly:
1. Don’t eat “just because.” How many times do you eat just because… The clock says it’s time..You’re bored…Everyone else is doing it (!)…or…Eating pizza and ice cream every Sunday night is just what you do. Well, let’s work towards changing that “just because” habit. It won’t happen overnight, but bringing awareness to the issue will help you improve it. So the next time you reach your hand inside the bread basket just because it’s being passed around the table, stop for a second and ask yourself how much you even want it. A little? A lot? Is it really worth it?
For example, last weekend it was “time” for lunch, but I wasn’t hungry yet. I was working on my laptop and even though I was feeling munchy, I had a little chat with myself (I do this a lot), and decided to hold out until true hunger struck. It was late afternoon by the time I was ready to eat, but because I was having an earlier dinner, I decided to fix myself this little nut mix snack and it was all I needed. The “old Ellen” would have fixed a full meal right at noon…just because. Now I make my own rules.
2. Just move. I’m not a triathlete or Crossfit extraordinaire, but I’m pretty darn fit and I genuinely like to exercise. (Want to challenge the Pushup Police to a competition? I dare you!) However, some weeks it’s harder to get motivated to workout than others. Sometimes I’m just feeling lazy and other times I’m just flat out tired or burned out. That’s when I make a pact to myself to just move.
In fact, the other weekend I was feeling so lazy that first thing in the morning I put on my new favorite workout gear by Tasc Performance just so I’d be a little more motivated to get out and move at some point during the day. Three loads of laundry, two cups of coffee, a brunch date and an episode of House of Cards later, I was finally ready to get going. I started with an easy stroll through my neighborhood as I chatted to my mom on the phone. My feet lead me back to my apartment instead of the gym, but I went up to my rooftop and started stretching. Then I did some lunges, squats and planks. And then before I knew it I was jumping rope and doing squat jumps.
It was hardly was the workout of my life, but I was moving my body. Whether I’m running six miles or going for a walk or simply making a special effort to take the stairs, I keep myself in the game and feeling positive just by moving. And I have to say that feeling good inspires me to do something good, which is why putting on cute and comfy workout clothes gives me a little boost when motivation is lacking. (Save the over-sized college tees for those Scandal marathons!) Check out the tank top and leggings I’m sporting here.
Last but not least, my final tip. It’s probably the hardest, but it’s also my favorite…
3. Pause. Tune in. Listen. The other night my mind told me that I wanted ice cream for dinner (imagine that!), but I dug a little deeper and realized that what I really wanted was the comfort of something cold and creamy. And that I didn’t want the veggies I had planned on roasting in the oven. I knew that if I ate them just because I felt like I should, that it would backfire. So I decided on a healthier alternative to my initial craving and made a smoothie. Basically I just dumped what I had readily available in my fridge/freezer/pantry into a blender. Here’s what I came up with:
It was so satisfying and hit the spot! When I was relaxing on my couch drinking my smoothie, I also realized that I simply wasn’t in the mood to cook. Sometimes you need to dig deep and make the extra effort even when you aren’t feeling it, but other times you need to pull back and assess how you’re really feeling and WHY. So take a moment..Pause. Tune in. Listen. You may be interested (and surprised!) by what you discover.
What healthy habits make all the difference for you?