Monday, October 20, 2008

Motivation Monday: What Can You Do This Week?

On Mondays we often resolve to start a new diet. We feel guilty for all the calories we consumed over the weekend, going out to eat, having a few drinks with friends, splurging on desserts, and generally throwing caution to the wind. So instead of scaling back we decide to go for the extremes to make up for it: No more chocolate--ever!--we declare; I'll just have a grapefruit half for breakfast and a salad for lunch and some plain chicken and vegetables for dinner from now on; and definitely no snacks anymore.

How long can you really keep up a pattern like that? Depriving yourself and telling yourself "no" all day long, despite true hunger setting in. Trying to ignore the ever-present treats we eye in every store, in every cafeteria line, on every coworker's desk. Have you tried this way before? Okay, so you know it's not going to work!

Instead, try a new idea: Choose ONE thing you can do this week to improve your diet. The goal should be for it to become a long standing habit. Remember that habits don't develop overnight. Certainly you would not easily change all of your eating habits this week, so shooting for a plan like the first one is setting yourself up for failure.

What can you be sure to accomplish this week? Drinking three more glasses of water each day would be a good habit and in no way a deprivation. Including an extra fruit or vegetable serving in your diet each day (or both!) would make your diet more healthy and it's a great goal to shoot for. Maybe you can commit to a 20 minute walk each evening after dinner, or after lunch with a coworker.

If you think these ideas won't help you lose weight, think again. In the long term if you were to establish the walking habit you would be burning an extra hundred calories every day (that's 36,50o a year!) resulting in a weight loss of 10 pounds. If your focus was on eating MORE of something, like fruits, vegetables, or even water, it would take the feeling of deprivation away and be easier for you to follow through each day. Even a positive change that is not diet-related, (like taking 30 minutes a day to relax, or meditate, or journal, or call a good friend) can help reduce your stress and decrease the stress-induced eating behaviors in which we often engage during the week.

Stop the all-or-nothing diet behavior! Find just one new habit you can begin this week. Set yourself up for success and start today.

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