Increasing exercise and decreasing calories is the typical protocol for achieving weight loss. Although relatively self-explanatory, most fall short after the first few weeks of effort. Why you might ask? You’d think that with the mathematical equation of calories in, calories out, everyone looking to drop those extra pounds would do so.
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple for most. Changing habits and adjusting your lifestyle is the most important yet challenging component when looking to reach health goals long-term. You may start your day and think about going for a run or preparing healthy meals,but work, stress, and just about anything gets in the way, preventing you from following through with these thoughts.
Mindfulness is one of the most powerful tools we have for creating new habits. Change starts with your thoughts and ends with your actions. Mindfulness teaches us how to step back a bit and notice ingrained thought patterns and then allows us to then respond differently.
The Mindful Pause
Before reacting, take three breaths to create some distance from your thoughts. This gives you the space and time to recognize what you’re feeling or thinking when you want to break a habit and stop judging your thoughts as good or bad.
Watch Your Failures and Successes
Change is not about perfection, you can actually learn just as much from not doing a habit. If your goal is to eat less processed carbs (i.e. white bread), and when you do you notice you feel lighter, your energy is high and you feel good about yourself.
But a few days later you eat out and order a cheeseburger and heavy sides. If you pay attention, you might notice that the bread feels heavy in your stomach and you feel tired and guilty after eating it. Just by noticing what it’s like to break your habit you can learn to make a better choice next time.
New to Mindfulness?
Try this one day challenge to start practicing mindfulness. Tomorrow, have a goal to have three mindfulness minutes, a short time period where you bring yourself to the present moment and check in with yourself. Here’s some structure to help you know what to focus on:
1. Body– Locate any tension you have in the body, how are you
2. Emotions– Are you frustrated, sad, stressed?
3. Thoughts– Are you stuck in the past or worrying about the future?
4. Location– Where are you right now?
Take those four steps and you’re done, you just practiced mindfulness. Every time we make a small change we’re rewiring our brain and rewiring our habits. Start with one change today.
How will you practice mindfulness today?
Alicia Class is a Certified Nutrition Wellness Coach, Co-Founder of Daily Fruition. You can learn more about her here.