Discovering Satisfaction and Focusing on the Positives

 

 

 

 

Putting the Emphasis on What Went Well
Our sessions started with a weekly check-in with everyone, in which they shared a fitness and food success. Some people wanted to also talk about ways they weren’t so good or didn’t do so well, but I asked them to only share what went well and any positive insights they got. The reason for focusing just on what went well is to avoid putting the focus on self-criticism or not being good or perfect enough, which most people do to the exclusion of seeing what they did in fact accomplish. You can feel like a failure and want to give up, when in fact you had a really good week full of positive changes and successes. This was eye-opening for several people who couldn’t see their successes at first and then realized they had been far more successful than they had given themselves credit.

Naturally Making Healthier Food Choices
As we did our check-in, again and again the group members shared how great they felt about achieving their fitness goals and making changes in their eating behaviors. They were having successes and ah-ha observations about food that was helping them make positive changes in their approach to food. A big change was the drop in overeating. If overeating happened, it occurred only a few times during the entire week, which was a big shift. They were also beginning to make healthy food choices and smaller portion sizes that were more satisfying than what they’d been doing in the past, and finding they were enjoying their food more. What they loved is they were doing this without feeling forced or because they should, but instead as a natural extension of their awareness of hunger and fullness levels – called Intuitive Eating.

The real test was Super Bowl Sunday, and nearly everyone avoided overeating or being totally out of control that day for the first time ever. Some of them deliberately portioned out smaller amounts, others made healthier versions of their party foods, many simply stopped as they began to feel full, and a few discovered they didn’t really want any of the food after all.

Getting Motivated by How Good It Feels to Move
They were also getting excited about how much better they were feeling from being more active and discovering how to pick activities that were most enjoyable. A number of people got outside and walked, which they really enjoyed, rather than get on their indoor exercise equipment. Some parked much further way from their destinations and got in more walking and felt more energized. Several others got a Wii Fit this past week and loved it so much they overdid it. A number of people pushed themselves to do more than they had set as a goal, and several of them felt really sore as a result. Getting sore isn’t a bad thing, but it can be a warning sign that you are doing too much too soon. I’ve learned over the years in my practice, that doing too much can lead to overuse injuries, joint pain, lower immune systems that show up as repeated colds, or a feeling of frustration and giving up. There is time to build up to doing more and giving the body a chance to acclimate to the changes. The best way to progress is by incrementally adding no more than 5-10% more time (or intensity) each week and checking in to see if you (and your body) are ready to progress.

Setting Realistic Fitness Goals
The last thing we discussed was setting fitness goals for the upcoming week, and this week they got a fitness journal to track their goals and what they actually accomplished. You can get a copy of this from the contest website.

Read the rest of this post for tips to setting realistic goals.

Hear what the participants have to say about their individual experiences this past week by reading their comments to this post.

Have a healthy and active week,
Alice

  • Heather H

    Using the food and fitness journal is becoming more of a habit and much easier. I feel like I am getting into a routine. I now look forward to getting outside for walks and incorporating stretching into my daily activities. By journaling, I am becoming more aware of when I am eating and what my emotions are — I am realizing that eating under stressful conditions (such as trying to get a two year old to sit at the table) is not satifying. I am now working on strategies to address this issue which might include waiting until the kids have eaten before I eat. I feel stronger and healthier.

  • Bobbi

    I focused this week on fitness and set a goal to 30 minutes per day (thinking that I should be able to push myself to meet that goal. With the help of Alice, I found that the goals I set needed to be adjusted to keep me positive and focused.

    After thinking about Alice’s question as to what was driving me to be so aggressive I came to the realization that I desperately wanted “me” back – that I hate the way I look and was trying to fast forward our work (as I have with so many other programs). That being said, I knew I needed to refocus and set a more attainable plan for the week. Slowing myself down a bit, I found that I not only met my goals this week but for the first time truly did not hate the exercising. I love that I actually met my goals.

  • Maureen

    It’s been a particularly stressful week, but I continue to feel healthy and strong. Because I kept my fitness goals realistic, I was still able to meet them despite my personal difficulties. Having written goals, and sharing them with Alice beforehand, really helps me stay on track and avoid that all or nothing mentality that has so often made me feel like a failure in the past. I’m choosing activities that are fun and make me feel good rather than looking at exercise as just another thing that I “should” do, and I think that’s helped me manage my stress.


Alice Greene
Healthy Lifestyle Success Coach

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