So it’s the end of January and you’ve already “failed.” Whatever New Year’s Resolution you made at the beginning of the year has already gone down-hill. It’s okay, the truth is most New Year’s Resolutions do fail. Why is that? Because New Year’s Resolutions are stupid…there I said it. Change isn’t easy and it doesn’t happen overnight, regardless of what the calendar says.
A resolution is defined as making a firm decision to do or do not do something. Well, perhaps making a firm decision at the stroke of midnight while coming off a holiday high in the middle of winter doesn’t work for everyone. We often set too high expectations for ourselves and then become disappointed when we can’t fulfill this unreasonable rule we have set for ourselves.
Don’t get me wrong; some people thrive on firm decisions and fast change. That’s great if it works for you. However, we also have to recognize that the end of January is the most depressing time of the year. This is partly due to the disappointment of “failing” your New Year’s Resolution. Since most New Year’s Resolutions are around health and diet, as holistic nutritionists we would like to propose a different way. We call it, The Upward Spiral.
We all know about the downward spiral. You start off with the best intentions.For example, let’s say your New Year’s resolution is to eat healthier. At the outset, you buy lots of healthy food, perhaps even too much, or perhaps food you are unfamiliar with.This leaves you feeling overwhelmed and stressed. You’re also probably tired because the holidays were exhausting. Too tired and busy to prepare the food you bought, so you eat convenient food instead. This makes you feel guilty and more stressed, which leads to further binging.Finally, it’s the end of the week and you are now throwing your wilted veggies in the garbage and order pizza, watch Netflix and vow to try again next week.
So what’s the upward spiral then? It’s just the opposite – rather than letting one bad habit lead to the next, start with one good habit and go from there. Just as easy as it is to spiral downward, you can turn it around. As your health improves, your energy increases. This means you have more energy to prepare healthy meals and exercise. You are also happier and less stressed and less likely to succumb to cravings.You don’t have to change everything overnight, you just need to start with one small thing, commit to it and go from there.
Here are a few ideas to start you on your upward spiral:
In order for your body function properly, it must be able to flow and move. Nutrients have to flow in, and waste must move out. Starting your day off with water will encourage you to keep drinking water throughout the day.
When you are well hydrated, you feel more energized and focused. Which means you will make healthier choices. Lemon and water also stimulate bile flow, alkalize and cleanse the body.
If going on a detox diet seems like too much for you at the moment, start with this mini detox every morning. This is why staying hydrated is a good first step to start you on an upward spiral.
Why is change so hard? Because most of what we do is habitual. We are going on autopilot. The cure for this is mindfulness.
Meditation and practices, such as yoga and tai chi, teach you how to be more mindful in your daily life. This will teach you how to be more in tune with your body. You’ll begin to notice more of what foods make you feel good and what foods make you feel bad. So healthy choices will come easier.
You will also be able to stay calmer and focused – meaning you can avoid binge eating to manage stress. Even just 10-15 minutes a day can start you on that upward spiral.
It’s important to have a clear health plan that fits your needs and your life. It’s hard to do it on your own, especially with all the health information on the internet today, which can get confusing.
It’s also helpful to have someone to be accountable to, but won’t judge you like a spouse or friend.
The Upward Spiral can also be described as a ripple effect. Small changes can lead to big things.
So let’s resolve to make small goals throughout the year instead of one big resolution in January. Let’s resolve to ditch the guilt and added stress and instead focus on appreciating the person you are now.
Once you start to feel good, you will want to take better care of yourself and healthy eating will seem less like a chore and more like an act of self-care and self-love. This is The Upward Spiral.
As the busy mother of a baby, toddler and child, Certified Nutritionist Kirsten Colella is all about planning and setting small daily and weekly goals. Kirsten is living proof that even when strapped for time (and patience), your small food habit improvements can help get you through crazy days. You can find Kirsten’s recipes, colourful food pics and food ideas on our Instagram page at @essentialbalanceholistic.
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