Episode 321 – Taking Action on Your Health and Wellness Goals

Written by Jonathan

Last episode I talked about how to figure out where to aim your health and wellness changes, to write out exactly what your perfect health and wellness day might look like. The idea being that you could look at this list of all the things you think you could be doing to be healthier, picking one of those things and then making the necessary changes to move you closer to that goal or activity. Some of you took the time to make your list, went through it carefully and made a decision about what it was you needed to change and started doing it, if you’re one of those people I’m really glad you took that step and I hope it’s working out for you. For other’s you decided to not do the list, but you knew of one thing that needed to change and you decided to just start doing that without making the list, this works well too because it’s progress in the direction you want to go and truthfully not everyone needs a list, but some people find it more helpful to lay it all out.

Now, Some of you listened to the episode and forgot about it or made your list, but weren’t quite ready to act on it, which is okay, at least you’re thinking about it and if I were to ask you directly there’s a good chance you know of one thing that needs to change. Now going forward whether you make a list or not I want you to think about that one thing you need to change as you listen to this story I’m about to share. I think everyone will be able to relate to it in someway.

Last Thursday night I went on a bit of an eating binge, which happens from time to time. I hadn’t done any formal exercise during the day, my calendar was packed from start to finish with external commitments that involved other people, which in reality was my story of my whole week, last week, I scheduled in 3 separate days of shooting videos for our new fitness applications, we had a team meeting that required some prep, I had 15 sessions with my own personal clients that I see on a regular basis, plus all the other things that go into running the company. I hadn’t exercised as much as I normally would during the week and when 8:30 rolled around Thursday night when I’m usually starting to get ready for bed or on nights when I’m really prepared already on bed, I instead decided to go for a 4 mile easy run on the treadmill and catch some Olympic action at the same time. Except this is what happened, during my run I couldn’t make myself run even the slow pace I had intended, my legs felt like cement, which in reality is no problem it happens sometimes and I’ve learned to deal with it, except at about half way in I started to get the shakes and more short of breath than I should have been. This happens to me from time to time when I don’t eat enough food, have a more stressful week than normal and try to over exert myself in a workout. I stopped running, did some stretches while I watched the Olympics and then I decided I was really hungry and needed to eat something, so I strolled on over to the fridge opened the door starred into it for a while decided there was nothing there for me, then I opened the freezer stared at it for a bit and decided there was nothing there for me, went to the pantry, you know where there’s always something to eat, played the hmmm there’s something sweet game, maybe some nachos would be good they’re not so bad, hmmm I closed the door to the pantry and went back to the fridge, then the freezer, then back to the fridge, I did this a few times and finally decided on two pieces of toast with peanut butter and 3 over easy eggs. It’s a stretch for my rules, but based on how I was feeling I decided it’s what my body needed and it would have been fine, except I was still hungry when I was done and that’s when I got into the cranberry, shortbread, icing sugar cake thing leftovers that I had found in the freezer, I didn’t even wait for it to thaw I just ate it, which still didn’t do it, then I remembered we had leftover chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing from my sons birthday in November in the deep freeze, so yes from almost 4 months ago. I negotiated 2 for myself, I didn’t wait for them to thaw either and decided 2 more should do the trick, after I finished eating them I caught myself realized what I was doing, had a glass of water, felt something between guilt and shame then I went to bed, I mean showered and went to bed I’m not an animal.

I got up the next day feeling a bit hungover from the sugar and went on with my regular day, but I was bothered about what happened the night before, so I analyzed all the things that lead to that binge and here’s what I came up with:

I had unintentionally restricted the amount of food I was eating through poor planning, I crammed too much into my week and didn’t have enough food pre-prepared so I just ate nothing instead.
I stayed up past 9 o’clock when I should have just gone to bed, I know I’m prone to late night snacking when I stay up past 9. Even though I stayed up for a run I should have listened to my body that it was starting to break down, gone to bed instead and just done my regular workout the following day.
I shouldn’t have crammed so many things into such a short period of time, where I was externally committed and couldn’t push anything to another time
Lastly, or I think lastly, I had this food in the house in the first place, the victim part of me says well I didn’t buy it, other people made it or brought it over. But the taking responsibility part of me says I should have thrown it out, there’s no nutritional value in it at all, at least not in the shortcake or cupcakes.

I want to pause here for a second, because I want to point out something that a lot of people don’t realize or may have not noticed, everything on this list is something within my control and none of if is about my character as a person. Often when we work with clients they’ll say things like, ‘I was bad last night, I had deep fried pita’ or ‘no one loves me because I’m fat, but I can’t control myself once I start eating’ and then the client will feel a lot of shame and guilt or unworthy when they eat, I can hear it in their voices.

Binge eating doesn’t make you a bad person and it doesn’t make you unloveable, it just means you haven’t found the right strategies for you to avoid it. I know when I look at the things I can control and focus on changing those, it helps me be a lot kinder to myself and it helps me forgive myself when things don’t go according to plan. Sorry, that’s not what this episode is supposed to be about, but I think it’s important to point out, as you make your changes.

Let’s look at the abridged version of my analyses:
I’m prone to binge eating after 9
I tried to cram too much work into my week
I didn’t have healthy food pre-prepared and readily available to eat quickly
I had the garbage food in my house, in the first place

What are some strategies I could implement right away :
I could set an alarm to start my bedtime routine at 8 not matter what and if I don’t get everything done, I need to do less in the day or plan better. This is actually a strategy I’ve been using since this episode will call it happened and I’ve been in bed by 9 every night, but one, I think.
I could cram less work into my day, I don’t like that plan because we’ve got a lot of stuff on the go right now, but I could still be better at planning breaks and food breaks into my day, something I could do is prep my lunch and snacks the night before for the next day. I do this a bit the morning of while my breakfast is cooking, but I don’t think I’m ready for the night before step, but we’ll see.
Whenever food I know I shouldn’t be eating shows up in the house, I could just throw it out, this one bugs me because I hate wasting food, for now I will continue to hide it in the freezer, under the vegetables in an opaque container, but I may have to make the leap at some point, we have a lot friends and family that bring unhealthy food over.

In terms of changes I could make I think that’s the most I could handle right now and the one I’m going to focus on is getting to bed earlier, because when I get to bed early and wake up early, I get a lot more stuff done, in a shorter time and I feel way better doing it.

I’m not sure what kinds of changes you need or want to make, but your reflection could go a similar way. Whether you write your perfect health and wellness day out or not, I’m not sure that matters for everyone, but there’s a good chance you know when you’re prone to behaviours that move you away from your goal of being healthier and ones that will help you move closer. Taking a step back and looking at what circumstances caused the behaviour in the first place will allow you to create systems and strategies that move you in the right direction. When you first start they won’t be perfect and they might not work, which is fine at least you’re figuring it out one way or the other. When you find stuff that works keep it and when it doesn’t work, throw it out.



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