Wait for it…

So far, most of my posts have been more abstract about things like being kind to your self or getting inspired or taking it one step at a time. Here’s something a little more practical.

A strategy that has worked for me in the past  –  and one I’m trying to re-implement now  –  is to wait for it. In other words, if there is something I know I want to eat, I wait until at least the afternoon to have it. If I splurge in the morning, I could be in big trouble all day long.

For example, I am a Coke-drinker. I just really enjoy the taste of a good, cold Coke. I’ve tried cutting back – or cutting it out – a million times. But it’s hard! Right now, my goal is to drink a maximum of 4 ounces a day. However, if I indulge in the late morning, it’s almost a given that I will be giving in again in the afternoon. And I end up way beyond that 4-ounce limit. But if I wait until after 2pm – or later – then I’m usually good! It also helps me to get in some much healthier water earlier in the day. (Another tip here, if you also enjoy soda, is to switch to seltzer water. It’s an acquired taste, for sure, but the flavored ones can be pretty good. And sometimes, I really just like all that bubbly carbonation.)

Here’s another example. I love chocolate. In fact, I’m always a little suspicious of people who actually don’t like chocolate. Really?? Come on! I’ve gotten pretty good at choosing dark chocolate. Sometimes I don’t even want to waste the calories on something that is only milk chocolate (except perhaps the occasional Snickers bar!). Again, if I can hold off until the afternoon for that sumptuous bite of rich, dark chocolate – perhaps coating some crunchy, salty cashews – it really works. I make a healthier choice in the morning and at lunch and then I can really savor the delicious treat later in the day.

It may seem obvious, but sometimes those are the best tips of all!

Now I’m going to go enjoy that taste of dark chocolate!

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“One Step at a Time”

I get email updates from Yoga Journal and am often inspired by the short texts they send. Here’s the latest:

One Step at a Time

Do you ever look at an advanced yoga practitioner in an awe-inspiring pose and think to yourself, “I would never be able to do that!”?

Join the club. Most yoga students can relate to being envious overwhelmed, or discouraged when they see someone doing what seems to be an unobtainable pose. But instead of concentrating on your own shortcomings, next time try to focus on the potential in your yoga practice—if not physical, then certainly spiritual.

Although there will always be exceptions, most accomplished yogis didn’t come out of the womb with the abilities they display in those awesome postures. They used yoga as a tool to gradually improve their flexibility, strength, and concentration—just like you’re doing. And remember, yoga isn’t about being able to shape your body into a pretzel. It’s about what you learn about yourself while you practice that matters.

That’s what I love about yoga. I have had the experience of thinking I could never do what the person next to me is doing … and now I’m doing it! I never thought my heels would reach the floor in downward dog. I never thought I would even like downward dog. Now my heels hit the ground, and I revel in the stretch and strength I feel in the pose. I have long struggled with “threading the needle”. I only recently began to understand how it can open my over-tight shoulders. Now I want to learn more.

But these ideas go far beyond a yoga practice. “One step at a time.” That’s what it’s all about. And it’s about taking that step. My mom always tells me, “you’re never done!” Sometimes that is an overwhelming thought!! Now that I have lost a lot of weight, it feels like I should be done. But I’m not. Alas. I find myself slipping into frustration and negative thinking – back to old habits. Just like yoga, this new way of being is a practice. It isn’t as thought I dust off my hands and declare, “there! Now I’m finished!” Nope. I have to keep practicing. One step at a time.

For me, that means going back to logging my food. And changing negative thoughts into positive ones. Looking at myself in the mirror and seeing the good – even the beauty. It means taking a deep breath and letting those negative thoughts go with a big exhale. One step at a time.