JCC Pittsburgh on June 18, 2015
If it’s one thing I wish I could fix, it would be people’s “all or nothing” approach when thinking about health. Don’t start some diet that’s so vastly different from the way you eat- figure out something that fits your preferences and approach this as an ongoing process. Can I save a bit here? Can I burn a bit there? Most experts agree it all boils down to changing your relationship with food. The most important component to losing stress around weight is letting go of the diet mentality, which creates guilt. When we get caught up in that type of thinking, it becomes hard to listen to your body and its cues, and that’s one of the most reliable tools we have. In other words, a little inner conversation can go a long way. Consciousness, mindfulness, whatever you want to call it, is about creating a calm, nonjudgmental voice in your brain that will allow you to relax around food and enjoy each bite.
It doesn’t make sense to talk about diet and weight control without mentioning exercise, but instead of thinking boot camp, just try increasing your activity level. Exercise is a known stress reducer, and those who do the best with the weight-gain-with-age trend are those who move regularly. Just think 10-15 minute blocks, twice a day. Just 15 minutes of resistance training, 2-3 times a week, to preserve the strength we naturally lose over time. Combine that with just 15 minutes of something active- say walking- and you have met the Government’s daily activity recommendation.
Lastly, make your setbacks temporary. As you adjust to these changes, be kind to yourself. Everyone has days when exercise doesn’t happen or a co-worker brings in cookies. Don’t punish yourself for merely being human. The key to keeping these situations low-stress is to treat every experience separate.