A diagnosis or threat of disease motivates many to start a wellness program, but is often not enough to keep people going. For example, tobacco users are well aware of the long term consequences of tobacco use such as lung cancer and emphysema but it is not enough to motivate certain individuals to quit. So what does work? Connecting people with their values, strong motivators and purpose has a much more powerful impact.
A former client of mine who was a smoker lost a grandmother to lung cancer yet this was not a motivator for her to quit. Protecting her own health was not a motivator either. As we continued to explore reasons to quit smoking she said having a child of her own would motivate her to quit.
Another former client who was obese with various health risks tried diet after diet with no lasting success. When she connected her health to her faith and helping others in her community it was life changing. She now supports members of her church who want to lose weight by holding a weekly support group. By helping others she has been able to help herself.
The initial shock of a diagnosis of any disease is enough to shake us up into behavior change but what is going to keep you going? This will take a little digging, thinking and soul searching but it is worth it. Finding your purpose to be well is extremely powerful.
To start you can ask yourself what are your motivators? Why do you want to do this? No superficial answers like I want to look good and feel better. Don’t we all? What does it mean to be healthy? What will you be able to do if you are fit and full of energy? How will staying healthy help your family? What will you be able to do if you are in good health? Go on that trip to Thailand you have been thinking about? Plant a garden? Play with your grand-kids? Often you will find the fear of the disease is not as motivating as the joy of possibilities!
More and more informationn is being discovered about the importance of getting 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. In terms of weight loss, a lack of sleep affects our ability to lose weight by interfering with the hormonal processes that take place while you sleep.
The two hormones that are key in this process are ghrelin and leptin. Leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating, and when you are sleep deprived, your body makes less leptin. Ghrelin is the hormone that tells you when to eat. When you are sleep-deprived, your body makes more ghrelin. The result? Your body is telling you to eat more and your body is not telling you when to stop. In other words more ghrelin + less leptin = weight gain.
Keep a sleep log to see if you are getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night. If you are not, make a list of the barriers that prevent you from getting 7-8 hours of sleep. Are your barriers to quality sleep things that you have the ability to change? If so, what can you do differently to get your ZZZ’s?
We have many choices each day when it comes to our well-being. What we choose to eat being a big one. Have you ever thought about how food affects your mood? Have you ever though about how your mood affects your food choice? I am not here to get preachy and tell you what to eat and what not to eat, I am just asking you to be a mindful observer of how your food choices make you feel and how your mood affects what you choose.
A great way to observe how your food choices make you feel or what you are feeling when you make your food choice is to create an awareness journal. In your notes include things like:.
How hungry were you when you ate or were you even hungry at all?
What kind of day were you having? What was going on?
A summary of what you ate (don’t worry about counting calories, fat grams, etc..)
How you felt when you were done eating.
Did you notice any connection with your hunger level and food choices? Are there any patterns with regards to your mood and your food choices or how much you ate? How about your energy level? Were you tired, bored or stressed?
If you ate too much, make a note of how you felt both physically and emotionally. If you ate and you were not even hungry, what was going on at that moment? Remember, this is about mindful self-awareness, not about feeling guilty or shameful with regard to your choices. All we are looking to do is recognize patterns and build new habits that will lead to instinctive eating.