Do I eat perfectly and exercise daily? No. But I’ve gotten really good at listening to my body. I know what nourishes my body and what drains it. With this knowledge, I’ve created boundaries for myself that I don’t cross that keep me in a healthy lifestyle flow.
How does this help? It keeps guilt at bay, so I can stress less and enjoy more. When stress and guilt lead you to self-sabotage, they can do even worse damage to your efforts than choosing French fries over a salad.
For example, perhaps you’ve eaten more than you intended or skipped your workout. You tell yourself you’ll get back on track tomorrow. But tomorrow comes and goes, and you didn’t eat better or workout. Then the next day comes and goes. And consciously or unconsciously, stress and guilt manifest into an attitude of failure. You beat yourself up and find yourself landing near square one, back to square one, or worse off than square one.
Or maybe you have a good handle on making sure you don’t go completely off track, but feel like it requires a lot of effort that often overshadows your enjoyment.
If any of this resonates with you, here are 3 of my winning strategies you to keep yourself in a healthy (and happy!) lifestyle flow … permanently!
#1. Set Personal Pleasure Indicators
What is a pleasure indicator? It’s a set point that you establish by listening to your body and learning what nourishes you, rather than drains you. It’s serves as a guide, or internal limit, you set to keep you feeling in control, successful and honored so you stay in the flow.
Growing up, I didn’t set any pleasure indicators. There were times I’d eat until I felt like I could literally burst. I remember leaving my favorite Mexican restaurant as a young adult with painful little tingling sensations running from one side of my belly to the other because my belly was so full.
As I got older and MUCH wiser, I started to listen more intently to the feeling in my stomach between fullness and pain. I realized that there was a definite line that would lead me from feeling happy and satisfied to sluggish and guilty when crossed. So I consciously created a pleasure indicator to keep myself from overeating.
My portion control pleasure indicator (PPI) serves as a guide to keep me in a comfortable, guilt-free zone.
But that’s not the only benefit I’ve gained!
My portion control PPI helped me realize that I can feel satisfied with less. When I’m eating something particularly delightful and feel myself getting close to my pleasure indicator, I intentionally slow down and mindfully savor my last few bites.
Interesting tidbit: There’s actually science that shows that the first bite of a food is the most satisfying, and that every bite after that progressively declines in taste satisfaction.
Implementing this strategy is particularly helpful if you tend to emotionally or mindlessly eat and struggle to maintain a comfortable weight. Over time, when I reached for food for comfort or mindlessly ate something like popcorn during a movie, it was as though a little bell would go off in my head to signal, “That’s enough. I’m good.”
I have pleasure indicators with both meditation and exercise as well. I know that if I go longer than 3 days without either one of them, I feel a difference in my mood and energy. So I set a pleasure indicator that I cannot go longer than three days without either one. Even if I’m traveling, my kids are home sick from school, or some other obstacle comes up that throws me off my routine, I honor my pleasure indicator and and make the time. It may only be 5-10 minutes of exercise or a 1-5 minutes meditation, but doing even a little gives me an attitude of success and makes it easier to stay on track.
Tip! You can create pleasure indicators for portion control, snacking, exercise, drinking water, meditation, affirmations, sleep, journaling, writing, etc.
#2. Focus on How You Want To Feel!
The best thing about pleasure indicators is that you’re in complete control of them. Nobody else can set them but you. Listening to your body is the key to creating them. But how do you keep your commitment to honor them?
Get crystal clear on how you want to feel and use this to guide your choices throughout the day, rather than making choices based on trying to change your appearance.
Let’s face it. We all, including me, want to both look and feel our best. But focusing on how we want to look will only keep us motivated for so long. It really only serves as a means to getting us what we really want, which is to feel a certain way, right?
When we make choices from a place of love for ourselves and our bodies, it’s easier to connect to how we ultimately want to feel. For me, I want to feel joyful, connected to my true spirit, deeply connected with my family, inspired and inspiring! When I remind myself of that, it’s becomes easy for me to make choices that support me to feel this way because these feelings are unchanging. They are why I get up in the morning. So I use these feelings as my compass when I make choices in my lifestyle … and life!
What about you? I’d love to know what you ultimately want to feel that making love-motivated choices would support. Share in the comments below!
#3. Make It Up to Yourself, Rather Than Beat Yourself Up!
The reality is that there will be times when you teeter over your pleasure indicator. But if you’ve taken the initiative to listen to your body and establish boundaries, then you’ve already set yourself up for quick rebound. And keep in mind, you have the power to choose how you will respond!
Rather than beating yourself up, make it up. Living a healthy lifestyle is a way of life, a journey. That means that you have lots of time and opportunities to learn what works and doesn’t work for you and to correct any slip-ups. And I want to share two secrets that make this strategy particularly effective.
One, be mindful of your mental talk around a slip-up!
Call it what it is — just a slip-up, a learning opportunity that can be easily corrected, as opposed to using a derogatory term like screw up that can lead to a self-defeated frame of mind.
Two, make it up at your earliest opportunity possible!
For example, if you eat beyond your pleasure indicator at dinner, make dinner the last time you eat the rest of that day. You could even exercise a little more intensely or a little longer the next day in addition to sticking to your other pleasure indicators throughout the next day. If you splurge on a cocktail and dessert with a friend at lunch, avoid all snacks the rest of the day and eat a super-nutritious dinner. If you miss your workout for a longer period than your set pleasure indicator, make it up by eating even cleaner than usual.
Implementing these strategies will help you develop an immediate rebound response that keeps you in the flow. And instead of guilt or stress, you’ll find yourself with on a self-affirming, “I got your back” attitude!
In upcoming posts, you’ll learn more simple, yet powerful insights and tools to set yourself up for success! You can be sure not to miss any posts by signing up to receive my Love-Motivated E-Letter.
Who is the LOVE-Motivated E-Letter for?
It’s for those who want to learn simple, yet powerful tools and insights to support themselves, and their kids!, to live a lifestyle where LOVE is your motivator, JOY is your compass, and FULFILLMENT is your daily destination! Sign up below.