Beauty, Wellness, Recipes, Food
A big salad at lunch is a game changer for health. I remember reading The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes and her confession that, “what happened is, is that you change what your palate wants. I'm suddenly craving fish and salad."
A huge part of jolie is The Salad. It is also one of the most challenging for clients. Somehow - I think it was the iceberg salads of the 80s - salads are seen as the quintessential diet, deprivation food. But, it’s all in your mindset.
Let’s talk about mindset. The mindset that gets me to eating another salad, to actually craving my salad, is first, I look forward to it. As 11 rolls around I start anticipating my salad. I look forward to sitting down, taking a break, and enjoying my lunch. I look forward to seeing the beautiful colors, to all the crunchiness, to the taste of olive oil, the creaminess of avocado or sweetness of fruit. I look forward to the nuts or seeds. I look forward to the variety of lettuce, herbs, and veggies. I look forward to what is seasonal in the salad that I can only have at that time.
I also have a ritual around my salad. I get out a large silver bowl. I dump the salad in and pour the seeds, nuts, and dressing over it and toss with two spoons. Then I sprinkle a pinch of sea salt and pile it on to my favorite white (great color contrast), shallow salad bowl. I sit down. I take a moment of gratitude and enjoy.
I love how full, but light I feel afterwards. I love the variety of flavors. I love how clean my palate feels. Ummm.
You can look at your salad like that. Or, you can say to yourself, “Another salad. I know it’s good for me. It’s going to make me healthier. It helps my digestion. I know my skin loves it. It will help me get these pounds off. They say it will bring down my inflammation.” That too is a mindset.
Choose to cultivate a mindset that makes you feel good and excited about the choices you make. Choose to look at your food in a way that supports your choice to give yourself the best. When you set down to your next salad, think about how awesome it is that you are gifting yourself this bowl of amazingness that is going to energize you and make you feel great.
Learning to take on a mindset that supports you is a tool you can use over and over - whether it is making financial changes so you can switch jobs, training for a marathon, or going back to school. Mindset and self talk is a power tool we can use FOR us!
On the road to health transformation, our food rituals sometimes need to be reframed. One ritual common to many is using food or drink to relax, release frustration, or as an end of the day reward. Often, however, these habits don’t support our health goals or add a few unwanted pounds.
One of my “relearns” when losing weight after Eli was learning to relax without food or wine. Learning to uncouple food and relaxation allowed me to reach health goals faster, grow as a person as I learned new ways to nurture myself, and I began to relax in ways that I didn’t regret later.
When we want to relax, we are looking for relief -from the day, a feeling, or tiredness. I looked at how I felt toward the end of the day from both the cause and effect level. By 7 I was exhausted, so I looked for ways to make my day less exhausting, stressful, and draining. Then I looked at what was available to me as other ways to relax.
Out of the first inquiry came the ever changing list I wrote about last week, “How to Make My Life Easier.” If you missed it, you can find it on our blog. Hopefully, you made your own list and are on the road to making your life easier.
I also made a Pleasure List for new ways to unwind. These are things that give me joy, that are easily accessible (like food), make me feel good (like food), and have no potential downside (unlike relaxation snacking).
Some of the items on the Pleasure List are:
Now write your own Pleasure List of easily accessible ways to relax.
Actively use your two lists. As the day winds down today choose a new way to relax and reward yourself for all your efforts today. Learning new ways to nourish yourself and stay aligned to your goals will build your momentum of showing up for yourself and trusting your ability to nurture yourself.
If you think you don't have time to take care of yourself or work on your goals, I suggest you begin to look at ways to free up the physical and mental time you need.
I frequently ask myself, “How Can I Make My Life Easier.”
Making life easier translates into more efficiency, smoother flow, and less decision making time spent throughout the day. Doing this gives you mental space to take care of the things you want to focus on now. It's the only way I find time to take care of myself.
Here is my list:
1. Don’t make life harder than it needs to be. This is the cardinal rule. If something doesn’t fit, feels like it’s more work than it needs to be, causes needless aggravation, or drains you - hit the eject button. There is always something better for you.
2. Make pleasure a priority. Whatever you are doing use your mindset and environment to make it fun - it will go faster and the "doing" won't drain you as much. If you have to run around all day - you want to enjoy the running. Hating it makes it drudgery. If you have a lot to do, don’t complain and moan about it. That makes it worse. If we have learned anything from lockdown, it's a privilege to have things to do. Life can seem like groundhogs day, but music, laughter, dancing, smiling, and self care elevate life.
3. Delegating to the soldiers as my daughter says. Ask for help. Ask for help with errands, cooking, cleaning, laundry. Give up carrying your cross by yourself and being the martyr. Everyone benefits - the home runs smoother and everyone feels like part of a community. Praise all the help given - even when not exactly what you expected. Praise gets us so much farther than “constructive criticism.”
4. Automate as much as possible. I have standing appointments for all my regular self care like nails for instance. I sign up for dry cleaning pick up and delivery, coffee bean subscriptions, and automatic refills. All doctors appointments I group - so everything gets done in a 2-3 week period.
5. Get as much support as you can afford. You know your pain points. For me it’s housekeeping, so I schedule as much as I can. When the kids were not driving, I hired someone to help with the driving. When they were younger, it was childcare so I didn’t have to take everyone, everywhere. It is okay to not do everything yourself. If lightening the load, makes you lighter - it benefits everyone.
6. Create uniforms for yourself or a capsule wardrobe. I recently came back to this as I was spending too much time figuring out what to wear on Sundays; but, when I was a young mom, my “uniform” was my daily shortcut to fabulous. Last year, I worked on a capsule wardrobe so that everything in the closet coordinates, fits, and compliments. It is a game changer.
7. Schedule yourself for efficiency. Group errands, tasks, or activities together in a way that it’s easier to knock them out.
8. Clear out energy frequently. I clear my own energy with journaling and meditation. Holding on to things drains your focus and mental energy. I also clear the house with palo santo or sage regularly.
9. Take a Saturday to declutter, then take a few minutes a day to declutter. A Princeton study showed that decluttering can cut housekeeping time by 40%.
Take a moment now to make your own list. Use mine for inspiration and tailor your list with specifics you can implement now to lighten you load.
Being uncomfortable is a quality of change in progress. I work with many clients who are healing their bodies through food. Most come with the expectation of deprivation - needing to cut out tasty food and their favorite foods.
The knee jerk reaction we have when our doctor says our cholesterol is out of whack, or we get pre-diabetic numbers, or the scale goes into scary territory is to cut, eliminate, and forbid certain foods. Our actions are the equivalent to slash and burn agriculture. Unfortunately, the results are similar too. We end up in a cycle in unsustainability where our willpower is depleted, and like the used up land, we abandon our goals.
I want you to know you don’t have to go into deprivation.
Deprivation is not a sustainable way to live. There is no joy there. It leaves us seeking cheat days, binge weekends, and eventually we get close enough to our goal that the pain of continuing our diet of deprivation is worse than the angst that started us off. When that happens, we stop and end up back where we started.
I want you to be willing to be uncomfortable. But here is the key, the discomfort that needs to come and be worked through is mental - you will have to change your mindset.
My most successful clients are willing to take the dietary changes that need to be made slowly. The pace allows them to do the mental work that reteaches them how to eat, changes the relationship they have with themselves, and gives them a way of eating they can commit to for the rest of their lives.
If you are reading this, you probably have a health goal right now. I am going to help you see some small changes you can make now. Think of all the foods you eat that are not aligned with your health goals. Make a list of them. These are your yellow light foods.
Now think of all the foods you eat that are aligned with your health goals. Make a list of those - these are your green light foods. From a place of love, decide what you are eating tomorrow. What can you decide to eat tomorrow that will support you in moving closer to your goal?
Write down all your meals and your snacks that you are choosing for yourself. You can include as many green light foods as you want to eat tomorrow; then choose something from the yellow light list that you choose to eat tomorrow.
Tomorrow you will eat your pre-decided foods. The list is not one of deprivation, but of choice. Now, we get uncomfortable There will be things you want to eat tomorrow that are not on your plan. But, we are going to show up for ourselves. The next day we can include them if we want.
Food is tied with emotions. So, as you sit in discomfort know that it is okay, it is normal, and you are being there for yourself. Frustration, tiredness, exhaustion, restlessness may all come. It’s okay. You will gently hold yourself through it.
Taking each day as described above will create lasting change.
Words to Live By
I am not a heroine, but I have chosen the person I want to be.