Interactive wellness education exclusively for Gallagher Student Health & Special Risk students

Interactive wellness education exclusively for Gallagher Student Health & Special Risk students

Interactive wellness education exclusively for Gallagher Student Health & Special Risk students

Don't Undermine Yourself

Forgiveness and Joy

Inability to Forgive Yourself. So you missed your exercise class or you binged on cookies. Forgive yourself now and start over immediately. Do something that will negate any guilt, shame, or anger you might have about what you did or didn't do. It could be as simple as a walk in the park--literally! Or a phone call to a friend for support.

Make a list of all the positive actions you took this week toward good energy management. You'll see that the number of successes outweighs the one thing that you perceive has made a total failure of your energy management plan. Always think, "Progress not perfection" and keep going!

Lack of Joy in Eating Healthfully. The best way to undermine the nutrition component of your energy management program is to hate what you eat.

There's no need to avoid all the foods you love all the time. This program is based on energy in vs. energy out, not good foods vs. bad foods. Want pizza? Eat one slice, not a whole pizza. Or make your own pizza with reduced fat cheese and fresh veggies. How about a piece of cheesecake? Split it with a friend. Nothing is off-limits, but you are trying to change your behavior around food. It's your birthday? Eat whatever you want that day!

The bottom line if you want to lose weight is to expend more energy than you get from the foods you eat. One glorious episode of gluttony will not negate several weeks of exercise, healthy choices and reasonable portions. Simply increase your activity to burn off some of that extra energy you consumed.

The variety of food we can choose from is dizzying. Yet we so often fall into a rut, eating the same things over and over because they are easily available, inexpensive, familiar, or bring emotional comfort to us.

Think of the money you might be saving because you no longer buy as many snacks. Put that money toward higher-quality food you like, but may have felt you could not afford. If you love seafood, why not reallocate your old snack budget toward a meal of crab legs? Or perhaps you'd eat more fruits and vegetables, but you are picky about freshness, quality, or only like certain varieties? Seek them out and splurge on them.

On the internet, recipes abound providing healthy alternatives to favorite dishes and foods as well as for new culinary creations. Thai, Indian, Japanese, and Vietnamese restaurants among others offer healthy, delicious menu items.

It might take some effort, but you can eat joyfully and healthfully for the rest of your life. And it always helps to have a smiling, supportive friend sitting across from you at mealtimes.

Obstacles to Success. Many of the obstacles to managing your energy successfully are under your control--and you can remove them at any time! Four common impediments to success are:

An Unrealistic Goal. Set a course for long-term success by charting short-term micro-goals that you can sustain for the rest of your life. Rather than focusing on the big goal (lose 30 pounds) and each day seeing that you have not attained it, set a number of small goals that will lead you to that big goal slowly (don't eat while watching TV, walk the dog for 30 minutes, switch to fat-free milk). And congratulate yourself on your daily success in achieving these micro-goals rather than your daily failure to achieve the big goal.

Moreover, make sure your long-term goal is reasonable.

It's hard to outrun your genes. Consider a small, delicate man who is the product of small, delicate parents. It seems obvious to say, "It's highly unlikely that this guy could be the next heavy-weight boxing champion of the world." But it's not as easy for us to factor in our own heredity when we think about our ideal body image. Work with what you've got and make it the best it can be--not the best someone else can be.

Extreme Hunger and Cravings. To avoid extreme hunger and cravings, plan. Know that it's difficult to reduce your energy intake without feeling it deep in your tummy.

If you tend to be a snacker, plan healthy and filling snacks ahead of time and have them readily available--in the car, in your desk drawer, in your purse, in the break room refrigerator. If eating several small meals a day fits your lifestyle, plan them at regular intervals and take them with you wherever you go.

Certain foods will stick with you longer than others. Protein-rich foods such as nuts, cottage cheese, yogurt, boiled eggs, and peanut butter will satisfy you longer and give you a better energy boost (without a sugar or caffeine crash) than a double latte or a caffeinated soda. Fiber-rich foods offer fewer calories and a feeling of fullness. Think grains, fruits, veggies, and beans.

Combine protein and fiber for a smart snack or small meal:

And, of course, you can always have good ol' carrot sticks and celery as a snack.

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