What it takes to stay committed to your health

Real commitment doesn’t always have to be about sacrifice — or does it? When it comes to your health, where do we draw the line between having our cake and eating it, too, to avoid the self-defeating behaviour of not allowing ourselves certain indulgences? And when should we hold true to a commitment to our health and our well-being and ensure our bodies are getting the best treatment possible — no sugar, no alcohol, no processed foods?

Real commitment doesn’t always have to be about sacrifice — or does it?

When it comes to your health, where do we draw the line between having our cake and eating it, too, to avoid the self-defeating behaviour of not allowing ourselves certain indulgences? And when should we hold true to a commitment to our health and our well-being and ensure our bodies are getting the best treatment possible — no sugar, no alcohol, no processed foods?

According to the turkey farmers of Canada, 3.1 million whole turkeys are purchased at Thanksgiving countrywide. That tells me there is also a whole lot of pumpkin pie with whipped cream to go with it. And don’t forget the fixings and the alcohol!

So should we convince ourselves to enjoy guilt free and allow these times of sacrifice to let loose, enjoy … not be too hard on ourselves? Or is that just an excuse to indulge in our inherent over-consuming nature that leads us ultimately to feeling bloated, fatigued and feeling the need to shed some weight?

Is there another way to stay committed to our health goals?

We could implement some healthier alternatives. A raw pumpkin cheesecake on a chocolate pecan crust with coconut whipped cream and an additional fall harvest salad including wild rice with black beans, olive oil, lemon juice, fresh herbs with some crushed walnuts and dried cranberries. Getting in some nature time with the family — something active.

But for some, who are we kidding? When we want to indulge we will indulge!

The choice is ultimately yours. Either way, post-Thanksgiving is always a good time to recommit — no matter what your track record of failures. And remember you cannot make a real commitment unless you accept that it’s a choice that you keep making again and again and again. Here are some thoughts on what it takes to get stay committed.

l Ask yourself what results you are looking for. What is your desired outcome? Write it down.

l Now ask yourself what action steps it will take to get there. Reflect on your behaviours and which ones you deem appropriate and inappropriate to stay in line with your commitments. The bottom line is to stay accountable to your actions. Be flexible in the journey to achieve your results and ask yourself how deeply you desire the desired result. The deeper the desire, the more committed you will be.

l Finally, post it! Don’t post the desired outcome, just post the action steps. Look at your calendar and see where you are fitting it in.

Remember it’s always about the small stuff that makes all the difference so stop trying to overachieve. Try a few 30-minute walks. An extra litre of water a day. One cup of oatmeal a day was found to have the equivalent effects on extending a woman’s life as running four hours per week, according to the Harvard Nurses Health Study. Commit to that oatmeal — or a chia pudding a day! Stock the freezer with some healthy soups.

Reflect on your own behaviour and choose to commit to something over the next 30 days you know will make a difference in your life. You might just be thankful that you did.

We want to hear what your thoughts are! Join the conversation and share how you made it through the holidays and your new commitments. Post at www.facebook.com/somethingtochewon.

Kristin Fraser, BSc, is a holistic nutritionist and local freelance writer. Her column appears every second Thursday. She can be reached at kristin@somethingtochewon.ca. Join the conversation and share how you made it through the holidays and your new commitments. Post at www.facebook.com/somethingtochewon.

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