Appreciate the life you are living and achieve more through EnerG coach, Ellen Goldman. Your questions on balance, motivation and your lifestyle are answered through these simple tips and solutions. Get more out of your life with the help of Identity.
Question: Sometimes, despite being excited and motivated, when I have a big project planned, I find myself procrastinating getting started. It’s not that I sit around doing nothing. I work on lots of other tasks, telling myself I need to complete them first. But then at the end of the day, I feel disappointed that I haven’t even begun working on the new project. What gives?
Answer: I call that “productive procrastination.” As you say, it’s not that you are lazy or unmotivated. You actually fill your hours working on many other things. And let’s face it, it feels good to cross stuff off our lists. With new projects, we tell ourselves we have to clear our to-do list to make room for the new project. Even if many of those items pale in comparison to the value the new project could bring to our life! The best way to figure out how to get past the procrastination is to figure out why you are procrastinating. Does the new project require tasks you’ve never done before and you’re unsure of how to do them? Does it feel so overwhelming, with so many steps that you don’t know where to begin? Is it a project you yourself dreamed of and really want to do, or is someone else saying you should do it? Once you know your why, you can figure out how to begin. First, schedule small blocks of time into your calendar that you commit to working on this new project. Make it a non-negotiable appointment. No cancellations allowed. Break the project down into small chunks and just work on first steps first. Enlist someone who can teach you how to do the tasks that are unfamiliar or hire someone to do them for you. And if you figure out that it’s something you appreciate could add value to your life, but it’s something you really don’t want to do at this time, put it on a “Maybe one day” list and move on to something that feels more inspiring at this time.
Question: I’ve been reading a lot about the field of “mindfulness” and it’s relationship to weight loss. It’s sounds too good to be true…just by being more mindful when I am eating I’ll lose weight?!? Really? What exactly does it mean and how would I apply some of these techniques if I wanted to give it a try.
Answer: Think of being “mindful” as turning the full beam of attention onto one thing at a time, and really taking in the experience with full engagement. When it comes to food and eating, way too often we are busy doing something else while eating, rushing through to get to the next thing we need to do, and eating too fast to appreciate the taste, smell, texture and enjoyment of the foods that make up our meals. One of the first ways mindfulness is being used to help individuals with weight challenges, is teaching them to be mindful of when they are truly physically hungry, and when they are satisfied without being stuffed. This cuts way back on mindless eating, which always leads to excess calories. Then, slow down and eat with no distractions. No phones, emails, computers or even reading. Time to get back to truly tasting the food and savoring the experience of eating. When you mindfully connect to food being fuel for your body, you begin to appreciate healthy fare leading to an optimally functioning body. Notice how you feel after eating veggies, fruits, grains, lean protein and healthy fat vs. ice cream, chips, or processed cakes and cookies. Junk food begins to lose it’s appeal. When you add up mindfully thinking about whether or not you really are hungry before reaching for food, mindfully connecting to the choices you make, and slowing down to mindfully connect with when you’ve had enough, you’ll be delighted as you mindfully pay attention to the excess pounds slipping away.
Question: Eating healthy is really important to me. I try hard to prepare good dinners for my family but find my young kids are finicky eaters. The vegetables I put on their plates are usually left and they beg for ice cream for dessert rather than fruit. I find myself frustrated and angry, and slowly dinner is becoming a battle ground rather than a calming place to come together as a family. To avoid the arguments, lately I find myself bringing home pizza or chinese food and cooking less and less. Any suggestions?
Answer: There is no point in trying to force your kids to eat their veggies and fruit out right. Save yourself the aggravation of making an issue out of food with them. Do your best to remove emotion from food choices. The best you can do is to be a “role model” for healthy eating. Just make veggies part of YOUR daily dinner always and have fresh and dried fruit easily accessible in your household, and they’ll come around eventually. If they are old enough, include them in the meal planning and food preparation. If they enjoy pizza and Chinese, try making home-made version. Whole-wheat pizza dough is readily available, and you may be able to squeeze in whichever vegetables they are willing to eat as one of the toppings. There are tons of easy, fast and nutritious stir-fry recipes that the kids might enjoy helping you prepare. If you happen to have a Vitamix Blender, there are “ice cream” recipes using fresh fruit and lean dairy products. I always found my kids excited to eat food they helped cook! Whatever you do, don’t stop offering the healthy choices and don’t allow junk food to replace what they won’t try yet. Taste buds change with time and age, and what they aren’t willing to try and eat today may become tomorrow’s favorite.
Question: I know I am supposed to be eating breakfast every morning. I’ve read all the info about how it helps with weight control, staying healthy and even keeping the brain sharp. But I just can’t manage it. I’m not hungry in the morning. The thought of eating actually makes me sick. Any suggestions?
Answer: The good news is you already recognize the advantages to eating a healthy breakfast. Not only does it give you energy to start a new day, but breakfast is linked to many health benefits, including weight control and improved performance. Starting the day with a well-balanced meal that supplies adequate protein, carbohydrate and fiber keeps hunger at bay and allows you to make wise choices for the meals which follow. There is probably one of two reasons you find yourself avoiding an early morning meal. There’s a really good chance you just aren’t in the habit of eating breakfast. Your body has learned not to expect food in the morning, so the hunger hormone is depressed. Or you overate, or ate too late, or both, the night before.
You can retrain the body to want fuel in the morning. Recognize that eating too much and too late is impacting your health and weight, and work on tweaking that habit. But first, and foremost, you must master the mindset that eating within 1 hour of awakening is good for your waistline and your life! Start small- begin with something light, such as a banana, a cheese stick, even a cup of juice. Once that’s tolerable add in a little more. Before you know it, you’ll actually begin craving a healthy breakfast and wake feeling hungry.