Tomorrow is my last day on the official Precision Nutrition program through Empowered Nutrition Coaching and my last habit of this program has been “Pay It Forward.” Paying it forward can be as simple as being kind to someone who needs it or as complex as explaining the details of macronutrients and how they impact the body. What has helped me a lot on my weight loss journey is a collection of phrases from Kaitlyn and my PN lessons and today, in hopes of paying it forward, I am sharing those with you.
My life was in disarray this time last year and every single goal I had felt far away. I came across the message “start where you are” in one of my first PN lessons and it basically said that instead of focusing on losing a large number of pounds just focus on the next step ahead. What started with simply planning lunch before going to bed has turned into an entire food prep strategy because I took the first step on the first day. Over the course of many months, I learned what works for me and now I know the best way for me to food prep is spending a few minutes on it each day. I never would have been a cook-all-day-Sunday-afternoon person, but I only know that because I took one step forward instead of a 25 step leap. When I realized starting where I am works, I applied the same message to other areas of my life and am so much closer to my goals.
The basis of PN is “eat slowly until you are 80% full” but getting comfortable with putting down your fork at 80% full is hard. One of my first PN lessons flat out said, “if you are going to binge eat do it slowly.” First of all how amazing that a nutrition program acknowledges you binge eat? Second of all, I tend to overeat when I am on vacation or at celebratory meals. Because I know when special occasions are going to happen I make a deal with myself to make eating slow a priority. I leave without guilt over what I ate because my slow eating prevented me from over indulgence. The last time I really did try to have a feeling-sorry-for-myself-binge-eat on the couch, I had become so accustomed to eating mindfully, I didn’t make it very far down the ice cream container before realizing I was full.
Three weeks ago I chipped my tooth on ice leading to multiple dental appointments and procedures, I am under big deadlines at work, on the Fourth of July I injured my toe, I was out of town over the long weekend and my social calendar is packed with special celebrations. My body feels off, I am stressed out, tired, and losing track of my calendar. Minor things are frustrating me way more than normal and because I am not handling much well at the moment my nutrition and fitness are not high priorities. Old Tamara would have had gotten in a tizzy about not working out in almost two weeks. New Tamara is recognizing that despite all the injuries preventing me from working out I have still found a way to be active for 30 minutes every day. I am also constantly eating slow and making choices that I know will make my body feel good. Even though I am not at my very best in the fitness and nutriton arena today, I am know I am still doing a lot right.
Celebrating your success allows you to feel accomplished even if you do fall a little behind. It recognizes that any smart decision positively impacts your health even if you are struggling. It creates a winning mindset. We will never do anything perfectly and we have a responsibility to learn from what we have done wrong, but we also deserve to celebrate what we did right so we can build up to becoming better.
Several times throughout this year Kaityln has preached the message “Don’t focus on all you did wrong, just be 1% better now.” Although I am not at the top of my fitness and nutrition game, because I am recongonizing my success, I am also looking to be a tiny bit better everyday. Yesterday I made sure to drink a significant amount of water. Tonight I am making time to unwind. Tomorrow morning I will exercise. Those small things are still pushing me in the right direction.
When you are on a long term program to eat better, you will mess up. It is just part of life. That 1% improvement may be small but over the course of a few weeks it leads to progress.
No one can sustain weight loss if their main reason is simply to look better. That is a totally real and valid reason to try and form better eating habits, but it isn’t deep enough to keep you going when life gets crazy and making time for whole foods and exercise gets hard. Motivation doesn’t work that way, it needs something so important that even if you can’t stick with it 100% all the time, you are committed enough you can make the effort to be 1% better.
I found over the course of the year, my whys have changed. I was worried about my health when I started Empowered Nutrition Coaching last year. My blood sugar and cholesterol were right near the low-risk borderline and I had a fear if I didn’t turn things around I would miss out on important experiences. Today my blood sugar and cholesterol are in healthy zones and while keeping them there is still important, I am no longer worried they will prevent me from living my life to the fullest.
Right now my biggest motivator for improving my diet and nutrition is to embrace my most authentic sparkle. As I make continue to achieve fitness goals, look cute in new clothes, actually like photos of myself and feel energetic because I am properly fueled my confidence is resurfacing. I am gaining the courage to advocate for myself in my career and put myself into situations where I can meet a romantic partner. I didn’t do those things for a long time and they still totally scare me. Even though I am scared, I am also the happiest I have been in a while. I need to continue to be my healthiest self so I have enough confidence to be brave and put myself out into the world to bring more joy into my life.
I can’t dictate your why because it has to come from you, but I can tell you that the five why exercise, which I wrote about at the start of the program, can help you to realize it.
This year on Empowered Nutrition Coaching has truly changed my life for the better and I hope sharing my stories has helped you move forward on your journey. If you are part of Kaitlyn’s Facebook group, I promise to always try and answer your questions if I have the knowledge to share and I know if I don’t someone else will.