Check in: New Year’s Resolutions

I’m sure I am not the first to say this, but I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. While January 1 is the first day of a new year, and you can think of it as a clean slate, there’s nothing stopping you from saying that January 27 is a new day and it’s the day I am embarking on my journey.

The truth is that goal setting is a life-long process. I’m sure most of you have heard the acronym SMART Goals. Goals should be:

Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Realistic. Timely.

By establishing achievable goals, you set yourself up to succeed. And the goal can be big or small.  Starting off small helps you to build your confidence so you can be successful.  Starting out on January 1 with a goal to lose 50 pounds maybe specific, measurable, attainable — but is it realistic or timely? Take the time to think about why 50 pounds? What will happen if you lose 50 pounds? Is your goal really about a number on the scale, or is it about better health? Or is it about how you feel about yourself? Some introspection goes a long way when setting these goals.

When working with clients, we start off with some short term goals, then build upon those to set goals for the mid-point, and finally goals for six months. Through the course of the six-month program, we continue to refine goals. Along the journey, you may find that it’s not about losing 50 pounds, it’s about setting up a routine for good nutrition. Or it could be about finding balance in other areas of your life, like career, relationships, or physical activity. Spending some time clarifying your goals really helps set you up for success, but it also forces you to think about your “why.”

So, it’s January 27. Let’s work on some goals!

  1. Write it down! When you write down your goals, it makes them concrete. Post them where you can see them every day, so you can keep them top of mind as you embark on this journey.
  2. Visualize the outcome. Create affirmations to help encourage yourself through each step of your action plan. How will you feel when you achieve your goal?
  3. Hold yourself accountable. Remember your “why.” Especially on tough days. Set up a support system to help with accountability. This could be an app to help you track steps or log food, it can be a close friend or family member, or it could be a health coach. Whatever works for you! Find your support system and rely on it to help you keep your eye on the prize!
  4. Schedule your time. You have to make time to make your dreams come true. Actually schedule activities on your calendar and make them as important as that big meeting, the kid’s soccer game, or any other obligation you have on your agenda.
  5. Make self-care a priority. If you don’t take care of yourself first, how can you take care of everyone else. What activities energize you? What rituals do you find relaxing and revitalizing? Build these into your activities to make sure you’re in your top form. Any mood boosting activity will help you stay positive and focused.

Dig deep and really get to the root of all the things you want to accomplish. Have some awesome goals you want to share? Let me know!

Interested in learning more about health coaching and how we can work together to help you achieve great things? Contact me to schedule a free session.

What’s getting in your way?

Get Unstuck

We can be our own worst enemy, or, we can be our own best friend. Sometimes a little of both.

When looking at long term goals and achieving satisfaction, whether it’s in career, relationships, creativity, or some other area, we can be our own roadblock. We are sailing along, performing our action steps and doing our due diligence, then suddenly we lose sight of the big picture and start letting things get in our way.  Maybe it’s a sense of obligation to others. Maybe it’s the fear of success. Whatever the reason, if you recognize this as a pattern, how do you handle it? How do we find ways to put ourselves first without feeling selfish?

Self-care is not selfish. Self-preservation is not selfish. Treating yourself with kindness is one of the best things you can do for yourself so that you can be more giving to others.

Here are a few tips for nurturing a more positive mindset:

Let it go

Negative self-talk

Treating yourself with kindness begins with letting go of your negative self-talk. Listen for it. When you hear your inner voice go into that negative space, find a way to turn that thought into something positive. You are awesome! Let that be your mantra.

Compare and Despair

It’s so easy to look around you and feel like a failure when you compare yourself to others. Whether it’s career-related or weight loss, tell yourself, “where you are right now is perfectly okay.”  Keeping that single point of focus on achieving your goals will help you get unstuck and help pave your own path and find your best solutions. Great ideas only come to an open mind.

Fear of Change

Think about how things are going for you. Think about patterns you are in. Are you stuck? Well then maybe those patterns aren’t quite the right direction — for you! Think like George Costanza — do the opposite of what you normally do. You may have to get into uncomfortable territory to make a breakthrough.

Turn it around

Be Grateful

I’ve said it before — a little gratitude goes a long way for change and personal development. Developing a grateful mindset automatically creates a more positive space for change to happen. Find something to be grateful for in every single bad experience — your own personal silver lining.

Find Your Tribe

Surround yourself with people who support you and uplift your spirits. They will help you find your way and your confidence.

Clear Your Mind

Find ways to incorporate quiet time into your day for meditation, mindful breathing, and to quiet your mind too. Nothing lowers stress levels like clearing your mind and letting the physical tension drift way with some nurturing and calming activities.

Random Acts of Kindness

Do something kind for another person. Kindness is infectious and has a profound effect on your mood and mindset.

Get Unstuck.

You can do this. It really takes discipline to get in touch with yourself and understand the things that are holding you back. Sometimes a simple shift in thinking is what does the trick.

Share some of your strategies in the comments.

The power of your story

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A flutter of negativity can ruin your day. That’s when you take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

Honor your past to inspire your future. Loaded words.

This was one of themes in my training this week. And oddly enough before I completed the assignment, I was feeling very reflective. Monday night, I spoke to a room full of potential bariatric surgery candidates and shared my story. It was a very moving experience, and gave me a bit of a mind shift. You can read more from my personal Instagram account which documents my journey post-bariatric surgery.

Connecting the dots: I have to step back and look at where I started and where I am now, and use that to inspire me to push towards my future goals. As I build my coaching practice I have been thinking of what really differentiates me from other graduates of my program.

Everyone’s journey is different, and destination too. But what I have learned along the way is what inspires me to help others, whether they are considering bariatric surgery or another medical intervention for obesity. I have learned through mistakes, I have gathered a significant amount of information about the disease called obesity and the negative stigma associated with it. I understand weight bias. I understand the frustration of feeling hopeless and like a failure.

But I also know what it feels like to emerge from the darkness and capture the true power of my own story.  I am ready to share what I have learned, and what I am learning.

Monday night I had the honor and privilege of being the guest speaker at my bariatric surgeon’s New Patient Seminar. Before I was called up, she played a video with the song “everybody wants to rule the world” over dozens of transformation photos (which of course made me a little teary-eyed). At the end of the song, it paused on these three “before” pictures. And then I walked up. Hard to imagine standing in front of this crowd of people knowing I was in the audience not so long ago. My journey is different than most, but still inspiring to people who are just starting on their path. It made me feel completely relevant. And the person on the left is so much happier — and healthier. It made the difficulties of this year fade away and gave me renewed inspiration and a sense of accomplishment. I have maintained my weight loss for a year. I never expected I could do it. But I did. Time to reflect and give myself some credit for a year of hard work, mental toughness, and asskicking victories. #obesitysurvivor #wlsjourney #longstrangetrip #2017inreview #whatayear #enjoytheride #livelife #seizetheday #carpediem #healthcoach #iinsession

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Welcome, and My “Why”

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Welcome to Off the Plate, a health and wellness blog that will accompany my future practice as an integrative nutrition health coach. I recently started studying at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I am in the midst of my own personal journey to optimal health and wellness, and along the way, I realized that I can share my experience with others to help them achieve their goals.

In July 2016, I underwent gastric bypass surgery and my life was forever changed. I am now an obesity survivor — an obesity ass-kicker. This journey has been a long one, having been obese since I was in my teens (and literally on one diet or another since I was 11). When I decided to have bariatric surgery, I researched the lifestyle changes, I read books and blogs, and committed to making this change permanent.

Stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, and a variety of endocrine and metabolic complexities prevented me from losing weight, no matter how much I exercised, and despite following nutritional guidance from my doctors. Although the surgery radically changed my digestion and absorption of nutrients, it didn’t change my brain. I had to make those changes myself:

  • Adopting a more positive outlook on life
  • Identifying stress triggers and learning how to manage them
  • Incorporating a daily gratitude practice
  • Changing my self talk with daily affirmations
  • Practicing meditation and yoga
  • Journaling
  • Establishing routine exercise goals
  • Building daily rituals to reinforce these lifestyle changes

In my quest to learn more about how food — a whole foods approach to nutrition — can impact weight loss and metabolism, I found this health coach training program and it was immediately apparent to me that I had found my purpose.

My goal is to inspire and support others on their health and wellness journeys to identify and achieve their goals, providing support for nutrition, but also providing support for the nourishment off the plate: nourishment for the body, mind, and spirit.

You’ve all heard the expression, “having too much on my plate.” How many times have you let the wrong priorities guide your life, depriving you of a healthy self-care practice? It’s time to get some things off the plate so you can start feeding the areas of your life that are the most satisfying. I can help you find your own approach to creating that balance in your life.

While I won’t officially be seeing clients for the first six months of this program, I am offering free guidance during this time to a limited group who in turn will help me refine my coaching skills, participate in health history sessions or provide feedback on pilot programs I would like to offer. If you are interested in this introductory coaching proposal, contact me at marilyn.clark@offtheplatehealthcoach.com.