For the last 2 weeks I have been working through the beginning phase of a new eating plan, It is a simplistic approach to eating that teaches you to be your own diet detective. It gives you the science and principles of how to take action, but gives you freedom to make your own decisions.

I am not and never will be a DIETER! Willpower and food have never been easy for me and even the thought of restricting foods made me anxious. The first 2 weeks requires eating more protein based meals(not hard for me) and very little sugar(VERY hard for me). It also requires less exercise and more movement in order to balance hormones, another tough task when you are a fitness professional.

So, early on during one of my first “leisure” walk sessions I started to second guess my decision to do this. Negative feelings crept into my mind about not being able to eat certain foods or getting the “high” off of my more intense cardio sessions. I knew Halloween was going to fall in this phase and the thought of not having chocolate made me irritated and anxious. I also knew that in order to do this, I was going to have to make adjustments in my shopping, schedule and prep routines. I don’t have time for that!!! Sound familiar? I was planning my exit strategy before I had even dipped my toes in. NOT COOL!

Then something clicked in me as I progressed through my stress reducing walk… you are having a grown up tantrum! I was doing all but stomping my feet in an act of stubbornness and willfullness. It made me think of my kids and the ways I have dealt with them in theses situations.

We all know the many basics of parenting and the age old reminders of good behavior, right?

Eat your veggies, share your toys, DON’T talk with your mouth full!

What about things like Redirecting a tantrum, Giving choices to empower strong wills, providing Structure and routines or teaching then to be Accountable for their actions? Why not take these principles that are already in our wheel house and use them on ourselves?

So that’s what I did….

Redirecting – Because I am eating 3 meals a day, not 5, I needed to figure out how to distract myself during my normal “snack” times. In the morning I am driving and have a lot of window time, so sipping on a flavored seltzer water and listening to an audio book created distraction for me. In the afternoon, I am getting kids off the bus and cutting up snacks before heading out to sports or teaching a class. Instead of eating, I have been taking 20 mins or so to relax with a short yoga session or working on the foam roller.  What kinds of things can you do?

Giving yourself Choices – for many of us, having options and choices give us a sense of empowerment and control. If you are a type A, like me, you know that there is nothing worse than feeling “forced” to do something, even if it’s self imposed! When I wrote out my weekly plan for food and activity, I made sure that I knew what needed to be done by the end of the week but gave myself the flexibility to choose daily depending on what came up in the day or if I was running behind schedule. Anyone been there before?

Provide Structure – Ever heard the saying, “kids need structure”? Why does that go away for adults? Personally, I believe that structure, with a few detours along the way, is the foundation for consistency and moderation. I needed a visual framework of my 2 week plan to be able to work it.  It’s funny because the program has a great chart that shows everything you need to do, but for me writing it out in my own words and fitting the activities in with my family’s busy schedule made it REAL! Seeing how it could work on paper gave me the confidence to start and then I became more competent. This is a reference to the Confidence-Competency loop that I recently learned from one of my mentors, Jill Coleman. The more competent you get at an activity, the more confident you feel about doing it. Can you imagine how many areas in your life this would come in handy????

Be Accountable – This is a hard one , take a minute and think….if I find and excuse, seek out the negatives or quit before I really give it a chance, what then??? You have noone to blame but yourself, right? Sure you can think of all the outside pressures and restrictions on your life that could keep you from taking action. I know I did. I work 40 hours, teach several fitness classes, run kids to practice and watch their games, run a volunteer group at my kids school, socialize with friends and family and all my other households chores. But in reality, who doesn’t? We all have busy lives but don’t let that stop you from prioritizing and reaching your goals.

So, if you are thinking about or struggling with being more healthy, #keep it simple and use the tools you already have. I’m sure there are others I didn’t mention. If you have some helpful ones, please share!