In every area of life it’s easy to get stuck on autopilot. Regardless what arena you’re in, eventually you’ve got to grab the controls or you’re likely to go in a direction you don’t want to go. Whether you’re talking about food, fitness, parenting or your marriage, autopilot is only good for a little while.
While every area of life requires consistency and effort, huge directional shifts can be made simply by intention. And while autopilot is great when we need it, we can’t stay there forever. Eventually we have to land. The good thing is we can come out of autopilot pretty fast if we know how. It’s really about flipping a switch. It’s much harder to recover after a crash.
Here are 6 surefire ways to switch out of autopilot, into intention, and get your body back on track.
1. Clean out the pantry: There are some foods I can’t have in my house. If they’re here, I’ll eat them. You know your temptations; the things you can’t stay away from or can’t stop once you start. These are the things that will sabotage your plans right from the start. In addition, toss out foods that are processed, or contain added sugars or artificial ingredients. Your goal is to have a pantry full of whole, real food.
2. Create a list of 2-3 healthy options for breakfast and lunch: I don’t have an issue with eating the same things over again. For me, it’s easier to eat healthy when I have a few options that are fast and easy that I know I love. The last thing I need to be doing is figuring out what to eat when I’m starving. I won’t make a good choice and neither will you.
3. Stop the diet: Diets are a set up for failure. When you diet, your brain immediately shifts into the mindset that certain foods are bad or forbidden, which only makes you want them more. Food and it’s taste, smell, texture and experience are meant to be enjoyed. It’s a beautiful thing to sit around a table. Food in itself isn’t bad, it’s your relationship with it. Do you use food to numb, medicate or as a reward? Think about food as fuel instead. How can you eat to fuel your body to achieve and work at it’s best?
4. Eat meals on a salad plate: One of the biggest hurdles of weight management is portion size. While we’ve become accustomed to increasingly giant proportions, many of us were also taught to clean our plates. These don’t marry well when it comes to our health or our waistline. But I firmly believe food is something to experiment with, enjoy and savor (hence the no diet rule). If you’re eating intentionally, remembering food is fuel and it’s okay to have an indulgence once in awhile, then you can enjoy anything you want on a small plate.
5. Lift weights: One of the biggest mistakes women make is not lifting weights. Women tend to have one of two fears: the gym itself – scary!; or that weights will make them bulk up and get big. Neither of them are worth being scared of! The greatest success I have had in my own body transformation has been through consistent weight training in combination with aerobic exercise. If crunched for time and I can only do one, the answer is always: weights. Because lifting weights increases your lean muscle mass, which burns more calories even when you’re sitting still. So you’ll burn more the rest of your day, even when you’re doing nothing!
6. Move: Bodies in motion stay in motion, and an aerobic endorphin high is hard to beat. There are a million ways to move your body and you need to pick one. Pick a different one every day if you like! You just need to get your body moving. You can run, bike, hit the treadmill, stair mill, spin class or pilates group. Walk, garden, play frisbee, tennis or golf. Sign up for a dance class or join a zumba group. If you want to see your body change and get back on track, you gotta move it. Make it sweat for at least 30 minutes a day!
Getting your body back on track is not rocket science. Simply switching off autopilot and becoming intentional about your health will get you going in the right direction. Remember: wellness is a lifestyle, not a short term plan to lose a few pounds. If your plan requires deprivation, massive calculations or mental gymnastics, ask yourself if you can stick to it for the long haul. And is that new diet really fueling your body or allowing it to function in the way it was made? Getting your body back on track is about simple, doable changes that, over time, add up to a big difference.