A great mood and weight loss can go hand in hand. When you are feeling stress, loneliness, or boredom, the best part of your day can be meal time. You look forward to the distraction and the way eating comforts you. But rather than set unrealistic goals of never, ever, ever eating unhealthy food again, focus on the mood, rather than the food.
Here are five habits to shift your focus and help fill you up emotionally:
- Make one change at the grocery store: Each week add a new fruit of vegetable staple to your refrigerator. Buy a bag of fresh baby spinach and mix it in with your regular greens for salads or add it to your lunchtime sandwich. Cut up an apple with a little almond butter or peanut butter for your afternoon snack instead of grabbing a sugar snack. Each week vow to completely finish eating the new item. Healthy foods feed the brain and the body – your emotional state will improve automatically.
- Lead with a smile: As simple as this may sound, make full eye contact with and smile at everyone you interact with throughout the day. You may find it strange at first because we all go about our business of shopping, traveling, and working focused on the task and not the individual. At first you may think this is an exercise to reinforce positive feelings in yourself, but don’t forget what you are sharing with another individual – personal connection. Make someone else’s day a little brighter – share your pearly whites and smile with your eyes.
- Learn to say No. Whether you are feeling over-committed or always the “fixer” there are times you need to walk away and not participate. You don’t have to go to every social event just to have something to do. You shouldn’t feel like you have to agree to take on extra work in your career or personal life just so you don’t rock the boat or you need to be liked. You also don’t have to be the “great listener” every time one of your friends brings her daily drama to your doorstep. It’s not your job to fix everything and everyone. Start setting those boundaries, inch by inch.
- Download and release: Just as having a to-do list reduces the stress associated with remembering and accomplishing everything, so does keeping a journal help you release emotions rumbling around inside you. When you write in a journal don’t make it an overwhelming task. Commit to 10 minutes each morning setting a great intention for the day. At the end of the day, if you have feelings simmering inside and you usually turn to television or a substance (food, alcohol, sleep aid) to relax and unwind, download in your journal for 10 minutes. You will be amazed at how this one habit can wipe the slate clean for the next day.
- Engage in random acts of kindness: Pay the toll for the car behind you. Give a small grocery store gift card to a family in need. Shovel the walkway of your elderly neighbor. Take down the holiday lights for the single mother down the street. Small gestures are a great way to improve your mood and theirs.
Focus on creating habits of joy and food will no longer be the only good part of your day.
Love and blessings,