In fact, it might be better.
I find so often that people do not give themselves credit for changes to their inner landscape.
We have this idea that transformation is not worthy unless other people see it- but what shapes our lives more than how we feel about ourselves, which is invisible?
When we create true internal change, we begin a ripple effect that unfolds in its own time.
It is a very different experience than working from the outside in, which is what most diet and fitness regimes are. We decide we want to look different, and then alter our behaviors to create those changes.
From one perspective, this is logical, the stumbling point that most of us run into is that this approach does not acknowledge our vast inner life. We humans are absolutely chock full of subtle perceptions, strong ideals, unconscious psychological reactions, and personal interpretations. Navigating all of that while putting yourself under the stress of reduced caloric intake and/or added physical activity is often a recipe for failure.
So then what should we do if we do want to lose a few pounds and become more fit?
I, and my clients, have found the most success by looking deeply at ourselves and discovering what small adjustments to our thinking and our daily routines have the potential to affect the most positive change.
Here are a few real-life examples (written in the first person for clarity):
- Not going to social functions that I do not enjoy > having more nourishing downtime at home > less avoidance eating and drinking > gradual weight loss (in this example, we had to deal with the guilt of not accepting invites and practice ways of comfortably saying no)
- Creating an enjoyable bedtime routine > getting to bed sooner > feeling well rested > having the time and energy to pack healthy lunches to bring to work > less eating out > better portion control > gradual weight loss
- Buying a water bottle I love > drinking more water between meals > fewer cravings and less snacking > gradual weight loss
- Writing a list in the evening of the 3-5 most important things I want to get done the next day > following through and doing them > less procrastin-eating > gradual weight loss
As you can see, each of these situations were tailored specifically for the client. The starting points of true inside-out transformations are as varied as we are as individuals. They don’t have to be big, scary changes. Often very simple adjustments to routine can yield big results.
Here is how to begin an exploration to discover one of your linchpin behavior changes:
- Identify when you have the most difficulty with overeating or feeling emotionally uncomfortable (common times are right after work, in the evening, or on the weekends).
- Think about what happens just before you feel stressed (work frustrations, loneliness, feeling deprived from being ‘good’ all week)
- Think about what you can do to break the cycle in the before phase (delegate duties or share frustrations with co-workers, make plans for a walk or phone call with a friend, add foods you enjoy into your regular eating routine so you don’t build up cravings).
- Do an experiment and try your personal intervention for a week. See what happens. Adjust as needed.
Notice that these are small shifts that, as I alluded to in the title of this post, most likely no one will notice except you. And that’s where part of the magic happens. You are doing a positive action for yourself alone. This builds self-trust. When we gain trust in ourselves, we are more willing to make bigger changes in our lives because we have a solid track record of being successful with small ones.
Our relationship with ourselves is the most important because it is reflective of all the other relationships in our lives.
Making friends with yourself is so worth it.