I'll admit it, winter is starting to wear on me. The snow, snow, snow, the bitter cold, cold, cold. And now this diet, diet, diet. Too much "cold" food: shakes, salads, protein bars, puddings, did I mention salads, salads, salads? How do you keep yourself motivated--how do you stick with it when all you want is a little warmth, comfort and ease? This is really the crux of things, isn't it? Engineering change when the going gets tough. I love the Mark Twain quote above, really no one managed the witty quip like this American spokesman. I find it an ironic statement too because Twain was a true American foodie. He wrote extensively about real American cookery and rebuffed European cuisine which he viewed as pretenious and without taste. I'm in Week Three of my Ideal Protein Diet and continue to learn and adjust. I am being very strict with myself and sticking with the protocol because I hate being a person who invests money and energy only to give in easily to temptation. I don't like wasted resources. Nevertheless, the temptation is always there, isn't it? So how do we rise above? Here is what I've discovered:
- Meditate: Truly, this is not the time to give up a spirtual practice. Feed your spirit and mind by cultivating stillness and inner warmth. A blanket around the shoulders, a candle, a lovely rich incense (like Frankincense and Myrhh). This helps.
- Inspire: I start each day reading a poem by Rumi, my favorite poet. It feeds my mind and soul high-quality nourishment.
- Move: This diet specifies no over-exercising (your body will attack your lean tissue for the calories/energy it isn't getting). That doesn't have to mean stasis. Calorie restriction truly is the way to weight loss (exercise is the key to good mind/body health and weight maintenance). Now is the time for a sensible exercise program. Lots of walking (outdoors when possible), or on a treadmill or to an instructional DVD. Light weights or push-ups, and yoga for strength and flexibility. This is what I'm doing and it all feels terrific.
- Read: Again, when you're restricting other nourishment, go for the mind! Delve into some interesting subjects. I'm reading a fictional life of Lady Macbeth. Perfect.
- Listen to great music. As I type, I have my Pandora jazz station playing. It soothes the soul.
- PLAN, PLAN, PLAN. I went to a chili party last night. No beans on this diet and limited tomatoes, so no standard chili. So I made my own chili with ground turkey, mushrooms, peppers, garlic, spice and a very light sauce of concentrated tomato flavor. I took it with me and a big pot of steamed green vegetables drizzled with olive oil and lemon pepper, and decaf chai tea to make for myself after dinner with my no calorie, no fat, no carb sweet cream so as to avoid dessert or alcohol (no problem with the latter). I took a bottle of water too. Yes, I spend my life now carrying around lots of special foods and condiments, but so what? It's the only way to encourage success.
In the end, taking the steps above truly does help. I had a lovely time at the party and was especially feeling good about how loose my jeans felt. I'm also feeling good about how my improved sense of health is helping me to pursue some intellectual and spiritual interests. I'm starting to plant the seeds for what I want to see grow this spring and summer. Sticking to something means finding better diversions and engineering yourself for success. This is true for obtaining good health, weight loss, a degree, learning a new skill, creating something--you have to cultivate endurance and that requires intention. It's all worth it because along the way you will get to know yourself better and build a stronger mindset for discipline and success. So take the plunge and know that the seeds you sow today will turn into full-grown plants in the future if you nurture them along the way.