A while back I blogged the differences between people who live a lean lifestyle and people who continue to struggle. Much of this comes down to … you guessed it … mindset. People who are able to get and stay lean have adopted the mindset of a lean person–doing things lean people do without a struggle.
So, how do you get to that place? If you feel out of control with food, how do you achieve the effortlessness associated with a lean mindset?
It’s not easy.
But, it starts, I believe, with mindfulness. Now I know that may sound woo-woo to you. “Mindfulness” seems like a strange new-age term with little practical application. And to that point, mindfulness does have many definitions and uses. Buuuuuut, for our purposes, I want to begin with mindfulness around your environments.
Last week, Jade and I went through the Dunkin Donuts drive-thru so I could grab a coffee for our leisure walk. Jade had already drank his at home. As we pulled up to the speaker, I turned and asked Jade if he wanted anything. He said, “No, only unsuccessful people get donuts because they happen to be at a drive-thru.”
This was a light bulb moment for me. How true is that??
People who continue to struggle allow their circumstances and environment to dictate how they’ll eat.
Regarding environments, there exists a major difference between how lean people respond and how people who continue to struggle do. And that is this: people who struggle allow their circumstances and environment to dictate how they’ll eat. At the movies? “Well, Ihave to get popcorn!” At the office? “It’ll be rude to not eat this cake for Susie’s birthday!” At the state fair? “I don’t know when I’ll get the chance to have fried dough again, I have to get it!” And on and on.
It’s not that these things, every once in a while are “bad,” it’s just that you can’t go around all day every day reacting to your environment this way and expect to get lean.
Conversely, people who stay lean make the best choice possible wherever they end up. And they rarely feel like they’re “missing out.”
Conversely, lean people eat how they eat regardless of where they end up. Going out to dinner … doesn’t matter if they end up at McDonalds or a five-star restaurant, they know they’re getting lean protein and veggies or a salad with protein. A catered event? Instead of using the event as an excuse or “special occasion,” they do what they do, picking at mostly protein-centric apps and veggies if they can. The fact that there are rolls and butter, starchy apps and drinks doesn’t phase them because they are in the HABIT of eating how they eat.
Does this seem impossible to you???
It did to me a few years ago, too. I rolled my eyes at people who touted “moderation” and I didn’t understand people who didn’t finish everything on their plate or polish off a bag of chips if it was in front of them. I didn’t understand how someone could resist EATING IT ALL UNTIL IT WAS GONE.
I get it. I totally do.
And I’m not asking you to go from A to Z right now. That’s impossible. The idea that we can go from obsessed-with-food to moderation is absurd. I like to think about this journey like climbing a ladder. You can’t reach the top without stepping your foot on every single rung in between. That’s how adopting a lean lifestyle works.
But it begins with mindfulness. And mindfulness specifically around YOUR SITUATIONS. If you think you are a “situational eater” like I described above, just start with saying “no” one time each day. Start with that candy jar at work or skipping booze at Happy Hour. Just say no once a day until it starts getting easier (and it will, I promise). And be mindful of your environment. Ask, Am I allowing the situation to dictate my eating? Or am I eating how I eat (as a lean person)? You know what to do; you’re just caught up in the struggle to actually do it. That’s common. But, that’s also where mindfulness comes in.
I know you might be thinking, “Well, this just takes the fun right out of food, Jill!” Ha! I get that too :) Food is fun, right?! Besides, we likegetting popcorn at the movies. We like having cake at the office party. We like relaxing with a glass of wine at dinner.
But you know what’s even more fun? Having control over what goes in your mouth and being able to say no when opportunities to indulge arise. Staying lean with less effort. Not being obsessed with food anymore. That’s a frigging blast! And it just takes you STARTING the process. Beginning to think, act and be a lean person. Ask, Am I just eating this because it’s here? Would I consciously go out and get this if left to my own devices? The answer is usually going to be that you’re eating it because of your situation, not because you actually want it.
So, start right now. Your homework: Say NO once today and stay mindful about your environments and ask yourself the tough questions. You’ll get there one meal at a time, one day at a time, I promise. Ox, Jill
What do you think? Could you try the #moderation365 approach? I teach exactly how to stop following a million rules and start thinking for yourself to create a sustainable eating routine that does not suck in my 4-Week Food Obsession Boot Camp. If you’re ready to commit, enroll here (starts immediately!).