You probably know what it feels like when you’ve had just enough of feeling tired, bloated, moody, insatiable hunger and cravings – you name it! I’ve been there, and so have many of our Metabolic Optimization Coaching Clients.
Sometimes us humans need to feel really, really awful before we are ready to make a change and start doing things differently. When we finally reach that point of “enough is enough” and we are ready to take action, knowing where and how to start can be overwhelming. It’s not easy to get things organized so you can immediately start exercising, eating better and sleeping more. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, this is the optimal time to get back to basics. Feeling better does not have to be overly complicated, time consuming or expensive. Here are three “back-to-basic” practices to support your new journey to feeling better today.
1. Find your “dial-mover” actions
What is one thing that really makes a difference to you? In other words, what’s the one thing that is going to have the biggest impact on your health because of its many trickle down effects? These are highly individualized actions that can make a huge difference. For many of my clients these actions include going to bed by 10 pm, including protein with breakfast, incorporating a protein shake as an afternoon snack to balance hunger, energy and cravings for the evening, and the list goes on… When you know what has the greatest impact on you and makes you feel better, you can start with that action. That is your dial-mover.
2. Consider what could go wrong and how to navigate that
We know that life happens and things don’t always go as planned. Considering what could go wrong with your dial-mover actions is a great way to prepare and plan for situations that have a tendency to derail our efforts. Let’s consider a personal example. One of my personal “dial-mover” actions is a slow walk, which helps increase movement and reduces my stress hormones. I take this walk in the mornings before starting work. However, sometimes I sleep past my alarm clock, or there’s an extra early morning appointment in my schedule. For these scenarios, I need another way to accomplish my goal of a daily walk. I can walk on my lunch break, or maybe take two shorter walks throughout the day. It is not perfect, but it’s certainly better than not doing anything.
Ask yourself what could go wrong with your “dial-mover” actions. When that happens, what can you do instead? By thinking through this process, you have just come up with a strategy to navigate any potential challenges or obstacles. You are more likely to stay on course and achieve your goals now! Congratulations!
3. Pick just one thing to start
It’s so easy to feel like we should be doing it all. The truth is, we don’t and we can’t. Our ability to be successful in our efforts multiplies when we focus on one thing at a time. Instead of focusing on changing your meals, starting an exercise plan, getting enough sleep and more, pick one thing to focus on this week. Make a list of your dial-mover actions. Rate them from 1 to 10, with 1 being the easiest action to take and 10 being the most challenging action to take. Pick actions with the lowest numbers and choose one to be consistent with. Typically, we advise our clients to choose an action that is easy to implement and has the greatest trickle down effects in your life. Then, consider what could go wrong and how you are going to navigate that. Rinse and repeat.
Sometimes, clients are comfortable with adding another “dial-mover” action the following week. However, it is completely okay to practice your one action as long as you need to, or until it becomes an automatic habit that requires very little effort. Monitor your results and your SHMEC (sleep, hunger, mood, energy, and cravings) and if you are seeing results and feeling great, keep doing what you are doing. When your results stall and/or your SHMEC biofeedback gets out of check, it’s time to investigate further by looking into your other “dial-mover” actions.
Keeping things simple and sticking to the basics really has no downside. It may not sound exciting to practice new habits this way, but it will be effortless and effective and can be exactly what you need to get started.