“A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly.”
Search for quotes about attitude on the Internet, and you’ll be rewarded with a bounty of positive thoughts that all point to one thing: How we think about things plays a major role in whether we get what we want in life. When it comes to being thin, the big question is whether that’s what we really want. Or do we simply want to feel good?
Many of us want both. Whether we can achieve the body shape we desire, though, depends to a great extent on our genetics. But one thing is for sure: We can optimize what we were born with by focusing on feeling good.
So here are some questions to guide your thinking throughout the day to help you achieve that balance between looking good and feeling good. They honor your body’s cues that tell you how to best take care of yourself at any moment.
- Am I hungry? How you answer will tell you if you really need food, or if you’re thinking about it for another reason. Resolve to eat on most occasions only when your answer to this question is a definite yes. If you’re uncertain, delay eating 10 minutes. If the “hunger” goes away, it’s likely a craving.
- Am I eating what I like in a way that makes me feel good? This question guides our thinking about meeting our nutritional needs, which is central to taking care of ourselves. Are you confused about what constitutes good nutrition? It’s pretty simple: regular meals and snacks featuring a balance of protein, vegetables and fruits, and starchy foods. It also means eating foods we like, because pleasure is an important part of healthy eating. So an occasional piece of cake or bowl of ice cream fits the bill, too.
- Am I moving my body regularly in ways that I enjoy? The key is enjoyment because that’s the thing that will keep you moving. Experiment with different kinds of physical activity so you can mix it up when you get bored. Try dance, Zumba, yoga, hiking, Nia, biking, kickboxing, tai chi, hula-hooping … anything that gets your heart pumping.
- Am I including recharge time in my daily routine? Reading something inspirational, taking a bath, counting things that you’re thankful for, taking a walk in the morning, noticing the taste of a bite of food as you savor its essence. Moments like these inspire, motivate and calm, providing internal support for self-care.
- Am I happy? Happiness is the cement that holds all our good intentions together. If you’re not happy, what’s standing in your way? Sometimes it’s about just deciding to adopt a cheerful outlook on life, regardless of what’s going on.
- Am I tuned into what I’m really thinking and feeling? If things don’t seem to be working, and you’re not sure what’s going awry, consider keeping a journal. It can just be a free-flow of your thoughts or a more structured examination, such as a chart looking at what you’re thinking and how you feel when you eat. Whatever, it provides a peek into what’s going on inside that may be taking you where you don’t want to go. Meditation can also help you listen to what’s going on inside.
Marsha Hudnall, RD, MS, CD, is a nationally known nutritionist with more than 25 years experience as a weight management specialist. She is the owner and program director of Green Mountain at Fox Run, a women’s weight loss programand spa retreat, that has helped thousands of women feel good about themselves now, regardless of their size, and in the process, helped them move towards healthier weights and lives. She serves on several boards and has authored seven books on health and healthy weight loss.