Trigger warning – the following post has weight talk as it explores weight gain in midlife. If you or someone you know is struggling with their eating or relationship with food, please contact a regulated health professional or visit http://nedic.ca/
In part 1 of this post, I challenged readers to explore how they can become a healthier version of them selves without fixating on the scale. To set goals that are independent of body weight. In part 2, I share 10 non-scale health goals to consider setting this fall.
If September is the new January, many of us will be re-examining our goals for the fall. Here are 10 non-scale health goals to consider (beyond weight loss) this fall.
As shared on my Facebook and Instagram accounts, I have experimented with new recipes including a Curried Seafood Stew, a Smoked Salmon Bento Box, a plant-based Glory Bowl, a Cheeseburger Pasta Pie. Exploring different recipes builds confidence and problem-solving skills to make meals less stressful and aligned with your health goals.
2. Become more organized in your food planning so you can eat “in” more and skip the dishes less often.
If your default response to tiredness at the end of the day is to eat out or “skip the dishes”, consider how changing your solution to this common end-of-day problem could align you with your health goals. Instead of eating out, consider changing the time of day of when you prepare your meals would help you to eat in more. Crock pots, Instant pots, pre-prepped freezer meals, planned leftovers, meal-prepping, etc. I know a couple who prepares their dinner for the next day after dinner the current day. There are many options for arriving at the same meal-on-the-table destination.
3. Learn how to expand your stress management tools and self-soothing skills beyond only defaulting to comfort eating. We all eat in response to non-hunger cues, including boredom, stress or sadness because it is comforting, pleasurable and makes us feel better. Learning to expand our stress management tools and self-soothing skills both in the moment, and outside of the moment can empower us to more consistently make choices that are aligned with our goals.
4. Learn to be more flexible with your nutrition.
Are you like a car driving into the ditch of dieting, only to swing to another ditch of “I don’t care what I eat”? If so, consider how you could become more like a car driving on a highway, where you gently keep yourself in your lane. We all have discretionary calories we like to “spend” – whether that is chocolate, salty snacks, wine or [insert your joy food here]. Learning how to purposefully include these foods as part of your eating plan takes away their “power” and helps to put the emotional attachment to these foods as “just food”.
5. Create a sleep routine to help you unwind and get better quality sleep.
People who have poor sleep quality are usually acting on borrowed time and often find it more difficult to make goal-aligned choices. Research has found that people who are under-slept actually consume more food energy in a day than those who have had more sleep.
6. Sign up for a walk or run and set *your* personal best for this age and stage of life.
Going to an organized athletic event – a run, a bike, a walk – is very energizing and allows diverse groups of people, with diverse bodies and abilities, to come together and be inspired by each other’s efforts and fight for personal bests.
7. Create a realistic exercise and activity routines that you can stick with. Our bodies are meant to move. With more movement often comes with a desire to eat better and better sleep quality. When will you be able to consistently commit to adding in activity in your day? For me, it is always first thing in the morning, before work. It is an energizing way to start the day, and also makes sure that I commit to including movement before life’s other priorities take over. For other people, it is at lunch time. For others, it is right after work. Don’t fret over whether one time of the day is better than another – just commit to a time that works for you.
To do my morning workout, I get my clothes, music and water bottle ready the night before, and I have a plan of what I will do when I wake up. I have maintained this routine for a long time now, and it is now like brushing my teeth. If I don’t do it, I don’t feel good.
8. Buy yourself some clothes that fit the body you have today. Wearing clothes that are too tight is uncomfortable and can trigger diet-binge cycling. The process of accepting your changing midlife body stings and isn’t easy when we marinate in a diet-centric culture. Wearing clothes that fit your body where it is today can help us feel good and focus on other parts of our life beyond our bodies.
9. Pack your lunch for work. Many of us are working in sedentary jobs. If you could save the time it takes to go get something to eat, and instead, spend that time getting some active movement, your body might actually feel better and more energized. If you need help on lunch-packing strategies, sign up for my Energizing Weekday Lunches cooking class!
10. Spend some time in nature. Whether that is driving out to the mountains to do a hike, or enjoying one of the local city pathways, spending time outside bathing in the forest is invigorating for the body, mind and soul.
Instead of focusing on your weight, which is an outcome that you have less influence over than you think, I’d encourage you to consider focusing on targets that you can experience regardless of what numbers show up on your scale.
Once you have set a goal (or goals) for the fall, begin to create a plan for how you will achieve that goal. Remember, a goal without a plan is just a wish…It is the habits we do consistently, not perfectly, that will make the biggest difference to our lives.