If you were to think of five things that were important to you, would you say you prioritize those five things in your life?
* How much time do you spend on those five things each day?
*How much energy do you spend on those five things each day?
* How much attention do you spend on those five things each day?
* How much money do you spend on those five things each day?
*How much focus do you spend on those five things each day?
I can say health is one of my top five priorities, but how much time, energy, attention, money and focus do I spend on it? Am I on my phone most of the evening when I could be looking up new recipes that are within my budget? Am I utilizing Netflix when I could be taking a moment for reflection and mindfulness? When I start to make food choices that are not within my daily budget I can usually trace that choice back to not living in integrity with myself. As much as I don’t want to admit it, I have a very limited amount of time, energy, attention, money, and focus. This means I have to take a cold hard look at what goals, or values, I have. I may want to nurture ten goals/values but the truth is I can really only handle five.
What I’m talking about is often compared to a garden. You have a finite amount of water to use each day. The water represents time, energy, attention, money and focus and the plants are you goals/values. Let’s say you have your five plants (goals/values) you’ve been watering daily for the past couple weeks, then the holidays show up. The plant sprouts aggressively and depends a great deal of your water. Do you give the plant more water at the sacrifice of your other goals/values?? I know I did, and I wasn’t aware I was letting the holiday plant suck so many resources from my values of health, family, peace, etc. If I really think about it, I could beat myself up for giving my resources to the holidays so mindlessly… but I think the holidays gave me an opportunity to see HOW quickly I will give my resources away. Where do I do this in other parts of my life? It can be small plants like distraction via phone, internet, news, etc. It can be big distractions like difficult family members.
As this year begins, it seems like a great time to reflect on our values…. We say we value certain things, but do we really? Are we living in integrity? Where do we spend most of our time? Do we need to change our values/goals to match where we spend our time and focus OR do we need to pull those plants out of our garden and be honest about what we can handle?
We are in a powerful time of year, a time of reflection, a time of honesty, a time of dreaming and a time of change.
Thanks for reading,
What is your primary reason for wanting to change your lifestyle to a healthier version? Is it weight-related only? Did you join to fit into an airline seat better? Or did you see a recent photo of yourself and go “I have to do something, I don’t even recognize that person.”
I initially joined Weight Watchers the end of January of 2017 because I had out of control panic attacks. I had never had a panic attack until the summer of 2014, which is the year our family went into survival mode to handle moves across the country, new jobs, lost jobs, new schools, huge bills and complete life overhauls. At first I thought the panic attack was a heart attack! But when I didn’t die…. And calmed down… I realized it was a panic attack… gggrrrreeaaatttttt……. If you’ve ever had a panic attack, then you know it has the best timing EVER (*eye roll*)
I ate (how I handle stress), panicked, ate, and panicked some more until late January of 2017 (ummm yeah… a little bit of denial about how much the panic attacks were affecting me.. but that’s a whole other topic) when I had a small realization, the only way to manage my anxiety was to at least give my body some sort of nutritional and physical foundation to help weed out why I was having so many panic attacks.
I joined Weight Watchers as a starting place to learn how to take care of myself. I was looking for a program that was more than a diet. I was looking for a supportive space, a place to kick around ideas on health and wellness, a space that would be there for the long haul and Weight Watchers seemed to shifting their focus to a more mindful, whole person approach. Yeah I’d joined WW several times before, but my “why” had been weight-focused only. Panic attacks had sent me to a whole other planet, and I didn’t care as much about the number on the scale as I did about being able to drive in my car and not be in a constant state of fear and panic (and for those of you with panic attacks.. what the hell is up when it happening in the car all the time??). What I was really seeking was well-being and less internal drama.
I like to use Jillian Pransky’s definition of well-being which is “the ability to live in a state of contentment.” Happiness is different than well-being because happiness seems to depend on our circumstances where contentment isn't dependent on anything. Contentment is about being ok with life as it is right now, and as Pransky says, “no longer suffering from the exhaustion or disappointment of trying to make everything ‘just right’.”
Interestingly, since I’ve joined WW, I have lost some weight and my panic attacks have subsided. I don’t think the weight has anything to do with the panic attacks. I do think that eating more nutritious foods, getting more sleep, incorporating more exercise, and being mindful has taken the edge off of the panic (thank God).
Well-being just doesn’t all of a sudden show up on your front door step like an order from Amazon. Well-being is a skill, and WW, or whatever healthier program you are following, can be a tool in the well-being tool box (if that's your “why”).
How has WW steered your ship towards well-being? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Thanks for reading,