This is a guest article from Naomi Teeter: www.NaomiTeeter.com
We all love a good fairy tale don’t we? My husband and I recently got caught up in watching all 3 seasons of Once Upon A Time on Netflix. I felt so sick and dirty for getting sucked into the good vs. evil plot and the prince always finding the princess mushiness. We were captivated and maybe secretly hoped that by somehow watching 66 episodes (seriously) of this show, the magic would rub off on us. I know that I sure did. I can’t be alone.
However, I have a fairy tale of my own to share. My story began under a horrible curse. I spent the first quarter-century of my life tormented by obesity. Obesity was my evil adversary. It made me feel like a big, ugly troll. I desperately wished that there was a fairy godmother out there somewhere that could cast a weight-loss spell over me and make me look normal.
I always feared there was some source of evil lurking in the shadows of my life—not permitting me to live a happy, active existence like so many other folks got to enjoy. The evil creature seemed to be waiting with a weapon to bludgeon my hopes for happiness. By the time I was in my mid-twenties, the curse worsened and I had mutated into an out-of-control giant—weighing a hefty 300 pounds (that’s a lot of magic beans).
Two months after I celebrated my 26th birthday, something came over me and I stopped living in my fantasy land of denial. I quit yearning for an enchantment and I started taking responsibility for my life instead. The people around me told me that the magic wasn’t coming—it was already inside me waiting to be used (the beans?). I didn’t have to wait until it was January 1st to start my journey to better health and I didn’t drink a magic potion to shrink my body to pixie size. But somehow, the curse was lifted and I lost half of my body weight and gained new hope for my bright future.
It turns out that *I* was the cause of the curse—not some wicked creature determined to see me fail. What makes my tale unique is that I chose to take the path less traveled. I took actions many individuals typically aren’t willing to undergo. Want to know what these empowering actions were? Well, it seems pretty simple, and in truth, it is. I built long lasting habits. No magic spells needed.
When I shifted my behaviors to build stable habits over time, they became part of my everyday routine. In turn, the routine shaped the new person I transformed into. It was much easier to take healthy actions when they were part of my values and who I was as a person. I was no longer a giant or even a troll—I was my own hero. I made my own sparkle and excitement.
Here are the totally un-magical habits I built that lifted my curse, helped me lose weight, and keep over 125 pounds off for the last 66 months (but who’s counting?):
1. I Kick My Own Butt At The Same Time Each Day
Habits that tend to stick are scheduled during a particular time of the day. Habits are also formed by taking the action everyday, not 3 or 4 days out of the week (this builds momentum). You won’t run into physical exhaustion exercising 7 days a week as long as you know your limits. When it’s time for you to work out, have a scheduled time of day and a duration that you will exercise for—no matter what.
Go trail running through a forest in a tutu, have a pretend sword fight and wrestle with your kids, or simply go to the gym like a normal person. Do something each time that may be a little different so that you work different muscles and keep the intensity low every few days so that you won’t suffer from overuse injuries or adrenal fatigue in the process of building this habit.
2. I Sleep Like My Dear Old Granny Does
The healthiest people I know have embraced waking up early to start their day. You can start by just hitting the sack one hour earlier each night and waking up an hour earlier each morning. Just get out of bed and do your normal morning routine. As the days go by and you’ve stuck to waking up an hour earlier, consider whether or not this would be a good time for you to workout or not.
Your willpower to take action is highest in the morning upon waking; therefore this is the prime time to exercise your warrior-like strength.
3. I Feed The Hero Before I Unleash The Big, Bad Wolf
Maybe you eat sugar-coated cereal or pastries for breakfast each day—or perhaps you skip breakfast altogether. Whichever the case may be, you’re not properly feeding the champion that’s really within you. The next time you go to the marketplace, pick up some eggs, oatmeal, fruit, and/or protein powder. Experiment with quick omelets, fancy oatmeal, or a healthy protein shake. Breakfast is important because it sets the tone for the rest of the day—mentally and physiologically.
4. I Pretend I’m Going On A Picnic Every Day
Start out by packing anything that you might normally want to eat. It doesn’t necessarily have to be healthy while building this habit. Just packing something each day for school or work will limit the bad choices you may make during the day. Buy yourself a lunch pail that suits your lifestyle and the amount of food you foresee yourself consuming while away from home. Invest in something that you will actually use, not just something that is cute and fashionable. As time goes by, pack more superfoods to take for your “picnic.”
5. I Drink a Wishing Well’s Worth of Water
Buy a 32 oz. water bottle (or glass mason jar) and carry it with you EVERYWHERE. Drink at least eight ounces of water upon waking each day. Drink at least one full 32 ounce bottle during your workout time. This ensures that you are at least 1/3 of the way towards achieving your water-intake goal. Anytime you start to feel bored and hungry, drink another 8-16 ounces of water. Replace all of your sodas and some of your other beverages with water. Water is important to your health for a number of reasons and it does aid in weight loss, too.
What are some un-magical habits you have built over time that make you feel healthier and more empowered today?
Nutritionist & Health Coach Naomi Teeter helps her clients lose weight and keep it off through the same proven methods she’s used to maintain a 125 pound weight loss for the last 5 ½ years. She is the author of Inspire Transformation: Transformative Tactics and Inspire Transformation: The Cookbook. Naomi’s passion lies in reaching out and helping other women who her story resonates with.