A very wise and highly respected dean at my college also happened to be my student government adviser. We worked side-by-side with the other elected college students, ensuring 1987 would be the best year they would experience.
Many of us had financial hardships, others health issues, and some academic challenges. The dean, however, motivated every one of us to excel far beyond what we thought possible. His famous saying when we became discouraged was “have an attitude of gratitude.” He would teach us to look up, taking the focus off ourselves.
What a perfect way to begin a new year, by choosing your changes with a grateful heart. As a certified nutritionist with a compounding pharmacy—which prepares prescriptions based on a patients individualized needs—I’ve met with thousands of patients faced with every health opportunity imaginable. I’ve observed how attitudes, family support and the ability to be flexible have affected outcomes.
Specializing in weight management with my patients, January is my favorite time of year, People are eager to change and seek professional accountability and expertise. I thrive in guiding my patients in a more vibrant, joyful way of living life. Using visual props, illustrations and acronyms has always been popular with patients, allowing them to grasp the concept that they can re-create their own health!
Lasting change begins with REST. Shandel Slaten, a successful executive coach who is retained by top business owners to conduct “corporate interventions,” created the REST process to support long-term, sustainable change.
Thankfully, Shandel permitted me to adapt her corporate application of REST to a personal wellness and healthy habit model, which has the ability to yield lasting wellness results. Before we start, though, unplug, turn-off, and move away from all screens and focus. This is your time to take a media fast! If it’s clarity you desire, you’ll need to quiet your soul to optimize the benefits of this process.
Reflect: Right now, as you’re reading this column, how do you feel physically? Do you remember a time when you had more energy, your joints weren’t bothering you, and you had more flexibility and balance? Are you experiencing frustration because of your changing health? All of these “truths” are called your factual reality.
Evaluate: Pen in hand, now begin to write three to five core values that are non-negotiable, priorities in your life. Examples: being present for your family, spending quantity and quality time with your spouse or loved-ones, staying out of debt, work satisfaction, transitioning into new life opportunities. Then ask yourself, based on where your health situation is, “Am I able to honor my core values?” Do your daily health habits create conflict or support wellness? You cannot honor your core values if you are not living in optimal health.
Strategize the future: Here’s the great news. In taking the first step to honestly evaluate your goals for 2014 you will be able to determine a strategy for change, either in slow incremental steps or in leaps. Naturally, your personal family physician knows you best, so in making any dietary or exercise adjustments, seek their guidance first. Enlist an accountability partner, a counselor, a nutritionist or a support group. If you really want something, you will find a way; if you don’t you will surely find an excuse.
Think Long-Term: Ask yourself, “What do I really want for long-term outcomes in my personal health journey?” “What must I do on a daily, weekly, monthly basis to achieve and support my core values?” Determination and motivation fuel sustainable change. It’s also important to remember that most people fail in permanent behavior changes when they act as Lone Rangers.
There you have it, REST but never retreat!
Finally, be focused yet be flexible. Change rarely happens without a few setbacks. When my patients confess their unhealthy behaviors, I remind them we always have another opportunity to return to what we really want for the long-term. It starts today, one thought, one behavior, one victory at a time.
A certified nutritionist, Kim Ruby is the director of Nutrition and Wellness at University Compounding Pharmacy in San Diego. She and her husband Brandon are health coaches and weight loss consultants with Take Shape for Life. Learn more at www.sandiego.tsfl.com