It’s a theme we talk about a lot in the military, because resilience is what gets you through some of the toughest and darkest times. Strategies like compartmentalization and finding the nuggets of good within the difficulties are strategies they teach us to get past some of the bad things we see on the battlefield and elsewhere. Resilience is not something just for military people; it’s very important for anyone embarking upon a new healthy lifestyle.
There are times when you will start craving foods you used to enjoy before but should be avoiding. A resilience strategy I use is to find something else I enjoy that is compliant with my diet and enjoy it instead. Case in point: I used to like having a chocolate snack every now and then. I also love apples, so whenenver I get a craving for something sweet, I first try to determine if it’s really hunger or just boredom. If it’s real hunger, I’ll go for the apple. Would I enjoy a chocolate? Sure! But it would also be a sabotage snack, so I instead go for an apple.
Our diet is closely connected to our happiness, and for some people, completely changing a diet can be depressing. This was especially true for me, as I used to love to eat mass quantities. When I eat now, I take comfort in knowing that the right-sized portions are better for me, and I slow down my eating to draw it out a little more (something I can’t really do at WOCS right now which causes me to over-eat quite a bit as the portions are on the large side compared to what I normally eat). When I’m done eating and would normally have taken a second or third serving, I instead drink some black coffee, hot tea, or water.
Resilience is what gets you through challenges. We have to bend and not break. It’s a tough skill to perfect, and I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I need a conscious reminder to be resilient. Heck, I needed that reminder this weekend, and I was also reminded to focus on the right things and not to get too focused on a minor thing. This lesson holds true in all aspects of our lives, and especially with health and fitness. Too often, people starting a new diet spend a lot of time and energy thinking about the foods they can no longer have instead of focusing on all the delicious favorite foods they can still enjoy. It’s all about harnessing any positive energy you have and letting that grow.
I was challenged last month at WOCS and there were a few times when I was emotionally drained and wore out. I started doubting my ability to get through it. But then, I snapped out of it, and consciously adopted a better attitude. This past weekend, I did a lot better, and a huge part of that was my mindset going into it. When you believe you can succeed and you visualize it, success follows more easily. When I began my healthy journey, I was very optimistic about my ability to lose weight and to improve my health. In the back of my mind, I was still skeptical, but in my heart, I believed I could do it. 150 lbs lost later, I still have to set my mind right every now and then. Success isn’t easy even following a huge success. It takes every bit as much work to keep going, to keep making progress, and to keep succeeding.
Never give up; never surrender. Find the good, and concsiously change your attitude. When it gets tough, remind yourself that you’re tougher, and that you’ve tackled harder things and succeeded before. You can do it!