Kick the Tires and Light the Fires

February 1, 2015

Kick the Tires and Light the Fires.

by Amanda Hepp Jackson, SHOP Blogger

Well, it’s January 31st.  How’s that I’m-Totally-Going-To-The-Gym-Every-Day and I’m-Never-Eating-Sugar-Again New Year’s Resolution coming?

And, if you know yourself well enough to truthfully answer this, how do you really think you’ll be doing with that by February 28th?  March 31st?  Memorial Day Weekend?

Before you realize it, Pumpkin Spice Lattes will be back at SBUX, you’ll be making gift lists for the 2015 holidays, and gorging on Christmas candy–all the while telling yourself that one more of Grandma’s famous ginger snaps is totally ok because you’re also making NEW AND IMPROVED 2016 New Year’s Resolutions.  (“For REAL this time–I’m going to the gym EVERY DAY and I’m definitely cutting out sugar.”)

How boring and predictable is this conversation?  I’m bored even typing about it.

So let’s change this conversation and the way we look at how our small daily habits actually make up our entire lives.  Our entire lives. Think about that for a second–or a lot of seconds even–it’s kind of a big concept. What we do with all the minutes of our hours and and all the hours of our days is what makes up our lives.

Here’s the deal–your New Year’s Resolutions don’t come from nothing–you probably have a genuine desire to be healthier.  And you’re setting yourself up all wrong.  Best news ever:  you can set yourself up to win and it’s completely within your control.

Changing behaviors is about changing our small daily habits–little by little–until those PSLs come back sometime before it’s actually fall and suddenly (but not really all that suddenly) you realize you don’t care about some fake pumpkin flavoring with extra whip because lattes loaded with sugar and milk are simply not a part of your daily life anymore.  (Plus, by this time, you’ll have learned how to make your own not-chemically-based pumpkin-coffee-bevvie. Just ask Drew–if it has pumpkin as an ingredient, he knows how to make it.)

Ok, ok–so how does all of this work?  I’m SO glad you asked because I have a few simple steps for you.

Step 1:  Start with the what.  What do you want to adapt in your life?  Is it your diet and overall health choices?  Great–it’s a perfect example for the rest of the steps.

Step 2:  The next part is how you’re going to get there.  This step is a bit more complicated because it requires some definitions.  What does being healthier mean to you?  You’ll fail right away if your goal stays as vague as “I want to be healthy” or “I want to eat better.”  Not.good.enough.  What does that mean and how do you make it happen?  If you need help with this (and most of us do) just ask Drew!

Step 3:  Tell people you love and trust about it–people who will help support you.  Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, so don’t worry about them.  The people you trust will help you get there–and you’re gonna need some help along the way.

Step 4:  Check in with yo’self AND don’t be afraid to adapt along the way.

Let me tell you a little story about my own diet changes.  I’m pregnant as efffff and I was really craving sugar during my second trimester so I ate the hell outta some sweets, obvi.  (It didn’t help that I was depressed with my job and where I lived and I cried a lot, but that’s an entirely different blog post).  ANYWAY–I didn’t like that–I knew how bad sugar was for me-and-hellllooooo I was feeding it straight to my little person that I was building!

So my habit change was to eliminate sugar from my diet.  Simple, right?

Well when I started looking at how much sugar is in some things that I thought were healthy, I couldn’t believe it.  Example: for a while now I have used agave to sweeten my coffee instead of sugar, and there are A LOT of grams of sugar in a serving of agave–it’s low glycemic yada, yada, but holy hell.  AND HAVE YOU SEEN HOW MUCH SUGAR IS IN PURE MAPLE SYRUP?!?! 53 grams in a TABLESPOON.  53! In a single tablespoon of syrup!  #wakeupcall

And my homemade salad dressing of avocado oil and white balsamic vinegar?  Well there’s sugar in white balsamic vinegar.  I mean, it’s not much, but the point is that I was getting sugar in places I hadn’t even realized it was hiding.  Who knew?!?!

So I took some time to reevaluate and decided to set a number of grams of sugar I allowed myself per day.  Then I tracked all of my food and sugar intake for two weeks until I got a pretty clear sense of what I could eat and stay at or below my 25g/day.  What’s really fabulous about this adapted plan is that as long as I kept my sugar intake pretty low throughout the day, I could still have some Trader Joe’s Speculaas Cookie Butter straight out of the jar as a little treat because, thankfully and surprisingly, there really isn’t all that much sugar in it.

Two lessons here–first: it’s very, very important to have a way to keep yourself accountable–for me, it was writing everything down.  Yes, it can be tedious.  And it’s a really crucial step.  And second, it’s ok if you realize part way in that maybe you need to tweak your goal a little bit–just tweak it in a way that makes sense to help you achieve the desired outcome and then get on with it.

Step 5: Know that it’s ok to slip up. Perfection is not the name of the game for any of us.  And that’s ok–but make sure you don’t let those slip-ups define you or let you give up on the goal you set for yourself.

And so, in the immortal words of Harry Connick, Jr. from Independence Day (NOT Goose from Top Gun like I thought it was before I fact checked myself for this blog), “Let’s kick the tires and light the fires, Big Daddy.”  Go schedule a session with Drew and make some goals you’ll actually achieve this year.