1. Take A Time-Out
Begin doing something that I have started recently, which is meditate. But let’s not even call it meditation; let’s just call it a daily time out. Put the distractions away and just sit on the floor comfortably. Pick a spot to look at, and don’t look away for five minutes. Let your thoughts come, one thought rolling into another thought. The meditation expert I’ve worked with gives these guidelines: If a thought about the past comes up, let the “movie” play with no questions; anything about what’s happening around you currently—for instance, thoughts about sounds you hear in the distance or how your body feels—go with it; but any thoughts about the future, shut them down. Those are the kinds of thoughts that bring on anxiety and worries. Instead, bring your mind back to your breathing, to the spot you're looking at, or to any thoughts that don’t concern the future. This is just one type of meditating. There are many types, and you can find many good guided meditations on YouTube. I urge you to explore until you find something that resonates with you, and to make a concerted effort to have a point in the day when you go inward, even just for a few minutes. You’ll see what a calming effect it can have. But even if the very idea of meditation is daunting don’t give up on it: Even sitting in a room in complete silence for 2 to 3 minutes can have a calming effect.
2. Get Into The Compliment Business
We spend so much of the day beating ourselves up for what we haven’t done or couldn’t achieve that we never stop to show ourselves some love. Stop yourself five times and give yourself a compliment, a pat on the back for something you did that was worthy. “Nice job on not eating that cupcake.” “You were awesome at work today.” “You were easygoing when that guy took your parking space.” “You took a walk during lunch.” Most of the overweight people I’ve met over the years have a very difficult time giving themselves compliments. They find it easy to pat someone else on the back, but get queasy when it comes to praising themselves. It’s not vain to do so.
3. Find A Challenge
A goal can help you stay focused and motivated. It’s true of any endeavor, but especially true of exercise. Make your workouts count for something. Look online or check local sports stores for upcoming events you can train for. Don’t freak out if it’s billed as a race. I have a slogan I use with cast members on our shows: Don’t compete, just complete. The point is to just cross the finish line. When you show up at the event, keep that line in your head: “I’m here to complete, not compete.” That’s going to prevent negative, shameful thoughts from popping into your mind and prevent you from quitting. All you need to do is finish—no matter how long it takes.
4. Be Honest And Relax
There are two things that I believe will help everything fall into place: One is being honest with yourself and others; the other is relaxing. If you’re honest with yourself—Did I do my best today? Did I keep my promises?—and honest with others—I’m having a hard time today; I could use some help—then you can just relax. By relaxing you are taking away all of the stress that can send you straight into self-destructive mode. Knowing that you did your best on a given day—or admitting to yourself that you didn’t—will free you to move forward. These are two simple concepts, but they’re not always easy. I’m great with the honesty part; I have to work on the relaxing part every day. Whichever way it plays out for you, don’t give up. Lying and stressing out make people fat.
5. After Breakfast, Stick To Water
At breakfast, go ahead and drink orange juice. But throughout the rest of the day, focus on water instead of juice or soda. The average American consumes an extra 245 calories a day from soft drinks. That’s nearly 90,000 calories a year—or 25 pounds! And research shows that despite the calories, sugary drinks don’t trigger a sense of fullness the way that food does. Find out how to tell if you drink too many of your calories.