Old habits are like familiar highways, a groove in the brain that’s familiar and easy. It takes no extra planning or thinking.
You may have started a not so useful habit out of necessity. (grabbing a coffee and cake at 3pm because you were exhausted, three years later you’re still doing this)
How do you stop?
How do you stick to new healthier habits?
You know if you did 10 push-ups a day you’d be stronger.
You know this is important as you transition through peri-menopause and beyond, right?
Osteoporosis, fractures, crumbling like dry wood and the rest?
Why do we do this? Knowing something is good for us, but it’s so hard to stick to doing it, or bad for us, and unable to stop?
Let me ask you:
Do you know WHY you want to make changes in the first place?
What benefits will this new habit have to your life and is it important enough to make you stick with it?
What if I suggested you go running, but you hate running, but you know it’s good for you.
You start the couch to 5k and after a few weeks you give up.
Creating a new habit takes consistency, planning and knowing your motivation for taking action in the first place.
Even that’s not enough, maybe what’s important to you is having fun, so maybe there’s a completely different activity you need that will tick all the boxes.
Is a goal like ‘I want to lose weight’ motivating enough to help you stick to healthy daily habits? Probably not.
Here’s a different way of looking at it. ‘Being fit and healthy is important to me because I value my independence. Being fit and healthy means I can do the thing I love most – traveling, exploring and adventures!
Let me tell you about Sonia. She came to see me because every time she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror she was appalled at her reflection. She hardly recognised herself since turning 45 and was on a mission to lose weight.
This set off a chain reaction of self-loathing thoughts, negative thinking and feeling quite depressed. While being ‘stuck in her head’ going over and over how fat, lazy and worthless she was, she would snap at her kids.
Feeling guilty, for overreacting, then mindlessly turning to food to get rid of the guilt and the other difficult thoughts and feelings.
She was not being present to her children, because of how bad she felt about herself.
Two of her biggest values are fun and family. So, now, when Sonia wants to instil different and healthier habits, she remembers what is important to her and is guided by that rather than ‘I look fat and shit and I want to lose weight’
Here is her affirming statement. “I practice being more mindful every day so I can be kinder and have more fun with my children. I make healthier choices so that I am fit and healthy to care for them and be the role model I never had”
Practising mindfulness helps to be less reactive and is a skill to notice your thoughts.
Stepping of auto-pilot means being present to the here and now.
It gives you space to choose differently; maybe a healthier snack or a dance in the kitchen rather than the usual mindless munching on highly processed and sugary foods and start the cycle of guilt (and weight gain) all over again.
When instilling a healthier habit, start small. 10 minutes of walking, 5 minutes of mindfulness practice, one less coffee a day, 1 extra veg a day. The secret? Consistently doing something which has real meaning to you.
What is one habit you can instil which will make a massive difference to your health and wellbeing as you transition through the menopause?