Taking It Up A Notch

Greetings, Mission Makeover Viewers:

I hope this finds you well and working toward your own self-improvement. Remember, it's never too late to start making healthy changes, mentally and physically. I support you, and hope that our show has been inspiring you as much as it's been inspiring me.

In Episode 5, you watched our wonderful contestants begin to take their nutrition and exercise routines to the next level…and you saw our experts give them tips for keeping snacking sabotage…physiologically…at bay. Great and important stuff!

Now, I'd like to talk to you about the psychological components of these things…because, of course, what's going on inside your head is just as important to monitor and change as the rest of your body.

Let's talk about exercise first.

Finding the courage to try something new, for most adults-including me-is hard. But… it's also necessary. Why? Listen carefully: Keeping things fresh and taking calculated risks are good for your brain. Adventures are what you remember. They keep you present. They are equal parts scary and exhilarating… and are 100% stimulating.

And courage…well, that's not the absence of fear. Everyone has fear. In fact, it's brave to admit what you're scared of. What courage is then, is the ability to try something despite the fear. So, can you be scared and brave? ABSOLUTELY. That's what real heroes are.

Now, I'm not telling you to do anything unsafe. That's ridiculous. But I am encouraging you to try something different with your physical activity…regardless of your age or fitness level. And I am also recommending, whenever possible, that you take your activity outdoors. Connecting with nature and breathing fresh air is key to well being.

Pause for a second. What's going through your head right now?

Is it, "Great idea, Dr. Jessica. I'm on it!"

Or, is it, "No." Are you thinking, "I'm not athletic," "It's cold out," "I can't do that stuff," "I'll embarrass myself," "I'll be the worst one," "I'm too old," "I don't have time," "I've been hurt," or, "I have allergies."

I get it. I've been there. I'm still like that, too, sometimes.

So I also know that these are excuses that all have solutions. You're putting yourself down and you're blaming. You're creating your own demons. Dr. Daniel Amen calls them ANTS or "Automotive Negative Thoughts" and Dr. Brene Brown calls them "Gremlins." Whatever their nicknames, they are bad things we create to hurt our own progress.

There's always SOMETHING you can do. And that begins with replacing your negative thoughts with positive ones. Try substituting phrases like, "Here's what I CAN do," "I will be so proud of myself when I'm done," "I'm worth it," "Life's about taking risks," "Maybe I'll surprise myself," "I remember a time I did something that scared me…and LOVED it," and "The only one I need to impress is me."

You may want to choose you own music and go into your own head for a brain vacation while you move. You may want to surround yourself with like-minded, supportive people. Whatever works for you, do it. And understand that when you are driven by fear, you're never full of life. You deserve to be full of life.

Speaking of excuses, how often do you use them and sabotage a successful weight-loss effort? All the time, right? So, when you feel yourself weakening and you are so tempted to reach for that bad-for-you sugary, salty, deep-fried, yummy treat, replace these usual phrases…"It's just one" "I've been so good" "I'll start again fresh tomorrow," "I deserve this," "I'm stressed and need this" with one of these, "I've gotten through worse," "This is nothing," "I've worked too hard to blow this now," "This feeling will pass," "I'm stronger than this cookie," and "I'm going to feel so great tomorrow that I resisted this."

You will thank yourself in the long run. You'll be healthier, more confident, have more energy, and will be so much happier.

You deserve it!

Until next time…stay strong and step out of that comfort zone!

Dr. Jessica