Self Care and Weight Loss are at the top of the trends in January. It’s a new year and lots of folks are looking for a “new you.” February comes around and it can be a bit harder to stay motivated. Chocolate starts looking more tempting.
I’ve been there! Who wants to feel deprived or eat sad food? Who wants to give up chocolate? Nobody. Read on to find out all about my day-to-day philosophy surrounding Real Life Self-Care and Weight Loss and why I call the system my “Life Guardrails.” Plus, how to make this seemingly decadent Chocolate Dipping Sauce that I know you are going to love.
How to Lose Weight?
The new year is a great time to get started, but do you know what is really the best time to get started? The day you start! Who cares if you made a resolution and have faltered? Nobody.
I’ve lost 65# and kept it off for over 2 1/2 years. My attitude is that some days are better than others, but I figure that if I am on the right side of things more than not, then I am doing OK.
Self-care and weight loss are tricky. I’ve reframed it as:
health gain > weight loss.
Happiness is not found in a number between your toes. Wellness is not just about weight.
What are Life Guardrails?
I’ve developed a series of Life Guardrails for Real Life Self-Care and Weight Loss. Guardrails are built along the highway at especially dangerous places to keep you out of the ditch and on the road.
My life guardrails are eating healthy, exercising, and mindful behavior.
Well, hell, Virginia. That’s not ding dang rocket science.
Thoughts →Actions + Tools + Measure= Results
We have to dig a little deeper to transform the thought of a life guardrail into an action. Then, we have to discover or create the tools that will help you complete the action. Lastly, we have to assess and measure.
- I ASK myself, “Who Do I Want to Be?”
- I determine the ACTIONS and TOOLS that will help me be that person. What Do I Need to Do? What Do I Need to Do It?
- I ASSESS each day and MEASURE success in my journal. “Which Actions were Productive? Where do I Need Improvement?” Writing it down makes it real to me.
Who Do I Want to Be?
I was unhappy and overwhelmed by the amount of weight I needed to lose. SIXTY-FIVE POUNDS? Are you kidding me? Instead of tackling that scary number, I decided to head in the direction of “healthy and strong.”
#1: Who Do I Want to Be? I Want to Be a Healthy and Strong Person.
Being healthy and strong is not a number, it is not a destination. It is a way of life.
→ The Life Guardrail Actions are to eat healthily and exercise.
→ Tools that help me accomplish my goals include the WW app , better-for-you recipes like this Skinny Chocolate Dipping Sauce, and exercise dates with friends that increase my accountability. (I won’t blow off a walking date like I might blow off going solo.)
#2 Who Do I Want to Be? I Want to Be a Clear and Focused Person
Like many, I can be guilty of numbing. Clear and focused is the opposite of numbing. Numbing is anything that “takes the edge off.” That means food, wine, shopping, instagram… you get the picture.
Brene Brown says: “We cannot selectively numb emotion. If we numb the dark, we numb the light. If we take the edge off pain and discomfort, we are, by default, taking the edge off joy, love, belonging, and the other emotions that give meaning to our lives.”
If I want to eat a cupcake, I want to come at it from joy, not shove it down my throat because I am sad. If I want a glass of wine, I want to come to that from happiness, not numb my feelings with alcohol. I don’t want to start my day distracted by emails that can wait or mindlessly lose hours on Facebook.
→ The Life Guardrail Actions are to avoid numbing behaviors (+ plan on failure!), practice guided meditation, and educate myself regarding behavior modification and healthy habits.
→ Tools that help me accomplish my goals include the Insight Timer app and time management management tools including Focus on my iphone or the Pomodoro Technique.
#3 Who Do I Want to Be? I Want to Be a Calm and Graceful Person.
Your brain only has so much bandwidth. Creating a plan contributes to a sense of calm. Graceful is not only to describe someone like a ballet dancer or yogi. The term graceful means” full of grace.” The manifestation of grace is kindness in my eyes, one of my core values.
→ The Life Guardrail Actions are to follow a schedule and be kind.
→ Tools that help me accomplish my goals include a general schedule taped to my cabinet to keep me “in line and on time.” I also have reminder alarms set throughout the day.
Another tool that’s become indispensable is my Gratitude Journal. When I assess at the end of the day, I single out a kind action. Kindness has been shown to increase self-esteem, empathy and compassion, and improve mood. Science says so.
How to Make Lasting Change?
The process is very logical – it doesn’t make it easy, but it is easy to make sense of. You are what you do. Little things add up. Instead of reaching for the full-fat ultra decadent ganache, make a swap for this Skinny Chocolate Dipping Sauce and fruit.
- Who Do I Want to Be? I want to be healthy and strong; clear and focused; and calm and graceful.
- What Do I Need to Do? What Do I Need to Do It? I need to act like the person I want to be and find the tools to help me do it.
- How Did I Do? I assess and measure at the end of each day.
You Don’t Have to Bend Over Backwards
You don’t have to do everything all at once. My Life Guardrails evolved over time and are still growing. My journal at day’s end will often look something like this:
H&S: → ↑ (I kinda sorta ate healthy; I exercised)
C&F: ↑ ↓ (I avoided numbing; I did not mediate)
C&G: ↓ ↑ (Late for bed/schedule; yes I was kind)
As long as I have more in the “yes” column than the “no” column, then I am doing okay! Do I sometimes mess up, hit the guardrails, and scrape the proverbial paint? Of course, I do. I’m human. Do I try to think about what I need to do better the next day? I certainly do and you can, too.
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Thanks so much for reading! Here’s the recipe for Skinny Chocolate Dipping Sauce that is silky, rich, decadent — and only 3 WW points for 8 luscious tablespoons.
I hope my “Life Guardrails” approach can help and inspire you.
Bon Appétit Y’all!
Skinny Chocolate Dipping Sauce
- 3 tablespoons dark chocolate cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons peanut powder
- 9 tablespoons water
- Apples or bananas ice cream if it’s serious, for serving
- Combine cocoa, peanut powder, and water. Stir to combine. Serve with apples or bananas. Store in a sealable container in the refrigerator, up to 3 days.
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This Post Has 2 Comments
Thanks Virginia. Really needed to hear this today. Met you at Rancho La Puerta years ago with my 2 daughters and we thoroughly enjoyed your cooking class!
Tysm for reading!! Rancho La Puerta has really had a tremendous influence on me and my health journey!