In a time where there is a delicate balance between embracing our bodies exactly the way they are, while at the same time always striving for a healthier, fitter, and sexier body, the idea of counting calories or coming from an attitude of restriction has also become a less and less accepted approach to becoming our best selves.
Instead a more philosophical approach has taken over and permeated every aspect of our lives. Journaling and gratitude. While journaling was long thought as something that only little girls do (even little boys were excluded from this), the benefits of journaling and gratitude have been reiterated in numerous studies, so much so that not only psychologists, but also scientist have taken an interest into it.
So what is this magic of journaling and gratitude and how can we all benefit from this magic? Well first of all, there’s no magic involved, it’s a simple matter of “where attention goes, energy flows” and it can be broken down in a few simple steps.
Journaling gives us an opportunity to be aware of things that may have escaped our field of vision. Food journaling allows you to look at the end of the day and simply see the amount and the quality of food you have allowed to enter your body. In her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, Marie Kondo asks the people who are looking to declutter their closets to take all their clothes out and lay them down on the bed or on the floor. When most people do this, they are utterly surprised by the amount of clothes they own. Same thing with food. Eating a piece of chocolate here and there during the day might actually add up to an entire bar before the sun sets on the horizon. Personally I’m guilty of snacking more than eating. A lot of times, if I’m eating alone or if I’m home for the day, I won’t have a proper meal at any point, I will just keep on snacking throughout the day. But snacking, while it may be great in certain cases, in my case, it’s neither satisfying, nor beneficial as I would end up eating a lot of things, but I would never really enjoy my food.
Do you see food as a reward for a hard workout? Or maybe as a treat for when you had a bad day? Do you mindlessly put things on your plate or do you eat what inspires you and makes you feel good. In an interview with Oprah, Shonda Rhimes, the amazing producer that has brought to life shows like Grey’s Anatomy, How I Got Away With Murder and many more, talked about how she finally lost her unwanted weight after years of dieting and depriving her body. She simply made a decision that she would only eat foods that she really wants to eat and she would keep track of them. With an incredibly busy schedule, she was aware that diets were going to be a challenge so she had to go for the more philosophical approach. That way if she really really wanted a brownie, she would indeed have a brownie, but if she was just hungry, she wouldn’t simply eat what was around, she would make a conscious effort to see what she would enjoy eating in that moment.
Using a fitness tracker such as the fitlosophy fitbook®: fitness tracker and food journal is everything need to keep track of your food, fitness, goals, and rewards. It allows you to set goals, break them down into small steps, plan workouts and meals ahead of time and even set rewards for achieving your goals. You can plan your cardio days, classes, or strength days for each weeks and make sure your meals and macros match your effort. On those days when you feel elated about a workout or those where you’re just not feeling it, well there’s a place in the journal where you can write that down too.
Not to take it into a sad territory, but not everyone has access to food, let alone good quality food, so why shouldn’t I take a moment to be grateful for the food that is about to nourish me and delight my tastebuds?
Taking a minute to be grateful for my food and simply logging it in a journal completely changed my relationship with food. From the simple fact that I started enjoying it more as I took a minute to be grateful for it, rather than just shoving it in my mouth (which is what I believe certain people get with the prayer before the meal) and second of all, on a more practical aspect, I discovered the sheer amount of sugar I was putting in my body. I remember so clearly one day when I walked into an international grocery store and I found a treat that I used to eat when I was a kid. I was so happy and grateful for it that I realized that is the attitude I want to have whenever I nourish my body.
It’s a proven fact that gratitude changes our perception of life and focusing on the good, being thankful for the things, the people, the nourishment, the abilities we have improves not only our general attitude towards something, but actually changes our brains. While some believe that we should only be grateful when something big occurs in our lives, the reality is that it’s the gratitude for the little every day things that changes our perception. Feeling grateful for your body, even if it’s not exactly the way you want it, releases toxic feelings you might have towards yourself and allows you to treat your body with respect no matter what. Rather than being in a relationship with your body where the workout is a punishment and the food is a reward, what if you could approach it from the perspective of being grateful for your body because it can work out, take you places and be a home for your soul, rather than something you hate because of its lack of perfection.
For this part of the journey, the fitlosophy goal getter: fitspiration gratitude + fitness journal will inspire you to be your best and keeps health and wellness top-of-mind daily with inspiration + tips to live life fit. This journal reminds you to be grateful, set goals, get inspired, think positive, and reflect on those goals, but most importantly it becomes a tool to help you achieve those goals.
Change can only happen once we have acknowledged the reality as it is and we’ve decided we’d like to do something to improve it. Depending on how you see life, change can be a good or a bad thing for you, but hopefully by now, you’ve already started using the gratitude journal and you accept that change is neither good nor bad, change just is. While there are things that happen within the change that could be considered good or bad, the change itself is not intrinsically good or bad, change just happens from one moment to the next, it’s part of our daily lives and most of the times, it goes by unnoticed until it’s big enough to create a shift.
I talk a lot about my marathon training last year because running is something people can easily identify with and it connects to a lot of people, but here’s how my marathon training started. I wasn’t a runner, but somehow got convinced into entering the lottery for the marathon and somehow got a spot. Before that, I had run once a half marathon (without training) and had a terrible time…I barely finished it. Once I started training for the marathon, my pace was pretty slow. I was usually around 9.45 min/mile, maybe 9.30 min/mile on a good day and a very short run. I hovered around that mark for a couple of months with what I thought was little to no improvement. My pace was still the same, but the distances were getting longer and longer – I guess that’s the magic of following a training schedule that’s built by a professional. Then all of the sudden I was running 9 min/miles and 8.30 min/miles. For a seasoned runner, this pace is pretty slow, but for me, basically a non-runner, it was amazing. It felt like a somehow leaped from 9.30-9.45 to 8.30-8.45 all of the sudden, but the reality was that it took a lot of little changes and little moments to achieve that one minute faster.
Every time we think of meteoric rises, we need to look at all the little, sometimes invisible steps that took us there, all the moments where in some way or another, we pushed a second longer, we got to the moment when we wanted to give up and we said: not today, not right now!