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I saw a meme today that said “May the space between where I am and where I want to be inspire me.” This truly sums up how I have felt since starting to focus more on my intentions each day rather than obsessing about the gym and food. Allowing space for me to reflect on my goals in a positive way and allowing all those moments in-between to be framed in a more positive light allows me to feel inspired where I’d like to.
This past week, since starting my journey to whole health I have borrowed from my days of practicing hypnobirthing for childbirth. After the birth of my first child didn’t go as planned I decided to take more personal control over my birthing experience. For my second, I dragged my husband to hypnobirthing classes, I read the hypnobirthing books and I listened to all the meditation CDs (and a few others) day and night. I had the perfect, most incredible “pain-free” natural childbirth. Honestly, I wanted to give birth again and again just to experience that feeling one more time! And I did, twice more, in the comfort of my own home. People are always flabbergasted when I tell them how much I enjoy the whole labor and delivery experience. People are baffled when I say that it wasn’t painful – it was intense – but not painful. I am always met with dropped jaws and disbelief. Often I am asked, how??? The answer, for me, was training my mind every day of my pregnancy. The mind is a powerful tool. While I was pregnant every thought of pain would immediately be replaced with a positive thought, every negative word was replaced with a positive word, my visualization of birth were me opening up and hugging my child out. I NEVER allowed negative thoughts to overcome me. This was the key to my empowering births.
As I reflected each day this week on my health and wellness, I kept thinking, “If birth is supposed to be the most painful experience, would similar principles work for me on this journey?” Recognizing the parallels between hypnobirthing and gaining better health with intention, I noticed that I have set eating well and exercising as priorities, and that there is no need to obsess about it; it just needs to become part of my daily routine. Yet, everything in between needs to align with this concept. With the intention of no negative self talk, I am learning to stop myself every time I think “ugh, I hate my knees” or “ugh, my stomach is so flabby.” Every time a negative thought has crossed my mind I intentionally try to shift it to a positive. This is tough to do. Tough. Tough. But this process worked for me for childbirth, and I feel that the space between where I am and I where I want to be is what will inspire me.
Here are some ways to aid in setting intentions for your goals:
1. Build awareness of your current self talk: It is difficult to change something when we don’t know that it exists. Paying attention to the moment and to the self talk can provide valuable information about how the patterns in the mind work. For example: I may think, “I don’t want to go to the gym.” When I look more closely at this thought, I realize that I may say (secretly) to myself, “I am not fit, and this is hard,” or, “what if I look silly in the gym if I can’t do an exercise?” or, “I’m too lazy.” These thoughts are ok to notice: Simply be aware of your self talk, catch yourself in the moment, and send a little kindness and compassion to yourself and observe.
2. Create an affirmation/mantra: Think of how you want to be…how you want to feel. This may be, “I am full of energy,” or, “My body is nourished with this food,” or, “I love to sweat and try new things.” This affirmation should be something positive, perhaps phrased as if it has already happened.
3. Repeat the affirmation frequently: Some people find it helpful to put a little picture on their mirror, or on their fridge, to remind them to repeat the affirmation at different points throughout the day. The more the mantra is reaffirmed, the easier it will be to change our habits and patterns. So for me, when I notice any negative self talk, even, “Ugh, I should really go to the gym, but I don’t want to,” I recite my mantra, “I am full of energy and it feels so great to move my body,” which encourages me to follow through with my intention.
Stay tuned for more affirmations and mantras that are helpful to me on our closed The Holistic You FB group. Please share your mantras and affirmations that work for you — it may inspire someone else!
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In January 2013 I realized I needed to do something to improve my health. I spent 2012 on maternity leave and often neglected taking care of my own health (sleepless nights and caring for a tiny human will do that!). Not to mention the many years before that where health was at the bottom of my list of priorities. Luckily, I discovered Lisa's 30 day green smoothie challenge. The recipes were incredible and a green smoothie drinker was born! But I didn't stop there. Starting each day in such a healthy way led me to consult with a naturopath (it would have been Lisa if we were in the same city), do an elimination diet, and discover that I have sensitivities to wheat and milk. I changed to a whole foods-based diet (most of the time) and took up running. In the span of 8.5 months I went from being tired and sluggish on the couch (literally - I could run for one minute at a time before having to walk) to having enough energy to run the Detroit International Half Marathon. I actually RAN the whole thing! And I lost almost 60lbs along the way! Thank you, Lisa, for being my catalyst. Your challenge kept me interested in a new way of living and saved me! I continue to drink a green smoothie every day for breakfast. What a wonderful way to start each day!
Thank you thank you thank you!!!
Imogen Meloche Windsor, Ontario