For probably about a decade, I began every new year with an anxious sense of hope and excitement for how I was going to totally transform my life within about three weeks. From sleep to workout habits, diet to relationships, I was going to get my $h!t sorted somewhere between the last glass of champagne and brunch the next morning.

Three weeks later: cue the sense of failure, disappointment and resignation to the status quo. 

A lot has changed for me since those heady all-or-nothing days. I’ve learned that real change is a bit slow, sometimes circuitous, and feels way more nourishing than a bikini-ready diet.

I’ve also learned that this type of change does, in fact, really work. It’s not just about settling for ‘sort of okay’. It’s about real transformation.

I am healthier now than I was a decade ago. Fitter. Stronger. Better Nourished.

And…in the interest of full disclosure, maybe a bit more stressed out and less well rested but I’m working on that.

The Elevate 2018 challenge has grown out of everything I’ve learned on my personal wellness journey, with a side of dietitian know-how.

When everyone on your feed is preaching strict ‘virtuous’ regimes, I want to offer you a different approach: five weeks of meaningful eating changes that can carry you through the year. Tons of inspiration, education and support. Zero deprivation. Zero ‘be skinnier’ BS.

You’re already awesome. So why not feed yourself a little more healthfully?

Your First #2018Elevate Challenge: Eat When You’re Hungry

This week’s challenge is a doozy…but it requires zero prep.
Because prep hinders action.

As soon as your read this post, begin!

Most of us have totally lost our connection to our natural hunger cues. We have learned to ignore them or override them and it’s time to tune back in.

Wait for the physical sensation of hunger to arise, then eat what you want. Try and do so without being distracted by a screen. See if you can notice the point at which you become comfortably full.

In order to do this, you need to pay attention. Pay attention to all the urges to eat that are triggered by place, people or habit. Like always eating in front of the TV at night.

It requires mindfulness, so it’s a great way to tap into that power you may use in other areas of your life.

Eating when you’re hungry is not the same as going hungry.

This challenge is not about eating less…it’s about moving towards a more intuitive relationship with food.

Some of my clients report a fear of hunger; if this is you, this challenge might be tough. One way to reassure yourself is to always carry a healthy snack with you in case hunger strikes.

There are practical aspects to navigate so you aren’t starving.

For example, what if you have mandated break times at work, but you’re not hungry? Try eating only a half portion of your food and save the rest for snack time. You may find that a half portion was actually all you need to feel satisfied! Or, have your snack at meal break and then eat your meal at your coffee break when your hunger is more likely to kick in.

Or, you take medications that require you eat? Eat the minimum necessary to support the medication and then wait for hunger for your next meal.

What if you aren’t hungry in the morning? Make your usual breakfast and pack it with you to the office so you have a healthy meal ready when your stomach is.

If you have gut health issues, you may find that eating less often really helps. It did for me. If you have blood sugar issues, this is often very helpful too…but you need to really pay attention to how you balance your meals with protein, fibre and healthy fat so that your blood sugars stay balanced in between meals.

When have become a nation of over-snackers…forgetting that our body wasn’t really designed for eating every two hours. There is no right or wrong here; it’s about exploration. If you stomach rumbles every two hours, eat! If you can go four without food, listen to your body.

If you haven’t downloaded your #2018Elevate Guide yet, you can get your FREE copy here. Be sure to let me know how this week’s challenge is going for you, over on Facebook or Instagram! And you can keep up with all of the #2018Elevate Challenge events on my events page.

PS…if you have a pre-existing health condition that interacts with nutrition and food choice, please seek professional advice before beginning this or any wellness challenge. Even sane nutrition advice needs to be personalized for your specific needs. 

Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash