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By Sonia Salfity , Family Flavours - Jan 20,2019 - Last updated at Jan 20,2019

Photo courtesy of Family Flavours magazine

This month, I do not want us to think of ourselves as Desperate Dieters but to embrace the fact that we are visionaries capable of planning. Life is complicated enough without us adding more rules that raise our stress levels, causing us to eat more and sleep less. Instead, we are going to focus this month on the word STOP.

There are a lot of strategies we can use to help us make better choices, but to implement them properly, we first must stop what we are currently doing before we can actually start. To keep yourself motivated, think of the letters in the word STOP: 

Schedule your meals to fit your lifestyle. Make sure you are flexible enough so when your lifestyle gets busier, you do not give up on your good eating habits by grabbing fast food. Simply pack healthy snacks and drink plenty of water to help you stay full. Saying “no” to the empty calories will get easier if you are not on an empty stomach. This also keeps your metabolism burning. Likewise, when your lifestyle slows down, you’re going to have to move more. Walking is not only good for burning calories but for your overall mental, emotional and physical health as well. Even if your size does not change, I guarantee you that your mood will. This in turn will reduce your stress hormones and improve your health by leaps and bounds. You will sleep better, breathe better and heal better.

Think before you act. Before you make a food purchase at the grocery store, stop and think how that selection is going to affect your goals. Before you decide what to cook for your family, think if that decision will affect how well you’ll be able to control your own portions. Before you decide to triple the recipe, think if you will really freeze those leftovers or be tempted to put seconds on your plate! Before licking that spoon to taste that cake batter for the third time, think about the hundreds of calories you just ingested standing up in your kitchen without giving it a thought! 

Omit all distractions that keep you off track. This includes limiting television time if that causes you to snack mindlessly and omitting empty calories from your kitchen pantry (processed foods that offer no nutritious value to your health). Do not even try to convince yourself that ice cream is made of milk and a necessary part of your diet! It is loaded with sugar, which means you can enjoy it in moderation as a treat when you go out once in a blue moon to your favourite creamery! 

Plan to succeed and success will follow. Carve out a sacred space to tend to your physical, emotional and relational needs. Ask yourself where you are deficient in these areas and make sure to address them by processing them properly instead of stuffing your emotions. Think of these areas as buckets that need to be checked daily to make sure they are filled. Give yourself permission to feel your feelings and let them pass but not without learning from them. Ask God for help and learn to forgive yourself when you mess up and get back on target without delay. 

After you STOP you’re able to START! Start living the life you were meant to live. A life free from obsessing about food, calories and scales. Take a deep breath every morning and start inhaling the life you were meant to live because you are stronger than you will ever know. Freedom tastes way better than any chocolate cake, so dig in and help yourself! 


Reprinted with permission from Family Flavours magazine

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