“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” – Lou Holtz
Would you agree that many people in First Place still have not chosen to change…their attitudes? Are you one of them? This month I want to tackle some issues that are possibly precluding many of you from enjoying the fruits of your labor in First Place, specifically in the Live-It plan. First, let me ask you some questions to bring you aboard my train of thought. Do you or fellow members you know tend to see the practical disciplines within the Live It plan more like arduous chores as opposed to tools for success? I can almost hear the resounding yes being said aloud right now. If so, the next question is why is that the case for you? Are you confused about the purpose of these tools for success and how to make them work for you, or are you simply caught in a bad attitude trap from which you aren’ t choosing to shake free? Notice the verb I’m using: choose. Either way, I pray this month’ s article helps to adjust your attitude to work for and not against you.
Using the CR to Your Advantage
Your CR can come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. The important thing is that you use it! I have three great reasons why you should. Let me preface them with this: you’ ll be hardpressed to find a consistently successful weight management program that does not include the principles of mindfulness, accountability, and goal-setting. These three disciplines may not seem very glamorous, but they produce results for the long-term and all three can be manifested in the use of your CR!
Have you ever heard of the phrase, ‘wherever you are, be there’ ? Your CR helps you to “ be there” in your eating, exercising, praying, encouraging, reading or anything else you want! Another word for this concept is mindfulness. Mindfulness is a term used to describe staying aware of one’ s responsibilities and choosing to play an active role in what one chooses to do at each moment they are doing it. Sound a little overwhelming? Let me explain it another way. Practicing mindfulness when you eat a meal involves thinking about what you need nutritionally and desire in taste, making an informed and responsible decision, then taking the time to sit down and actually enjoy and experience the meal. In other words, practicing mindfulness does not involve grabbing the first thing you see, mindlessly eating it (and other things nearby) over the sink, and then rushing to the ever-present “ next thing” on your to-do list. Mindfulness is a wonderful principle you should apply not only to your eating habits, but also to how you treat other people throughout the day, for example, or what thoughts you choose to let roam in your mind.
Secondly, the CR encourages accountability. Accountability is not intended to instill fear or createguilt, but rather to assist you in keeping your promises to God and yourself. Try not to think of your CR as a way to impress or disappoint others, but as a tool intended to help you stay on track and achieve your goals! This brings me to my last point. The CR is a great way to promote goal-setting and ensure success. I want to try and eat a fruit and vegetable at every meal this week. I really want to make sure I make time to exercise three days this week. I’m tired of waiting for the weight to just disappear; I want to really do something about it. The achievement of those goals can occur with the help of your CR. In fact, convincing statistics prove that a goal written down is almost always a goal achieved!
Exchanging Perfection for Moderation
Learning how to calculate exchanges is just one part of the Live It plan. However, it seems like many people agonize over it to the point of utter exhaustion and defeat. Do you really understand why the exchange plan exists in the Live It plan? I promise it is not to frustrate you! The purpose of the exchange plan is three-fold: (1) to teach what an appropriate serving of food is, (2) to teach that a variety of foods from every food group is necessary to achieve a healthy, nutritious diet, and (3) to foster mindfulness again. Blindly eating something and simply hoping for the best is not eating mindfully. However, mindful eating involves taking a quick look to see what a food is made of and reviewing how it is categorized in the exchange plan. As I heard in church this past Sunday, “ If you don’t actively make a decision, it will be passively made for you.” Don’t give away your ability to make responsible and educated decisions just because you think you cannot figure out exchanges. I promise you can, but you have to supply the other parts of the equation for success: motivation and a positive attitude! It is important to note that perfection is not what is being asked of you, but moderation and the incorporation of variety. Exchanges do not have to be perfect. If you have a food label that doesn’ t come out to perfectly even exchanges, I promise that is okay! For example, you might choose a healthy, wholegrain granola bar that has a few more calories and grams of protein than one bread exchange and one fat exchange calculate to be. That is okay! The main ideas I want you to focus on are the quantity, or portions. and the quality of your food choices, not a few extra grams of this or that here and there. Please stop obsessing about exchanges and spending hours trying to perfectly exchange a food, especially if it is a healthy choice! There is no need to worry about exchanging dark green and bright colored veggies unless you think you’ re not getting enough! By choosing something you know to be a healthy choice (like those vegetables I mentioned), you’ ve won half the battle! Now just monitor your portion size and you will be good to go! Like the CR, use the exchange plan as a tool for achieving those goals mentioned above: eating appropriate portions of a variety of foods every day, and practicing mindfulness while doing so.
Grace, Grace, Grace
Lastly, give yourself some grace! Many people look at their CR and the exchange plan in a very legalistic way. Some scrutinize every morsel they put in their mouths, while others just give up. Neither of these outcomes were intended when the Live It was designed. Continually remind yourself that your CR and the exchange plan are tools to help you reach your goals, and using them in the proper way and with a positive attitude will lead to success!
Erin Dubroc, RD, LD
First Place Registered Dietitian
Erin Dubroc is the First Place Registered Dietitian.
Erin is a native Houstonian, blessed with a loving family and wonderful husband, Matt. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition Science from Texas A&M University in 2003 and has since been completing her Master’s in Public Health and Registered Dietitian (RD) program at the University of Texas School of Public Health in the Houston Medical Center. Her recent academic career has focused on theories and methods for designing, implementing, and evaluating nutrition and other health education programs.