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Podcast: Getting Back on Healthy Track: Normalizing the Process of Building Habits


Please note this transcription is generated by software. There may be some errors. I hope you find it useful.


Introduction and Announcements

Hello, hello, hello. Welcome to Fit and Fabulous with me, Dr. Orlena. I hope that you are feeling amazing today. Today I want to talk to you about getting back on the wan, and I've been having lots of conversations in the Facebook group. If you're not in the Facebook group, come and join the Facebook group.

It's amazing. Lots of conversations about the wins that we have and people commenting about getting back on track. So today I want to talk about getting back on track and totally normalizing getting back on track. It really is a part of building up habits and building up, getting to that place where things happen automatically.

Now, before I dive into getting back on track, just a few announcements. Number one, I have updated. The free recipes, so they are now recipes of May. They were previously recipes of February, so I don't get to update them every single month, but there are new recipes there. If you're on the email list, I sent them out last Friday.

If you're not on my email list, you can sign up and you will get a PDF of delicious, healthy Mediterranean style recipes. All totally free, yummy, and delicious. Number two, I am going to announce my next free event, which is gonna take place in June, and I'm going to announce it. Tomorrow, Wednesday. So I'm gonna announce it first of all in the Facebook group.

Why am I announcing it? Because it's not quite ready to go yet, so, so it should be ready by tomorrow. And I will let you know everything that's going on, all the exciting goodies, get you excited and ready to go for that event. So if you are in the Facebook group, you will be the first to hear. If you're not in the Facebook group, you'll have to wait till next week, but that's perfectly fine.

It's going to be absolutely amazing and I'm really excited about this free event.

Normalizing the Process of Getting Back on Track

Okay, so let's talk about getting back on track. Now, this is what happened. You set some goals and you think, okay, I'm gonna do healthy eating. We're gonna focus on healthy eating for this conversation. I'm gonna do healthy eating.

You start doing healthy eating a few days later on, or it might be a longer period of time. You. Your eye goes off the board, you're busy. Life is busy lifeing. It might be work, it might be kids, it might be any number of things, and you take your focus off. Stressful things start to happen. Your old habits come back.

Yes, these are habits. Your habits are the things that you do automatically without thinking about them, and that might include emotional eating. So you focus for a little bit and then your focus. Drifts a little bit and life takes over. Stressful stuff happens, and these old habits start to creep back up.

And now it kind of depends how long that period of time is, but at some stage you get back on the wagon and it feels more difficult. So let me give you an example for my own personal life. I'm a swimmer. I spend a lot of time swimming. Hooray. I love swimming. I'm lucky to live near the Mediterranean and I swim, but occasionally I run.

Now I find running really quite difficult and I try and go running once a week really just to be able to go running. I know that sounds a little bit ridiculous, but I know that when I stop running, it becomes so much more difficult To run now, for one thing after another has led to the fact that I haven't been running for nearly a month.

So I went running today, this morning. My kids are at my youngest kids are at what, what's called colonials. They're at on a school trip. So I took advantage and thought, okay, I don't have to walk the kids to school. I'm gonna get up and I'm gonna go for a run. Oh my goodness. It was so hard, so, so hard.

Whereas I remember the last run I did was far, far easier. In fact, the last run I did, I was a bit like, oh my goodness, I need to do a little bit more because I haven't quite made my 5k. I'm gonna do this. Whereas this time round. It was difficult and I noticed that it was difficult. It felt so much more difficult in my body.

Now that's partly because I haven't been using those muscles in that way. Now, obviously, I have been using my muscles, my leg muscles, but I haven't been using them in a running 5K way, so my muscles aren't used to it, and it felt hard. So how did I overcome that? Well, two things I think really, really help.

Overcoming Difficulties in Building Habits through Short-term and Long-term Goals.

And I think this can be applied to any situation, and it's about goal setting and having your goal. And I really think you need to have what I call a long-term goal and a short-term goal. So my long-term goal is that I can run a five kilometer run. I'm not talking about heaps of running. And if you're not a runner, that sounds like a lot.

If you are a runner, you know that that's not heaps. But I can run five Ks a week. And that I'm gonna keep doing this. So that's my long-term goal. My short-term goal is get to that post, get to that door, stop. Just keep going. And just having these little marks along the way that help me keep going. And that was literally what I did today.

Oh my goodness. I've done one kilometer, I've done two kilometers, and my brain is busy working on these, these little goals. Oh my goodness. That is what is keeping me going. Now, if you've heard me talk about negative brain and positive brain, it's really interesting. That when we are focused on something, we're using that very tunnel focused vision, and I realized that for the first like 80% of the run that I was doing, I was really very focused on just keeping myself going.

Like putting one foot in front of the next, and it wasn't until I got to the downhill bit and I decided that I could sort of take my eyes off that focus bit and look around at the scenery and really enjoy more of what was going on as opposed to what's exactly in front of me and that. Bit is when things start to happen.

They start to really, you get into flow, you start to, that's really building up the habit. I'm doing it without thinking. I'm allowing my body just to take over. And the same analogy can be used to help with healthy eating. You know, you have to focus on it. You have to focus on it. You have to focus on it.

Your focus falls off, it comes back on, off on, off on, until you get to a stage where you're like, oh my goodness, this is just what I do. It's so easy, it's so fun. And yes, of course, having a coach or somebody to hold you accountable is really gonna help you because it's gonna help you get back on, get back on, get back on.

Focus on the Short Term Goal and Eventually You’ll Have an Oak Tree Healthy Habit

So my first message to you is if you find yourself constantly getting back on the wagon, do not beat yourself up about this. This is normal. In fact, some of my clients say to me, do you know what I do really well for three days. And then you know, it's the weekend stuff happens and it's not until I come back to coaching the next week and I do this pattern three days of great fall off the the wagon for a couple of days so they can get back on off, on off.

Now, eventually they will get to the stage. Where they're more on the wagon than off the wagon, and they've got their coaching, holding them accountable and reminding them to do things and keeping them focused because if they didn't come to coaching, they would fall off the wagon and be off the wagon and never get back on.

So that getting back on piece is really, really important. Now, some people, they don't do that. They stay on the wagon and they. They keep going. They keep going, and they use the coaching to just remind them to keep going, to remind them to keep going. So it is not a disaster if you are constantly getting back on the wagon.

What Are You Making it Mean When You Fall off the Wagon?

Now, the other thing I think that is important to mention is what are you making it mean? So when I talk about running and I say, do you know what I. Want to be a runner. I'm invested in running, but I'm not so, so invested in running that I'm gonna beat myself up about running. It's a nice to have in my life, but it's not really, really super important.

If something happened and somebody made me choose between running and swimming, swimming would always win for me. And so running's this thing that is a bonus. So when I think about, okay, I'm getting back on the RA wagon of running again. What does that mean about me? Nothing. It means that I haven't run for a month or so, and that's okay.

Life has been busy. Other stuff has been happening. I've been swimming. I don't make it mean, oh my goodness, I'm a bad person because I haven't been running for a week yet again, I find myself doing this. No, it's not that at all. It's just, Hey, do you know what life's happened? And running isn't my priority in life.

So when we think about getting back on the wagon, what do you make it mean about yourself? Now, here's what I think it means about you. I think it just means that you don't have really what I call oak tree habits. The oak tree habits are the habits that you actually do you turn to when life starts lifeing.

So when covid happened, my healthy eating habit was so solid that that's what I did. I ate healthily. There was no chance of me. Eating in a different way, because healthy eating is what I do. It's part of my identity. It's how I do things. It's not like something can come and knock that sideways. Now, that's not the case for everybody, and I don't say this with judgment, just with, Hey, this is what happened.

A lot of people started baking and eating unhealthy things. And that's okay. That's where they are. But there there's a difference. My healthy eating is a solid oak tree habit, and it isn't for everybody. For some people, it's what I call an acorn habit, and that is I'm trying to grow it. I'm trying to grow it, I'm trying to grow it, but if I take my mind off it, It disappears.

And now that's not a solid habit. So what I think it means about people when they're constantly getting back on the wagon is they've just got more work to do to turn it into a solid oak tree habit. And that's okay. It doesn't mean that they're a bad person or not worthy or lacking in discipline. It just means that that's a habit that they don't have.

And that's it. Nothing more. You don't need to build any sort of more in-depth meaning into it. So the last thing I want to talk about in this topic is it is much easier if you aren't constantly falling off and falling on and falling off and falling off on, because it does take more effort to get back on the wagon.

You do have to think about it. So for me, for example, going for a run today, oh my goodness, it felt so difficult. Next week when I go for a run, It's gonna be easier, and if I keep going and do it every single week, it is much easier. The first one is always the difficult, the most, most difficult one, and the second one a little bit less.

It’s Easier to Stay on Track than to Constantly Pick Yourself Up

So the third one is easy, and it's the same with healthy eating. If you're constantly going on off, on off, you're constantly having to. Put energy into thinking about how do I make this work and beating myself up because I didn't make it work. So the question really to ask yourself is to anticipate from this place what, okay, what is gonna get me off track?

How am I going to trip up? Anticipate those obstacles, anticipate yourself falling off and put in. Measures to make this happen. And this is another big piece of habit formation and the way I explain it is like this. And if you've heard me talk about this before, that's great. Perhaps it hasn't really sunk in and you need to hear it again.

Stop Yourself From Falling Off By Anticipating Obstacles

So here's how it goes. You know those little train tracks that kids play with and they get the rails, the wooden rails, and they make a little route for the train to go. That is your thinking brain. That is your brain anticipating what you're gonna do. And I'll give you an example in a minute. So you are laying out your day, your routine with your thinking brain, and then the train that goes around the train track.

That is you. And the idea is you have to lay the train tracks to make it really easy. Anticipating what you are gonna do at three o'clock in the afternoon. Your brain is gonna say, Hey, it's chocolate time. I want to eat chocolate. And so your thinking brain has to think, okay, how can I make it difficult for me to eat chocolate?

Ask Yourself: “How Can I Make it Difficult to Do this Bad Habit?”

How can I make it so that I go and do something else rather than eat chocolate? Now, in that particular instance, you might want to think about, well, why is it What's driving? The desire to eat chocolate, is it just purely geographical? I happen to stop in this garage on the way from way back from home, and I just have the habit of buying chocolate?

Or is there an emotion driving that? I feel tired, I feel unloved. I feel I. Exhausted and you need to do a little bit of detective work to figure out what is going on. But really the question to ask yourself is, how can I make it difficult for me to have to avoid the bad habit? Let me say this the right way around.

How can I make it difficult for me to avoid to do the bad habit? How can I make it difficult for me to eat the chocolate? How can I make it easy for me to do? The good habit. So how can I make it easy for me to do something that isn't eating chocolate? And those two questions are really the questions that are gonna help you move forwards.

Ask Yourself: “How Can I Make it Easier for Myself to Do this Healthy Habit?”

So an example of using your thinking brain. I used to go to swimming training. I don't anymore. I go and swim in the sea the whole time. But I used to go to swimming training. At three 30 in the afternoon. Now in Spain, the kids go back to school. They do morning school, they come back for lunch, and then they do afternoon school.

So I had to walk my kids back to school at two 30, drop them off at three o'clock, and then I would walk down to the swimming pool, which, and I had paid for my. My swimming training, so you can see that there's lots of things going on there to make it really difficult for me to get out of going swimming.

So my kids are always going to go to school, there's no doubt, unless they're unwell, but there's no doubt about them going to school. So that routine is really, really fixed in our day. Yes, I walk the kids to school and then I've paid to go swimming. Now I'm somebody who, if I've paid for something, I want to get every single penny of, of benefit of, you know, advantage from that.

So I've paid for my swimming coaching. I'm gonna go . And do my swimming. So this really just set myself up for success. I didn't ever think about it. I would go swimming on Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. That was just in the routine. Nothing really would shift that part other than an emergency. So it's just me laying out that train track and then, On Tuesday and Thursday my little train is going.

That's what I do Tuesday and Thursday. Another example for me for healthy eating, I go to the Sunday market. We have a Sunday market here in where I live in Spain. Lots and lots of fruit and vegetables. I get up early. It is entrenched in my routine to get up and do that early in the morning. I go early in the morning cause it gets really busy and I want to avoid.

All the tourists, and I want to avoid, I want to get, you know, the best fruit, the nicest fruit, and I want to get all those amazing deals that I get, and it's just easier for me to go at that time. Now, what happens if I don't go at that time? Well, I don't have any food to feed my four kids, and then I don't have any of the s, you know, I have to basically go somewhere else and I hate going to the supermarket.

Set Yourself Up for Success by Anticipating How You’ll Act

So it's much, much more pleasant for me to go to the market than it is to go to the supermarket. And then that sets me up for the week. I've got loads of fruit and vegetables to cook and make healthy meals from, and it's much easier that way. Like, yeah, okay, I still have to go to the market, but it's much, much easier that way than if I don't do that.

So it's just another example of I've set myself up. For success. I go to the market. I set myself up for success, for healthy eating for the rest of the week, and you know, it's really tempting to go to the supermarket and buy all the cakes and the packaged foods and things like that. There's none of that at the market, so I can't buy any of that stuff.

It's not that I'm superwoman and never get tempted by those things. It's that. There isn't anything at the market, so I put myself in a situation where, what can I buy? I can buy fruit and vegetables. I can buy healthy options for me and my family, so it makes it really easy for me to then be able to milk, make healthy foods.

Okay, lovely people getting back on the wagon. There are easier ways of doing it, essentially. Here is my message for you. It is much easier if you stay on the wagon than if you are constantly falling on and falling off now. If you want support with this, this is what I do. I help people stay on the wagon with healthy eating.

So if you're interested in getting support, please feel free to message me and we will have a chat. But the bottom line is don't make it feel like it's something that's wrong with you. It is just part of. Growing your healthy eating and healthy living muscles. So have a fabulous day and look out for the announcement for the free event that is coming up in June.

Take care. Bye-bye.


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