By Theresa Bunkers, Registered Nurse for the Heart of New Ulm Project

Do you ever wish you had a “Rewind” button? It’s not uncommon to look back and wish there was a chance to do something differently. Reality is, we can only go forward. It’s never too early and never too late to do something positive about your health.  When circumstances are challenging or throw you off course, consider these ways to shift gears with your thinking and regain your perspective:

·       Demystify “healthy.” A balanced food plan offers variety in your diet rather than being too restrictive. It should improve your chances for success, not recommend drastic changes to your diet and exercise. Experiment until you find what works for you.


·       Find your balance point. The demands of today’s culture have a tendency to pull you out of balance and push you toward being overweight, overworked, stressed out, and in need of caffeine to get you through the day and past the pain. To stand any chance of defeating the obstacles to eating well, exercising and managing stress, you will need to paddle upstream against the current on occasion. This shift relies on you being able see what good health has to offer: the energy and vitality to do the things that are important to you.


·       Stop putting your health on “credit.” You can’t afford not to spend money on health (buying quality food) right now. Pay now or pay later with interest (physical pain, illness and lost abilities). Maybe you could eliminate the cost of soft drinks, vending machine foods, convenience store stops, $4 coffees and eating out frequently.


·       Let go of perfection. “Most of the time” is enough. Follow the 80/20 approach and bring moderation to your life. When you say “yes” to the 80/20 you are saying “yes” to:


  • Living without fear of indulging on special occasions.
  • Letting go of guilt after the occasional indulgence.
  • Having structure that offers guidance, but also flexibility to modifying your plans as your life changes.
  • Managing lapses by keeping them in perspective, learning from them, and moving forward (rather than dwelling on them, Punishing yourself,  and giving up completely).
  • Living a sustainable lifestyle and having a greater chance of sticking with your program.

Find more on these and other tips for shifting your thinking in the book Coach Yourself Thin-- Five Steps to Retrain Your Mind, Reclaim Your Power, and Lose the Weight for Good by Greg Hottinger, MPH, RD, and Michael Scholtz, MA