Many of my clients use their birthdays as a marker of weight changes. This habit may help or frustrate the individual. If it helps you, great, if it frustrates you, then find another way to track progress/success. Read on to see how I approach my own birthday.
My birthday is at the end of this week. I generally take this time to reflect on how my year went and how I want my next year to go. I try to focus on as many positive items as possible and frame my “what I am working on” list also in a very positive way.
In terms of my health, I can reflect on the fact that my weight is higher than a year ago and embrace this number. A number on an inanimate object will never dictate my level of happiness, and I hope to convey that message to all those that I counsel as well. I see that I have been incorporating joyful movement on a daily basis, whether it is a walk with my husband, a bike ride with my son, playground time with my daughter, or a run on my own. I am particularly proud that I am role modeling joyful movement to my family, and my seven-year-old son can easily complete a three-mile bike ride with a smile plastered on his sweaty helmet face.
In terms of my nutrition, I can see that I continue to focus on plentiful produce with my favorite comfort foods incorporated on a weekly basis. I tried tracking calories for a brief stint in the Spring when I felt a bit unsettled with pandemic stress eating. The tracking was helpful to get me back to the portions that make me feel satisfied and meet my definition of healthy, but I found the whole process tedious. My ultimate nutrition goal is to trust my body, to honor my hunger and respect my satiety (two core intuitive eating goals).
One area I am hoping to work on is after dinner eating. There is nothing at all wrong with eating after dinner, I just have noticed a new trend this year with my eating not in response to hunger after dinner. I now see that I am eating after dinner in response to a hectic meal time with my kids. Dinner time at my house is loud, messy, and not relaxing. I find myself eating quickly and I am frequently interrupted by either my son needing food cut up for him, my daughter climbing into my lap and eating my food (I actually encourage the eating off of my plate as she is more inclined to eat veggies this way), or a raucous game of tag spilling over everyone’s water cup. I cherish a quiet and relaxed meal where I can actually look at, smell, and savor my food. The after-dinner time when one little girl is sound asleep and one tuckered out not so little boy is watching a show allows me a moment to enjoy my favorite dessert combo of berries and a Chobani flips yogurt (the one with the candy mix-ins). So I am trying to weigh my pleasure in this eating event with the fact that I am just not hungry at this time, I am more neutral, neither hungry nor full. I don’t have a decision yet on how I will proceed, but putting it out there as something I want to work on, the balance, the decision, whatever that may lead to, is making me feel inspired and motivated.
I hope that for every birthday, those that I counsel and reach with this post, you can celebrate your own progress not with weight progress/changes, but with kindness and love for yourself! Here’s to happy and healthy eating for another year!