Lesson One: Program Introduction and Goal Setting
Welcome to the Eat Right for Life online course!
I am so grateful to be able to help you on your health and wellness journey. Please, as you go through this course, keep in mind you are welcome to email me any questions or feedback you may have - as well as ask for additional support. I am here for you. YOU are the reason why I am here!
I want you to understand that my goal through this program is to be your training wheels - in a "teach a man to fish" sort of way. I want you to grow and learn so that you don't have to diet anymore. Just eat and move and be happy! If you're looking for a "quick fix", unfortunately, I don't have one. I tried many myself before developing this program which has helped me lose (and KEEP OFF) over 40 pounds, has helped me to control my insulin-dependent diabetes and have the control I need over my emotions so avoid binges and stress over food.
Three years ago, I started this journey to find the best ways to help others (and myself!) on the path to optimal wellness and it occurred me that there wasn’t just ONE answer. You can eat perfectly every day, exercise 5‐6 days a weeks, have a loving, supportive family and friend group…. and still have horrible self‐esteem and self-appreciation.
You can’t have optimal wellness without all four pieces of your wellness puzzle fitting together – Nutrition, Activity, Mindset and Support. We are going to get into the details for each of the pieces of your wellness puzzle throughout this program. If anyone needs extra time with me to help figure out the right approach or direction to take – we can arrange extra meeting time. I am here to help you figure this out and make the journey as enjoyable and simple as possible.
We start with food ‐ our relationship with food and our understand of the impact our nutrition has on our health, happiness and longevity.
So is this a health, happiness and longevity “diet”?
Nope. Diets have a beginning and an ending.
I named my nutrition program “Eat Right for Life” because I wanted to make sure that it was immediately understood that I don’t preach a “quick fix”. There is no quick fix. There is no “magic pill” – if there was, none of us would be here. It takes work, commitment, dedication, grit, determination….and it takes all of those things…for your whole life.
Thankfully, a lot of the effort can be toned down once you develop the right habits and adopt a healthy lifestyle that feels natural – but life is going to keep happening – the kids get sick, you get sick, you get married, get divorced, get pregnant, take care of an elderly family member, get a promotion, go back to school, and so on, and so on… life keeps happening and you have to keep happening too! Another focus of this program is to teach you how to grow and adapt to changes life throws at you – because what works for you right now, and what works for you at the end of this program – might NOT work for you in 2 years, or in 5 years or in 10 years. Life happens.
Please also keep in mind that there are differences between Nutritional Therapists, Nutritionists, and Registered Dietitians. I am a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and Certified Nutritional Therapist but that does NOT make me equal to someone with a clinical or medical background in nutrition – I worked hard on these certifications to enhance my knowledge and further my continuing education.
A registered dietitian or a nutritionist CAN write prescriptions (for example for Vitamin D supplements or B12 shots, as well as medications to control specific conditions and symptoms). They also CAN diagnose conditions and analyze blood work and lab results. I tell my clients that I am happy to look at those things – but I’ll absolutely never say anything other than “You might want to consider asking your doctor about this…because…”
The Behavior Analysis section in your Eat Right for Life nutrition and lifestyle guide is a good place to start by evaluating the changes you want to make. These changes can be any of the lifestyle habits you want to adapt in order to reach your health and wellness goals.
First list the behaviors you want to change – getting up an hour earlier, daily exercise, balanced meals, a more positive attitude, and so on. Choose one to focus on just to start – you can’t change everything at once, that’s just not manageable. How confident are you that you can actually make and sustain a change to this behavior?
Why do you have this confidence?
How important is this behavior change to you and your wellness journey?
Why is it so important?
Talking yourself through the possible changes, deciding where to start and digging deep to find the WHY and the true reasons behind your desire to change will prepare you for the challenges that may come up along the way. Your WHY should make you cry. The reason has to be beyond something inspiring or motivating – because when the motivation well runs dry – all that’s left is the reason and drive to keep going no matter what gets in your way. It’s determination that is the key to your long‐term success.
The next step is a Costs & Benefits analysis. This will help you justify your WHY.
What are the costs of making the change? What sacrifices do you have to make to find the time to do what you need to do? Is there a monetary commitment involved, like a gym membership or hiring a counselor? What about the cost of NOT following through? For most people who are trying to manage or avoid disease, the steaks are high.
Then consider the BENEFITS of making this change! What are the things in your life that will actually change for the better if you adopt this new behavior? Will you sleep better? Lose weight? Control daily health symptoms? Improve your relationships? Increase athletic performance? Hopefully the benefits outweigh the costs – showing you that this change is worth the investment of your time and energy.
Identify how you will measure success and stay on track. Your goals must have measurable milestones to identify progress and the final achievement. Identify how you will measure success and stay on track.
Personally, I always have a difficult time making sure my goals are realistic and possible for me to reach – given my time constraints, or abilities. My imagination can be more powerful than what is actually possible…making sure your goals are attainable and realistic will play a huge role in how successful you are.
Goals should also be relevant to YOU. One or more of your core values should be reflected in each of your personal goals – otherwise, who are the goals for if you’re not working towards something that’s for YOU?
Similar to ensuring your goals are attainable, they also should be time‐oriented – establish a realistic time frame for achieving your goal.
A few example SMART goal statements are:
In three months, I will lose ten pounds by tracking my daily calories in a food journal, getting 10,000 steps per day and exercising at least 4 days per week.
In two years, I will have all of the rooms in the house repainted, the doors refinished and the light fixtures updated, by finishing on one room every three months.
What are the SMART goals for your health and wellness journey? Write them down.
Map them out with action steps. Make them happen.