For almost 2 weeks, I’ve been in training.
Out of my usual environment and subjected to “out of the ordinary” conditions. Wake up everyday, put on the same outfit, sit in a class, complete projects and assignments about topics that do not pertain to my everyday life as a Dietitian.
Change is hard. Keeping your Nutrition Promises when your every day life temporarily changes can be hard too. Before I left for training, I made 2 promises when it came to my health and nutrition goals. One, I would focus on drinking as much water as I could. I knew that my days would be different but I could definitely commit to drinking water every day.
The second would be to exercise as much as possible. This training was promised to be stressful and tough. Exercise is always the best stress reliever for me. Besides, aside from papers and reading, there isn’t much to do on a military post but go to the gym.
Promise #1: Drink water.
We all know why water is important, but it seems like it’s always a struggle to try to work it into our days. In the army planning, we develop what are called Courses of Action in order to figure out what the best approach to an operation would be.
These CoAs are wargamed, or challenged by each of the areas affected by the CoA. If we decide to use the Air Force to fly into a country to attack vs using the Marines to come in by land, we weigh the options of each. One CoA proves to be the best option.
With nutrition goals, it’s not usually that straightforward. We can say “I’m going to keep a water bottle at my desk” or “I’m going to set a reminder on my phone to drink water every hour”, but as soon as we ignore that sparkly bottle sitting directly in our purview or tap “dismiss” on that reminder, the thought of taking a drink quickly fades into the hundreds of things we have to do on that day.
We fail…or did we.
Rarely do we accomplish our goals 100% of the time. There are days when we drink a gallon of water and days where we can barely finish 20 ounces. The fact remains is that if we focus on being consistent with the entire CoA vs the actual promise, we are more likely to develop the habit. Case in point…here’s what I did to work in my water:
-Every day went to the Shoppette (our version of the gas station), picked up my green tea and a big bottle of water and set it right in front of me.
-While I was being tortured by PowerPoint (my instructors were great, but GEEZ!!), I took a couple gulps when I felt myself mentally wandering away from class.
-When we got a break, I peed.
-When we ate lunch, I drank a lot more water with my meal (it helped me not eat as much too).
-When I went to the gym, I took sips just to wet the whistle.
-When I ate dinner, I drank a bit more, but not too much.
-For the rest of the evening, I was able to empty my bladder well enough so when I took my melatonin and went to bed, I wasn’t getting up in the middle of the night peeing. (I need my sleep!)
I’m 3 days away from finishing my training and going home! I can honestly say that focusing on my set-up has helped me keep my promise! Building the habit of drinking water (or any other habit that involves putting good stuff in your body) is all about the set up. I was my OWN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER!!
Making my as unavoidable and as accessible as possible has helped ensure that I’m almost annoyed by looking at a full bottle of water, reminding me of my intent and promise to myself that I’m going to drink it!
B.O.S.S. Move: Create a set-up for success. Change your environment so that drinking more water, eating more veggies, or whatever healthy habit you're looking to build is right in front of your face. It'll serve as your nagging reminder of the nutrition promises you made to yourself...your body will thank you in due time.
For more B.O.S.S. tools and guidance on becoming a Nutrition B.O.S.S., get your copy of Operation Nutrition: From Beginner to B.O.S.S. (Becoming Our Superior Selves!)
Remember...do small things great and great things will happen!