The Emotion You Need to Release to Create Lifelong Healthy Habits

Talk about a woman after our own body-loving hearts: Christa King is the CEO and founder of Fitlandia and 30 Days to Thriving, an online holistic fitness program that focuses on the four cornerstones of fitness: daily movement, nutritious choices, community support, and harnessing the power of your mind. After reaching her highest weight of 192, she hit a wall and was determined to crack her own code for a making a healthier lifestyle change. Leaving a successful 23-year career in hospitality behind, she became a certified hypnotherapist, life coach, and nutritional therapist. By putting these pieces together, she saw what was truly missing in the diet and fitness industry: a holistic approach that starts with strengthening the mind. Her signature Mind Zoning process helps people create new neural pathways in the brain to enable them to make a permanent lifestyle change. And today, we’re happy to have her sharing a post on how to release shame — and why it’s essential when it comes to losing weight and getting healthy.

The Real New Year’s Resolution: Releasing Shame

If you’re anything like me (and most women), by the time you’ve reached your 40s you’ve been a chronic dieter for two-thirds of your life. Possibly you’re on one right now; some form of restriction that has you wondering what happens after the diet? How can I possibly keep this up? While it’s a positive step to want to harness the power of intention for the New Year, the reality is 92 percent of us will fizzle out somewhere between three weeks to three months; leaving us to deal with the shame, guilt and frustration of yet another failed attempt. Holding onto these emotions only holds us into an unhealthy pattern we don’t want. So, let’s get you releasing shame so you can keep moving forward on your fitness journey with success!

First, I want to share the two main reasons we fall back into old patterns to help make this process easier. Then I’ll give you my favorite tips to making a healthy lifestyle stick.

The Reason Diets Fail

1. Physiological reliance on sugar, refined carbs and alcohol. You may have heard some buzz about ensuring you have enough good bacteria in your belly to outweigh the bad guys, but how does this play into failed diets? We know having the good bacteria helps boost immunity, repair tissue in the body, and even aids in absorbing nutrients. But we also must reduce the bad bacteria in the gut because these send messages to the brain to go get its required fuel source: sugar. This is primarily what’s driving your cravings — these bad bugs telling your brain that it’s hungry for sugar, refined carbs and alcohol.

Having that knowledge, you can start to appreciate the physiological cause of deep cravings and why the idea of willpower to overcome them simply doesn’t hold up.

2. Thought patterns in the brain. Okay, so now look back on your life and the eating patterns involved with celebration and sadness alike. For many of us, we had cake at our first birthday (and every year thereafter) or feasts during the holidays giving ourselves permission to overindulge. Maybe your parent gave you a sweet treat to soothe your physical pain, sadness or loneliness. Perhaps, when you’re in a really stressed state you reach for a treat to soothe those uncomfortable feelings.

Over time, our brains developed a thought-pattern or neural pathway that associates celebration and ease of discomfort with foods that hit that pleasure center in the brain so that we can feel safe.

When we eat highly processed foods or foods with loads of added sugars, our brain loves it because it fires up the reward center. In fact, serotonin, the feel-good hormone in our brains, is released when we eat these things. We feel good when we do it.

Think about thi —, when we get stressed, what do we want more than anything? To feel good again! Hence the cravings and a return to addictive cycles.

5 Tips to Release Shame and Create Lifelong Healthy Habits

When we hold onto shame, we hold onto our current state. You simply cannot begin to adopt the healthy lifestyle you desire without first letting go of the shame you’ve held on to regarding your past or present lifestyle. You deserve to have a fresh start.

By simply understanding there is a physiological and mental reason for your cravings, you can let go of the idea that you’re not good enough. In fact, your brain is working perfectly to help you feel protected. So, let that shame go!

The best part of all this … you can create new neural pathways in your brain to support healthy management of stressful times, as well as enjoying festive times without deprivation or overindulgence. Here are my top tips for creating new, healthy habits:

1. Adopt a meditation practice. It doesn’t have to be complex. Even five minutes per day can make a huge impact on your mental well-being. If you have a busy mind, try a guided meditation to support you.

2. Move every day. You don’t have to do an intense, one-hour CrossFit workout to reap the brain benefits of movement. Even a 30-minute brisk walk can have a big impact on generating those feel-good hormones in the brain.

3. Focus on good nutrition. Taking a break from sugar, refined carbs and alcohol, and incorporating more non-starchy vegetables is a fantastic way to starve the bad bacteria and allow the good to flourish, reducing the craving cycle. Find a holistic detox program to support you if the idea of trying this on your own seems daunting.

4. Connect with your tribe. Did you know you’re three times more likely to succeed at reaching and maintain your fitness goals when you’re connecting with others on the same path? Find those deep connections and rely on your tribe to support you when you need it most.

5. Create new, healthy thoughts. Give your brain a surge of positive thoughts to create new thought-patterns that will drive healthy habits. This mental programming is a powerful tool to help you recover from setbacks and keep moving forward on your journey!

Here’s to your health and vitality in the New Year! —Christa King

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