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Paddling Against The Current

Friday, March 15, 2013

Anyone who has ever been in moving water knows that a current is a very difficult thing to fight. Whether you're swimming, in a boat, or losing a toy to the sweep of water, currents are so much stronger than they look. Sometimes they can even look entirely still on the surface, and suck you under all the same.

For many of us, weight control is the same way. We are fighting against a sometimes invisible enemy which is threatening to wash away all our progress, or prevent us from making any in the first place.

Currents come in many forms; from our friends and family who may work against our goals, to society at large which pushes unhealthy options at every turn: commercials and ads, stores, food manufacturers, school lunches, and the dreaded vending machines all push the high-profit, highly processed, and junk foods.

Even our own bodies can work against us, giving us positive emotional feedback for poor choices, craving quick to digest carbs, and hanging on to fat for those 'lean times' that never come these days.

When we are literally in a sea pushing all the unhealthiest possible choices, it's no wonder we often feel as if we are drowning. When making good choices are the hardest choices, weight-related changes can seem almost insurmountable.

That's why it's important to recognize where these 'currents' come from and how to navigate their relentless pull.

The worst can come from our family and friends when they are less than supportive or even actively work against our efforts. From muttered comments to stocking our weakness foods, it can be hardest to fight against those closest to us who *should* be the ones giving us the greatest support.

A good support base can be the difference between success and being sucked under. Those who encourage rather than critique your healthy choices, those whose own weight issues don't make them work against your efforts, exercise buddies, and even emergency phone-call contacts can be the help we need to fight the currents of cravings and self-doubt.

Commercials and ads are another big current. They inundate us at every turn, from TV, to radio, to newspapers and magazines, billboards and even just driving past the stores, it can be difficult to avoid the push to consume the worst the food industry has to offer. It takes conscious effort to tune as much of it out as possible.

Turn off the TV. If you just *have* to watch your favorite shows, try recording them and skipping the commercials. Change radio stations when the commercials come on. Put down the beauty magazines that push unreal images of men and women, often digitally altered to be a person no one could achieve, not even the model! Stick to the outside of the grocery stores where the fresh, whole foods are kept. Make a grocery list and *stick to it* to help avoid impulse buys.

And, of course, ensuring that you have the proper foods on hand, both for meal times and for sudden cravings can mean the difference between achieving success and feeling defeated.

When we start to fuel our bodies with the right nutrition, our bodies will stop working against our efforts. More energy and less cravings means one less current trying to sweep us the wrong direction.

But it's going to take effort. You can't stop rowing or the current will take you backwards. But you can lessen the impact of those currents by how you move through the day, what you allow yourself to be exposed to, and the choices you make in food and the people you surround yourself with.

Learning to recognize the currents working against you can help you avoid them and even work against them instead.

Setting yourself up for success is hard work, but the effort will be worth it! Once you've made living healthy and making the right choices into a daily habit, you'll start getting currents running with you instead of against you, helping you on instead of pulling you back.
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

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