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Don’t Over-Diet! Focus on Optimal Health!

When you change your eating habits or start a “diet” do you become just as over restrictive as if you were going the other way and over eating? TreeIn other words, do you focus on eating instead of fueling your life?

If you’re fixated on dieting, it’s easy to miss the most important goal: optimal health. Optimal health is not a certain clothing size, weight or even the absence of disease. It is wellness of your body, mind, heart, and spirit. However, the more you focus on caring for your whole self, the easier weight management becomes. Here are some ideas for building and managing optimal health.


  • Schedule a check-up with your doctor. Yearly physicals are important.
  • Do something active to increase your flexibility, stamina, or strength.
  • Take a hot bath or long shower to relax your muscles and enjoy your time to unwind.
  • Give yourself a manicure, pedicure, or facial.
  • Treat yourself to a massage or a new hairstyle.
  • Wear clothes that are attractive, comfortable, and fit your current size and shape. Be proud of who you are and present yourself so.
  • De-clutter your home/office and create a pleasant space that helps you feel happy and calm.
  • Plant a garden and grow fresh vegetables, herbs, or flowers.
  • Spend time in nature. Take a walk, hike the Kettle Moraine, or even sit in the park with a loved one or a pet.


  • Challenge yourself to think positively and powerfully. Instead of immediately assuming the negative about a situation, think objectively and look for the positives.
  • Set goals for yourself.
  • Learn! We are never done educating ourselves. Be it a pottery class or continuing education, learn something new!
  • Challenge your mind with crossword puzzles, games, or philosophical discussions.
  • Be creative; experiment with art, crafts, and hobbies.
  • Listen to music, sing, or play an instrument. Music has been proven to uplift your moods.
  • Try an online class.
  • Participate in stimulating discussion groups. Is there a forum online that is dedicated to an interest of yours? Join it!
  • Travel—or explore areas close to home like museums. Be a tourist in your own city and try something new!


  • Accept yourself NOW, not just when you get to where you want to be.
  • Embrace your emotions. Good and bad… emotions bring a depth to our lives.
  • Spend quality time with your family and friends.
  • Schedule a date night to refocus on love and intimacy in your relationship.
  • Identify your feelings. Write in a journal, email a friend or talk to a counselor. Don’t keep everything bottled inside.
  • Set appropriate boundaries in your relationships. Mother-in-law coming over every day? Set boundaries. Let her know she needs to call first or you need alone time to sort out household errands.
  • Assert yourself to let others know how you feel, what you think, and what you need. Accept that beyond that, you can’t control what other people think, feel, or do.
  • While it’s not possible or even desirable to eliminate stress, practice managing it. Remember, you can either change the situation or change your reaction to it.
  • Practice forgiveness. Staying angry and hurt only serves to drain you of precious energy.
  • Be vulnerable. It is ok to not be perfect. Nobody expects you to be.


  • Practice mindfulness. This means you should be fully present in whatever you’re doing—eating, talking, working, playing—to experience pleasure and meaning. Pay attention to the sunshine in the park, your friend’s conversation, and what your children are doing. Email, work, texting and phone calls can wait.
  • Schedule time for your inner work. Know yourself, your values, and your purpose.
  • See your problems as opportunities for learning and growth.
  • Look for the good in others; it is in there somewhere. Try to give people the benefit of the doubt.
  • Volunteer and give back to your community by helping others.
  • Write down all you are grateful for. Keep a “happy” journal by your bed and write down the things that made you grateful or happy that day.
  • Practice kindness without any expectation of receiving something in return.

Remember, the purpose of eating is to fuel your healthy, balanced, fulfilling life.


Sources; Michelle May, MD


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