Dear Dr. Terri K: I am 34 years old and pretty much have accomplished all of my academic goals. However, I am learning that since I got married – it’s been a little over a year – I am really unable to focus on anything. My eating and my exercising have all taken a hit because I haven’t been able to focus. As a result, I’ve gained 15 pounds due to consistent binging. Even my reading is taking a serious hit. I can’t finish any book I start before I see another one that I’d much rather read. Could you please share some things to help get me back on the right track? –ANGELICA
Angelica: First, congratulations on your marriage and for wanting to regain control of your personal life. Here are some thoughts to get back on track:
Examine why your focus is off. Any major change – even a positive one like marriage – can cause stress, which can lead to lack of focus. Take time to examine your specific stressors and why you are binging. Are you unhappy with your new routine? How is the relationship with your husband? Is your work satisfying? When you are about to use food as an emotional crutch, change your pattern – call a friend, practice deep breathing, take a walk, or ask for a hug.
Redefine your Self. Marriage is a big step. Your personal identity is changing. You have added a new role as wife, and must define who you are and what now makes you happy. Take time to write down the qualities and activities you want to retain, and what you want to achieve in your personal life. Be specific. Then, blend in your new partnership goals. If you and your husband haven’t already created a vision/strategic plan for the marriage, now is the time to do it. The more specific you are, the more focused you’ll be.
Go back to the Power Living® Energy Basics. Eat more whole foods. Minimize processed foods. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Make water your drink of choice. Avoid eating 2 to 3 hours before bed. If you must, have low glycemic fruit, such as a banana. Get at least 7.5 hours of uninterrupted sleep (get your sleep in before you have children!).
Recruit a workout partner. It helps to have someone there to motivate you and push you along. If you can coordinate your schedules, your husband is the ideal workout partner. You both have a vested interest in keeping in shape. Working out together promotes good health, as well as provides time to chat informally and could be a boost to your intimate relationship.
Create a quiet zone with no distractions. Create a sacred space where you can sit and meditate. This is the place where you can go to de-compress, write in a journal, practice gentle yoga poses, and/or read.
Get help. Find a personal coach (a friend or professional) to help you to maintain your focus and commitment.
Today, take control of your personal life. Recognize that you have entered a new phase and must determine new rules of engagement. Use the Power of Choice to change your lifestyle. You can make it happen. Start Power Living® Today!
Contributed by Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy, Ph.D., MBA.
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