One of the reasons I founded TooMuchonHerPlate was my frustration at hearing smart, highly capable and creative women telling me that they felt they had to be realistic when it came to setting goals or pursuing their own dreams. They said there just wasn’t time for so much of what was meaningful to them. I’ll never forget someone sighing and saying that she’d take time for herself “in eighteen years when my kids are out of the house.”
Never underestimate hidden hungers. In the next breath, I’d hear how many of these women struggled with overwhelm, how they were putting on weight and overeating, and how frustrated they were with themselves for not being tougher and doing “the right things” when it came to healthy eating and lifestyle.
What so many smart, busy women miss is that, if you want to live a healthy, happy life, one of the very first things you’ll need to do is feed your soul.
Food – the overeaten food, the junk food, the stuff that you eat too much of – that’s just a replacement or a salve for the pieces that aren’t working in your lives or the hidden hungers that aren’t being fed. Short-changing yourself by trying to ignore (or downgrade) your goals or dreams or passions will never serve you. And it contributes to vicious cycles with unhappiness, overeating, and stress.
When it comes to setting your goals, dreaming your dreams, and creating your vision for your life, you should always aim big. Go for what you really want. The thing that lights you up. The version that causes you to burst out in grins and feel bubbly in your stomach. Adjust your timeline if you need to, but always let your goals be technicolor and grand.
Feeling a little anxious or overwhelmed? Don’t forget to breathe. If you are feeling a tinge of overwhelm, it’s not because your dreams are too big. It’s because your expectations for doing are out of balance with your life.
Dream big, and if you need to, give yourself permission to act on these dreams in small, sustainable, do-able ways.
Do not let your expectations of what you “should do” lead you to do nothing.
It happens a lot.
You tell yourself that that small thing won’t have an impact, but the big thing can’t possibly happen right now. So you do nothing.
You tell yourself that walking for ten minutes is wimpy and you should really be doing bootcamp or calling your trainer, or doing cardio and strength five days a week. You either do nothing, or throw yourself into a frenzy for a few weeks until you burn out.
Your good intentions for eating tend to get blown at lunch. Bringing lunch from home is not that big a deal, but you tell yourself that what you really need to do is give up sugar and gluten and alcohol and caffeine. Which makes you tired just thinking about it, so you do nothing.
You are exhausted and sleep deprived and you know it’s contributing to most of the bad health habits you have these days. Instead of going to bed thirty minutes earlier, you tell yourself you are better off to power through until vacation in two weeks.
The truth (which might be kind of funny if you aren’t trapped in it), is that smart, high-performing women can be masters at overwhelming themselves, and in the process of being so ambitious, get nowhere.
Taking great, lovely, nurturing care of yourself doesn’t have to be hard. And it shouldn’t be exhausting. Set your internal GPS on your biggest, juiciest goals, and then give yourself permission to reach them one do-able action at a time. Fill your water glass. Add two hundred steps to your daily goal. Take the Hidden Hungers Quiz and target one area for change. Focus on one meal, one problem area, or one challenging time of day at a time.
Your efforts will multiply themselves, and over time, their impact will broaden. Simple actions will become automatic habits. Results will build on results.
And you will not be overwhelmed, overloaded, and overeating.
Take good care,