How To Avoid Feeling Overwhelmed While Changing Your Diet

Ever heard the term “ignorance is bliss”?

Of course you have.  And by the way… it totally is.  Unfortunately, sometimes what we don’t know that we don’t know, can actually hurt us.  So, although it can leave you in a happy place, it’s best to know what you don’t know.  Ya know?

As your eyes are opened up to all of the changes that an improvement of your health requires, it feels like too much to handle alone.  It feels challenging.  It feels overwhelming.

The funny thing is that as I’m helping people, I sometimes forget how being new to the subject feels.  So… naturally, when I was reminded the hard way this past week (thanks karma!), I thought this would be a great subject to address. 

It Can Happen To Us All!

Anyone can become overwhelmed.  For some of us, it’s the lack of organization or inability to say no and we take on too many tasks alone.  For others, it’s high expectations, and putting too much pressure on ourselves.  It can be the Type A’s need to be in control of everything.  The perfectionist’s need for, well, perfection.  It could even be a mixture of all of the above.  We are all susceptible.

What Got My Attention?

Building this blog has been a true eye opener for me.  When I first began, I blissfully jumped right into writing and sharing things that I thought would be helpful to people.  I didn’t know what I didn’t know (the whole ignorance is bliss thing).  But apparently, you have to have people reading it to do any good, otherwise it’s just you and your online diary.  Alone.  So I started trying to figure out the best way to reach more people.  I did what I always teach others to do…go to Google.  Google knows everything

WOW.  I suddenly realized that there are businesses for services that I’ve never even heard about.  Terms I didn’t know.  Techniques I was unaware of.  And apparently, it’s all important.  So, my eyes were opened to all of the things I wasn’t doing, didn’t know anything about, and needed to change. I became overwhelmed.

What Happens When You Become Overwhelmed?

You freeze.  You stop in your tracks.  You lose direction with where to start and can’t decide what’s most important.  You become anxious and irritable.  It’s easy to let these feelings prevent you from making the changes you need to make or, in my case this week, from getting anything done. 

Never Fear!  There Are Steps You Can Take To Improve!

Well, clearly the first step is to recognize that you’re feeling this way.  When you look up and realize that you’ve stopped moving towards your goal out of confusion, or just plain fear, that’s when you know it’s time to step back, look at where you want to go, and start making a plan.  If you aren’t a good planner, find one to help you!  Planning is my weak spot.  Lucky for me, I married my opposite!  He’s the one I’ll ask for help when I need to break things down into smaller steps or make organized lists.  For you it could be your spouse, your sibling, a friend, or maybe even a mentor.

Here are some tips and tricks to prevent becoming overwhelmed:

  1. Change how you think about it!  If you keep telling yourself that you will never be able to reach your goal or accomplish your tasks, you’ll make it so. You must replace those thoughts with more positive ones, such as “if I break this down into smaller parts, I can do it a little bit at a time.”  Remember the old saying “How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.”  Those old people were so wise.  It’s a lot like a puzzle, when you first dump that pile of strangely shaped pieces all in a mound, it’s intimidating.  But if you separate the edges out and fit them together first, and then work on pieces of similar colors and patterns, the puzzle feels a whole lot more doable!
  2. Change your multitasking mindset.  Multitasking, by definition, means we are trying to do too much at once.  You have to change your expectations that everything has to be completed right now, “or else.” 
  3. Focus on right now.  When you’re consumed with what may or may not happen down the road, you can’t appreciate the here and now.  Start where you can, and improve every day.  (A little lesson I learned from my fitness mentor.)  Before you know it, you’ll look back and be proud of what you’ve accomplished! 
  4. Give up control.  It’s easy to feel you need to do everything by yourself, for a variety of reasons, but this is usually not reasonable.  A good example is this website.  There are literally so many plates that need to be kept spinning that if I try to do it alone, ultimately it will fail.  Being able to ask for help is not a weakness.  Do what you do well, and ask others to help with the things you aren’t so great at.  Maybe for you this will mean help with meal plans, new recipes, or learning a different way to cook.  Obviously it will be different for everyone.  The point here is, don’t try to do everything alone.  Ask for help!
  5. Take action.  Now that you’ve regained your sanity, just start!  Another old saying, “production before perfection” works every time.  Just start somewhere.  You can always improve along the way.  Really in health, it’s always a journey.  I’m still making changes and tweaks trying to improve.  Honestly, I think that’s the way life should be.  We should never settle with mediocre. 

 

I hope some of those tips help you as you embark on your new lifestyle & diet changes!  Just remember, every positive change you make is a step closer to feeling better, bit by bit. 

 

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