Confession Time: Maybe I’m in the mood for confession because the pope is in town, so here’s some good, old fashioned, Catholic confession: most people assume that I am a health nut because I am an acupuncturist, but the truth is when it comes to indulgence – I love to be bad!
I have always liked to live on the edge a little bit. I always drank a little too much, before giving it up, smoked a little too much, before giving it up and was attracted to what I like to call high adrenaline relationships and situations, before I gave them up too. I love pushing the boundaries of what is possible and breaking rules. This sets me up to be a good entrepreneur which requires a certain amount of risk. But this attitude definitely gets in my way when it comes to sticking to a healthy diet because I love junk food! If I could eat anything with no thought to health, I would subsist on french fries and donuts!
Surprising, right? People assume, because I am an acupuncturist, that I drink bone broth and eat only organic green vegetables and banish gluten and sugar to the place of utter darkness where there’s crying and gnashing of teeth. But I really am the kind of person who as soon as you tell me I can’t do something, that’s all I want to do. I am very contrary when it comes to changing my eating. So I had to figure out how can I incorporate good habits into my life without getting discouraged when I inevitably slip into the old rebellious attitudes? I want to share with you these three guidelines that have really helped me create lasting change:
Guideline #1: You have to know yourself really well before you can establish habits that work for you.
This means respect your own personal limits and shortcomings when it comes to creating a plan of good habits. Don’t expect that you will assume a raw vegan diet easily if you are someone who doesn’t have the time required to shop, prep and learn all new recipes to supply you with enough nutrients to get you through the day. Start with where you are.
Guideline #2 Don’t compare yourself to other people.
What is easy for some, may be really hard for you and I am someone who is not naturally attracted to healthful habits. I have to work at it. Begin with one habit at a time. For me, I started with green smoothies in the morning. Then I moved on to keeping the fridge stocked with organic, cooked proteins that were at the ready for lunch. (This involved finding a store that had affordable, organic meat that I could stock in my freezer. But the store HAD to be convenient for my schedule and HAD to have a parking lot. I know! I’m high maintenance, but it’s just that if the store is inconvenient to me – I’m NOT going and I know this. I decided on Costco because the organic meats are a little cheaper and I can stock up once a month or so. And they have a parking lot! Yippee!)
I suggest incorporating one small habit at a time and make it stick until six months down the road you realize, “Wow! I’m really doing this!”
Guideline #3 Work toward being good 80 or 90% of the time.
Please don’t try to be perfect. There’s such a tendency in our culture to do all or nothing. It’s partially because we are exposed to SO much food nowadays that if you don’t have clear boundaries, it can be tough.
BUT… the biggest trend I’ve seen in the past five years or so is people eliminating entire food groups altogether. It’s almost like boundaries are either non-existent when it comes to food, or they’re extremely rigid. I don’t see this happening in places like Europe and Asia. It makes me wonder if it is actually necessary to do that in order to create health.
I can see how that all or nothing mentality is tempting, but for me this rule driven abstinence seems to feed into the controlling aspects of our ego’s system of you’re either good and abstinent or bad and indulgent. It leads to cyclical dieting which can confuse the body in the end and encourages a punishment mentality. I like the 90/10 rule which basically says eat well 90% of the time while allowing yourself to indulge 10% of the time. (And truthfully if I can get to 80%, I’m happy with my progress.)
Dude – healthy eating is not easy in our culture! And for some, there are underlying emotional wounds that are actually driving your cravings, in which case – we really need to talk. Together we can uncover and heal some of the underlying causes of this form of self-neglect.
So if you are finding yourself needing to create change but you could use some help getting started, email me and we can talk about treatment options.
Those of you who have worked closely with me in the Journey of Healing or in our private healing sessions know that I am committed to meeting each patient where they are in creating a healthy routine. It is SO important to take care of your body. P.S. Your mind and soul and emotions will thank you for it.