Did you know that from a young age I have been fascinated by nutrition? I took my first course in my late twenties and then studied naturopathic nutrition in 2016. I completed the course, did a couple of case studies and one assignment. I got an A+. I’m proud of that.
But I had a few defining moments which made me realise that this was not the life for me.
Again in my twenties, I coached a few friends with their eating. One gave up pop (fizzy drinks) and drank water instead, but could not control the rest of her eating. Another just ate constantly.
I was perplexed, surely they would want to be healthy? I did. It came easy. Feel rubbish, eat better, feel well. I soon discovered that for many people, this eating malarkey was not really about eating; it goes much deeper. Of course, it does…
When I was told I had an overactive thyroid, the doctor and I were perplexed because I felt fine. He was concerned as I had virtually no TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone). Six weeks later, after changing my diet, some energy work and lots of visualisation, I went back and was healed.
Later in 2018, when my spine fractured, I applied the same rules, find the root cause, eat to heal and use all of the other things in my toolkit to get well.
Both of these things required me to change some habits. I am bloody-minded, which helps. I was not going to be a statistic, and take awful drugs, I was going to heal naturally.
The key is – I had something I wanted – desperately – better health and I would stop at nothing to get it.
How often do you have something you want, but find that it is elusive, for some reason?
I had a powerful question – do I love myself enough to…?
The answer is always yes. When you find yourself in any pickle, in any area of your life and you HAVE to change, that is always my first question.
But it’s not always easy.
I can remember the doctor many years ago telling me I had anxiety. It had crept up on me to the point that despite walking my dog 2-3 times a day, I could hardly breathe.
I needed an interrupt—a way of changing some of the things I was doing. But where to start? Which thing needed to change first?
When you get into a slide and eat the first slice of cake, it’s super easy to eat the next and the next, until you feel sick. But yet, you go and buy more cake.
Talking about cake, I make my own cake and biscuits and to stop me scoffing the whole cake, I make it really simple. I cut it up and freeze it. Then I have a daily treat – at 11am; it’s cake and tea time.
I will confess I have two cake overeating saviours – they are called dogs and help me to eat said cake.
But all joking apart, we are very different and how I do things is not how you will and what is important to me, is probably not important to you. So where do we start?
This is my thinking and journaling process.
Change just one habit
Do I love myself enough? This is really a roots question. What is at the root of your habit, in other words, why? The thing about this is you may not know or where your habit started. So, for now, just ask the question and notice any resistance. What else do you notice? Where do you feel it in your body?
The when moment. Notice when you do the thing. My mum is great at catastrophising. Her anxiety is triggered easily and she will not settle until she has taken action. Her when moment is the point when she feels that she has no control.
A when moment is usually something emotional, time, environment or person related. So, for example, when John tells me I am [insert your word], I feel useless, and that’s when I need hot chocolate and the whole cake. I get it, it’s very comforting. I broke that habit and now when something triggers me, I go for a walk with my furry ones and clear my head. No food or emotional eating involved. It’s true…
I’m trying to stop. The try word is pretty awful. Yeah, I’ll try. There’s no real commitment, is there? Just remember this – “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back. What I’m asking here is for you to identify the old habit. That’s all, identify it, but do not use the I am trying to stop x. State the facts.
I’d love to. What would you love instead? I’d love to eat just one slice of healthy cake instead. You would? Really? Dig deep and notice what comes up. Where do you feel it?
Swap in, swap out: Choose one small thing to change. Make it easy for yourself. If it’s cake, I’d swap the shop cake which is full of sugar and make a healthy cake. But before you say it’s too hard. Here’s what I do. I have a basic gluten free banana bread recipe and a basic coconut biscuit recipe. All the wet items go in the blender and then all the dry. It then goes in the oven. It’s so easy and mmmmm hot cake with tea is delish.
Small daily actions. Everything in life is better when be done in smaller chunks or slices. I just find that if I do one thing and another one thing, I am soon on track with my new habit.
Be brave. Make a vow and be committed. Do this thing and stretch yourself just a bit further. You are braver than you will ever know.
Get back on the unicorn. Unicorns are magical creatures and unlike horses can fly. They can take you high above the thing you are struggling with so that you can see it from another perspective. So get back on, reflect and review – what do you learn? Carry on with your new learning.
Make it part of your routine until it becomes a habit. It takes some time before a new behaviour becomes a true habit. Until then, a routine will work to your best advantage. Even before the new behaviour becomes automatic, a routine will help you get it done without having to spend a lot of willpower or relying on daily reminders.
Make that daily walk part of your after dinner routine, or change from grabbing a snack at the vending machine at work at 10:00 in the morning to packing a healthy snack (make cake).
Reflect often. It’s in the reflection that we learn about ourselves. I’ve learned that I am resilient, bloody-minded, a researcher and I like to see patterns, I like to trace the roots of things, understand my why and then apply that learning to me. I’m an experimenter. What happens if I do this. And I am also a just do it, person. Let’s get this done is something I say to myself often and I do just that.
Celebrate everything. Success or what you perceive as failure. Celebrate it. It’s all in the learning. Write these things in the back of your journal and when you feel yuk, read about your triumphs.
Congratulations! Follow the points. Decide to create the new habit, practise the routine until it’s second nature and you’ll be well on your way to forming a new good habit.
Spending a little bit of time creating routines and habits will make your day run a lot smoother. You might just find yourself less stressed or anxious. Which leaves you more time to have some fun.
Do you need support right now? Let’s chat about coaching or perhaps there is a course or program that tickles your fancy. Either way being supported will help you to create the life you desire and bring you to a place where you can say ‘I am happy to be me.’