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Changes for Long-term Health “If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes.” — Andrew Carnegie

A lot of us know that we don’t eat as healthily as we could.

So why don’t we change?

The problem is that it seems a huge leap from current diet to shiny-new-me diet.

Cue in OVERWHELM!!

Firstly, a lot of us do not know where to start.

The information is out there, but there is so much of it.

Some of it seems a little mysterious!! What on earth IS Moringa?

Some of it is confusing. This book says to drink only water, but that article says that tea and coffee count. 

Change requires an investment of time.

Changes for Long-term Health - Paris

Time to take stock of what we are eating now, time to learn new things, time to implement changes.

Oh no!! We don’t have any time!!  In our stressed lives, time seems to evaporate into thin air, so we don’t have time to think about change, let alone put it into practice!!

It’s easier to carry on with what we know. We shop, cook and eat whilst in automatic mode.

Energy is another thing in short supply!! We don’t have any spare to dedicate to change. All our energy is used up in our crazy modern living.

So what do we need to do?

Change needs us to press the PAUSE button, step off the crazy train and review our habits, lifestyle and diet.

POSITIVE CHANGE requires: 

A change in mind-set. We often have to go outside our comfort zones, and re-educate both ourselves and our taste buds. It’s good to empower ourselves by learning new things and integrating them into our lives.

A positive frame of mind. Get curious, get empowered.

The other month I was in a Red Cross shop in Manchester when one of the helpers was asked “How was your lunch?” The reply: “Dreadful …….. I’m on this healthy diet.”  I kept quiet though I was tempted to sing the praises of REAL healthy diets and how delicious they were.  It was as if she was seeing it in black and white instead of the multi-coloured smorgasbord it could be. I suspect that part of the problem was that she was framing it in deprivation, not in curiosity and empowerment.

We need to view a change in diet NOT as deprivation but as an exciting journey discovering new foods, recipes and tastes. For me, eating a high raw, plant-based diet filled with a rainbow of colours each day fills me with a joy that I couldn’t get on my old diet.  Can’t drink dairy? There are lots of yummy nut milks out there. Breakfast toast out of the window? Think delicious smoothies with fresh blueberries…. And so on. There are ALWAYS alternatives, and usually more delicious alternatives at that.

View a change in diet NOT as deprivation but as an exciting journey discovering new foods, recipes and tastes.

View a change in diet NOT as deprivation but as an exciting journey discovering new foods, recipes and tastes.

To be HEART-driven, not just head-driven. You need a strong DESIRE to genuinely change.

Think of the last time you fell in love. Your diary was already chock-a-block, but the heart wanted what the heart wanted and somehow you magically found spare time to fit this new person into your life. That is what I mean by desire. If you REALLY WISH to wave goodbye to your high blood pressure by changing your diet, you can find a way to do it.

A strong WHY. Knowing why you want to change can be a very powerful motivator.

“Me” as a priority.

Your health and sanity depends on it.  It’s easy to get sidetracked by other people’s stuff, which is often simply a way of avoiding your own issues.

TIME and SPACE!! You need breathing space and physical space.

Choose a time when you are more relaxed and have time to yourself.  A weekend of heavy socialising is not conducive to a change. Our social circles often encourage us to stay in status quo.

You need time to think before you buy, prep and eat.

Making physical space may also be needed to accommodate, for example, a water filter or jars of exciting new ingredients or perhaps a bigger fruit basket.

Patience

Avoid the temptation for a quick fix. Going from crappy diet to weekend detox spells disaster.

Taking things one step at a time can really help.

Slowly does it. Think Tortoise rather than Hare.

First of all, make a small change, and make the conscious effort to allow time for it in your life. Get used to it for a week or so.  After about 2 – 3 weeks, you should have it bedded into your normal daily routine, and at that point you can choose the next change on the list. Doing it slowly makes it more manageable and avoids overwhelm, and small successes each 2 – 3 weeks can encourage you to keep going.

Being gentle but firm with yourself

Whether it’s a 10-minute walk or drinking of 2 litres of water that you have introduced into your day, missing one day can be a slippery slope. It’s easy to slip back into old habits. Re-engage with your WHY to help you avoid this. There has to be a certain amount of willpower to help you overcome the less enthusiastic days. If you do have a bad day, however, don’t beat yourself up.  Just acknowledge that it didn’t go quite to plan today and that tomorrow is another chance to get it right.

As little stress as possible.  

If we are stressed, we move from mindful choices into automatic, and start reverting to old habits without thinking. Stress also drains our energy and enthusiasm, two things we need to keep on track. Try to identify areas of stress in your life which could undo your good work, and try to minimise (or even avoid) these stress fests.

Change for Long-term Health

Tip: Include your new habits early in the day

Useful helpers

Setting intentions

Having a dedicated notebook for scribbling down your desired changes can really help. Writing it down can be seen as a commitment to self. Reading it each morning brings it up to the conscious level afresh. Reviewing it at night helps to see progress (but see above point about being gentle with yourself).

Sarah Ban Breathnach puts it beautifully:

“Book-ending your day with reflection first thing in the morning and last thing at night. This quietude will remind you that you can make the choice every morning to live in the world but not be caught up in the frenzy of it, especially a frenzy of your own devising.”

Including your new habits early in the day

With a sparkly new day ahead, you are more likely to have the enthusiasm and energy to do what you intend early on in the day. If you want to include a daily 10-minute exercise routine, it’s best to do it first thing, rather than wait until you get home from a tiring and stressful day at work, when first thoughts turn to a flop in front of the TV and maybe a glass of wine to unwind.

Accountability

What a great motivator! Whether it is a change-buddy or a practitioner, it’s often useful to have someone with whom you can discuss things, share successes or confess!!

I heard it said recently that most people only change when the pain of the problem becomes greater than the pain of the solution. My advice would be to make changes before there is any pain!!    

 Make time and space in your life NOW to explore more health-enhancing and empowered ways of eating.  

Your cells will thank you for it  🙂

 

 

Get curious, get empowered

Get curious, get empowered

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