When I see clients, have completed an assessment, and begin to talk about changes they need to consider making in order to maximize weight loss, improve digestion and experience a consciousness raising relationship with food, there are a few “rules” I tell them need to become non-negotiables. I hate to use the word “rules” because that invokes fear and that’s not what this lifestyle change should be about! Not at all! Just bear with me as we flush this out together. Change doesn’t happen overnight and there are always occasions for the rules to be broken but the sooner and more consistently these new food principles are employed, the faster your goals will be achieved and the more dramatic they will be. I will share these rules, or rather these food principles, one by one in future blog posts and please know that I am here to help you tackle each one in reasonable, bite size chunks. Nothing should feel overwhelming as you step onto this path of wellness. And if it does, you’re moving too fast. I have learned that for some clients, asking them to implement several changes at once is too much; too confusing, too urgent and not sustainable. Each of us has our own habits, practices and ways of learning things. Nothing on this journey towards greater health and beauty should make you feel like it’s over your head. Nothing should make you feel anything other than successful and I promise you, with each step you take, with each principle you incorporate, you will experience significant changes, weight loss and reach desired milestones. It can’t NOT happen! And as you trust the process, you will see this to be true.
For many reasons, each of us experiences doubt and has a really tough time trusting that we will reach our goals. I think part of this is due to our desire to GET IT NOW, FEEL IT NOW, LOOK LIKE THAT, NOW. We know what this is all about, and although we’ve heard over and over how important it is to remain patient, we still doubt, we’re still over eager, we still have a tendency to resist the process. Well, there is no delicate way to put it and so I will be blunt: move on from that thinking, once and for all. It doesn’t serve you. Rather, it traps you and sets you up for failure. You’re not going to lose ten pounds in a week (unless you’re in training for a Greco-Roman wrestling match!) and there are really important reasons why you shouldn’t; the most important being that it proves you haven’t “shifted” your thinking about food but rather have forced your body to a place it can’t sustain. In essence, your body wasn’t prepared to be pushed into the deep end and it doesn’t know how to swim.
I used to be a kindergarten teacher at a prestigious private school. These kids were wonderful, all of them, always, in their most unique and adorable ways. They were all curious, bright, sweet, and all had parents highly invested in their well-being. Some, not many, entered my classroom with a terrific ability to read at 5 years of age. Most of them had a moderate knowledge of letters and could read many 3-5 letter words: cat, ball, kite, ring, you get the idea. By the time spring semester parent/teacher conferences rolled around, there were a always a few students who were still working on their reading skills, still absorbing a knack for the written word. Inevitably, during these conferences, the parents of these particular students were always troubled, always concerned about their child’s lingering “inability” to read more, NOW. “Why isn’t he reading better yet?” “I thought she’d be able to spell those words by now.” “What’s the issue? Should I be concerned?” “Is there a problem we should address, NOW, before it’s too late?” Save for the one or two students who did appear to have specific learning challenges, my answer was always compassionate and always the same: “No, everything is FINE.” I gently reminded these particular parents that all of my students reached milestones at different times, “We all learned to walk,” I would tell them. Likely not on the same day or in the same way, but we all got there and we share in that success. We all rolled over, sat up, crawled, pushed, pulled and staggered until we became fluid in the action. There were however, some rules that we had to follow that have helped usher us towards the next step, and without thinking, we rehearse these rules with our children so that they, with ease and fluidity, learn to walk on their own as well. We don’t, for example, teach children to pull themselves up before they show signs of being able to do it on their own. We don’t teach children to walk before they can crawl. Rather, we hold their hands until they again show signs of being ready to let go and take steps on their own, and then, just like that, they’re walking and not looking back! Each step along the way is necessary to achieving the next and so, each one must happen before the next can and this is essential to making the final outcome stick, right? And here’s the really important part: we all fell down! We all will trip up, falter and stumble, but we now have the tools from the last step so well incorporated that we’re able to get back up, refocus and move on!
Consider this first principle of step-by-step incorporation and allow it to absorb into your own thinking as you venture into a new relationship with food. You will feel secure in taking the next steps, whatever they may be for YOU, because you have not pushed yourself beyond your capabilities. Allow each step, each food principle, along the way time enough to become integrated into your being, your thinking about food choices. And know that you will not look back because you will have grown beyond where you once were. Trust yourself, trust the principles here and step-by-step you will reach each milestone and what was, what choices you once made will no longer feel comfortable to you. You will have no where else to go but forward and onto the next step!