This has been a difficult couple of weeks for my family and I. If you have been reading this blog, you know I don’t share too much about my personal life normally. My Auntie passed away April 15th, the day before Easter. She had diabetes for years and has been in and out of the hospital since October. She was on dialysis, so her kidneys had already failed. She also desperately needed a liver transplant, but would never live to see her name on a donor list.
By the time she had reached the hospital the last time, not only had her kidneys and liver failed, but she ended up with Sepsis, as well as a respiratory disease which healthy people only survive with a 40% mortality rate. I knew her body may not hold out… When the doctor said she also had fluid in her lungs and her heart rate had dropped so low that they couldn’t do dialysis anymore, things weren’t looking any better.
I thought back to the last time I had seen her in decent health, which was in December. She had just had her 60th birthday. The last thing I remember telling her is, “Auntie, make sure you eat well, no fast food. And please go to your dialysis appointments. Call me if you need a ride. Love you!” She went into the hospital a couple of more times after that but what saddens me most, is that maybe this didn’t have to happen. If she had controlled (or even reversed) the diabetes, would we be planning a funeral right now? I don’t know….
This brought up a very important question for me, something that I see in my clients and even within myself at times.
“Why do we NOT do the things we KNOW we need to do? The things that keep us healthy and well? Why do we fight it so much?”
With many of us who struggle with weight, we find there is a lot of avoidance. Avoiding eating right, avoiding healthy food but overindulging in decadent food, avoiding exercise and the list goes on. Why do we do it? How are we actually benefiting from it? I don’t have the answers to this because I think it is very much an individual response for each person and a person’s reasons are going to vary. However, the common aspect is that we do avoid it, despite the fact that it might be what’s best for us.
Two really prominent things come to mind when I think about this, for myself, from my clients and from hearing others stories and struggles with weight over the last 30 years. First, many of us rebel with food. It may be that we don’t like following the “rules”, maybe we grew up in an environment where we had no control, or we may be simply rebelling against others who try to tell us what or what not to eat and any number of other reasons. Rebellion has many faces and can sometimes disguise itself quite well. Secondly, many of us use food as a means of control. Whether we are in strict control of food and do not allow anything to come across our lips or we are choosing to lose any type of control and eat everything in sight. Control and rebellion are the two foremost reasons that come to me logically when I think about why one might not do what is in their own best interest, health wise.
A close third is…I think that sometimes…. people just don’t care anymore. While this may not seem logical, I think it lies in our emotional side. Maybe they have been struggling for years or decades and are sick of failing or even trying. Failing (or trying) to lose the weight, failing (or trying) to keep the weight off, failing (or trying) to exercise consistently, failing (or trying) to maintain a certain weight, failing or (or trying) to exercise the weight off. Ultimately, it often leads to a negative relationship with our bodies, frustration and anger with ourselves and feeling like we are coming up short when trying to accomplish our goals. After years and years of this, it can be a lot to take. I totally get it!
Now, I wouldn’t be much of a coach if I left things on a sad, hopeless note.
So, realistically, what can we do about this if we find ourselves avoiding what we know we need to do for our health?
Here are my 3 tips to get out of your own way —
1) Change your mindset: Shift your thinking! Instead of saying, “I failed” look at each attempt as an experiment. What went well? What didn’t work? Learn from each attempt and keep getting better. Thomas
Edison didn’t invent electricity on the first try, or even the 5,000th try! If you haven’t reached your 10,000th try (for real), keep going! Believe that you CAN accomplish whatever goal it is you seek and stay positive. The mind is so powerful. As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or your think you can’t, you’re right!”
2) Start small: There is a phrase I love and use often, “Small hinges swing big doors!” Make tiny changes each day that are manageable and you will see a big impact in your overall health. Making too many changes too quickly is a sure fire way to avoid your goals. Making too many big changes too quickly is problematic as well. For example, setting a goal of working out 5 days a week when you haven’t worked out in years is probably not realistic nor manageable. Set a goal to walk for 15 minutes a day, ONE day this week. When you got that, aim for 2 days the following week and build up slowly over time.
3) Eat REAL food: Do supplements work? Some do for some people. Do shakes work? Some do for some people. However, real food (veggies, fruit, lean protein, etc.) is what our bodies are meant to eat. You wouldn’t feed your rabbit gasoline, just like you wouldn’t put carrots in your gas tank. That’s not the proper fuel or nutrition for either. So do your best to minimize the processed and fast foods and replace your beverages with water. Your body will notice a difference and will start responding. When people make this change, they often experience more energy, a happier digestion system, better sleep and so much more!
If you’re ready for a challenge, try ONE thing you can do differently this week to improve your health! What are YOU going to change this week? Write in the comments below and remember, only you have the power to MAKE IT HAPPEN!
Looking for previous posts? Click HERE