This is the time of year when most diet resolutions start to wane a bit. Or maybe they’ve already been derailed!
The common thing for us to do is blame ourselves–or the diet.
Usually we feel “we just didn’t have enough willpower.”
Well, I don’t believe willpower has a thing to do with it!
Let’s face it–we can educate ourselves as to why it’s good to cut sugar and processed foods (or just too much food) from our eating. We can have the best program, the best charts, the best plan…..but if we’re counting on educating ourselves to strengthen our resolve, it won’t work in the long run.
Oh, if your parents had serious health issues at 50 that are directly lifestyle related, that may motivate you. Nothing wrong with that at all!
But it won’t sustain you.
Part of the problem with “willpower” is our choices are not made based solely on the physical needs.
We are three dimensional beings, physical, emotional and spiritual. If the emotional is off balance, it will affect the other two. Same if the spiritual is off balance. We can’t just take out the physical portion, deal with it, and put it back into the whole, then take out the emotional component, etc. We are not “wired” that way! 😉
I have had many times of “trying my hardest”, whether it’s in my spiritual life, getting my emotions under control, or getting my body more healthy. There are many issues that “sabotage” our best efforts.
It’s natural to derive pleasure from food. I believe God designed us that way! But too often we look to food too much to be our comfort, and it becomes a slavedriver keeping us in bondage. Even an overzealous focus on “being healthy” can actually become an “idol”, so to speak. Then what do we do?
Look for a “savior”.
And too often, that “savior” is a diet!
We cannot expect a diet to solve our emotional issues. We sometimes need to take a look at what drives us to eat less-than-optimal choices (or too much of it).
Going the other way and depriving ourselves might make us feel good because we’re in control…controlling our health, our appetite, or our figure….for awhile.
I honestly don’t like the tension of trying to keep control, losing control, feeling controlled!
This past year has been an eye-opening one for me, uncovering many lies I was believing about myself. I had been T-Tapping for 4 years by this point, and our family made a decision to go on the GAPS diet (Gut And Psychology Syndrome) for two of our daughters’ leaky gut syndrome. I was motivated to do it with them, at least for awhile, to be a moral support. My husband decided it would be good for us all to be on it–and that sure made things easier!
GAPS takes out all grains and most starchy vegetables, as well as sugar, to help give the gut lining opportunity to heal. There are other things such as bone-based broths and fermented foods that help, but you can imagine taking out grains, sugar and most starches would be daunting for one person–let alone eleven!
My older daughters were a great help–I did a lot of the research, they did a lot of recipe overhauling and cooking and experimenting, and we were able to do it!
But what amazed me was…I had tried to give up sugar before. And wheat. And too much bread. I could sustain it short term, but not long term.
Why was this time different?
Yes, of course I wanted to help my daughters, but even that was not enough in the past to sustain a change in eating patterns.
The first few weeks were really tough, and even the first 6 weeks weren’t easy, yet we were all committed to do this for 6 months. We had already seen health improvements that excited us, even in that short time!
But even those health improvements won’t be enough to keep us motivated when there are underlying emotional issues.
Now, by upping my good fats, I discovered that even though I thought I was eating enough fats, I really wasn’t! (Loved a blog I found somewhere that said, “If you think you’re eating too much fat, eat about 2 Tbsp more and that should be about right!” LOL!) Your body needs good fats (yes, including saturated fat!) for healthy hormones. I “knew” that (knowledge) from reading Dr. Diana Schwarzbein’s books, and practiced it to some extent–but not enough.
My determination to help my daughters led to me eating more of what my body really needed. Once some of the physical was gaining some equilibrium, the emotional/spiritual part starting surfacing. It was as if by dealing with the physical issue at hand, I was now aware of the other “component” and more ready to deal with it as well.
I was actually amazed to realize how much I had “internalized” lies to where I hardly knew they were there.
Added to this, I was working on becoming a T-Tapp trainer, and between the extra focus on form and the extra challenge of learning to do it, spot it and teach it, yes–even more things surfaced!
I had a choice at this point–look to my “diet savior” or my “chocolate savior”, or deal with the lies.
Which do you suppose brings lasting change?
I chose to focus on the lies and deal with them. That doesn’t mean I didn’t eat any chocolate at all, or have treats (we got pretty good at making GAPS legal yummies!), but I didn’t use them to anesthetize my emotions so they would just be quiet (think of giving your toddler a cookie so you can talk on the phone rather than deal with the character issue presenting itself. Yes, I’ve been guilty! :p ).
But, when you deal with that whiny toddler….eventually they learn that when Mommy needs to make a phone call, they can amuse themselves and not get into trouble.
So it is with dealing with the underlying reasons of why we do what we do. Eventually, you don’t have to have chocolate, or when you crave it (and yes, I still do!), a little bit satisfies you vs. needing the 5 lb. size bag of peanut M&Ms! You can actually enjoy your treat–no guilt, no overdoing it, no snarfing up half the bag without tasting it! (Um…yeah, I’ve been there, too!)
Now, one hesitation I have in sharing this, is that I know some of you will now stress and overanalyze it all to death! Trust me, if you will be willing to deal with the stuff that comes up, even if in the midst of a bag of peanut M&Ms, you will eventually get to the place you can deal with it before you hit the food. I still sometimes struggle, but it is nothing like it used to be!
One last thing–there are times it is truly just an imbalance of nutrients. We are craving something in that food, even though we will get other things that practically cancel it out! (For example, the magnesium in chocolate, but the sugar is not so good!) I have found help in switching to dark chocolate (therefore less sugar), a better brand of chocolate (Endangered Species 72% dark), and then I have a spoonful of nut butter and a spoonful of coconut oil to add protein (stabilizes the blood sugar) and a good fat (helps you be satisfied with one or two squares of the chocolate bar instead of a whole package!). This has weaned me off of wanting candy bars! In fact, when I occasionally (vs. daily!) indulge in a over-the-counter candy bar I used to eat, I end up throwing half of it away and commenting how waxy it is and that it’s not as good as I remembered it! LOL!
So maybe coming up with a more healthy version of your treats or craved foods will help you get what you’re wanting without also getting the less-than-healthy parts!
Guilt, self-condemnation, lashing out (because we’re angry with ourselves), self-righteous about my “willpower”—
–or the ability to forgive myself and move on, not taking it out on others, understanding of others’ weakness and knowing I’ve not arrived but can deal with issues….peace–
Which do I want?
Which yields more lasting results?
It’s time to quit beating ourselves up over our “lack of willpower”, which keeps blinding us to the true, underlying causes!
Oh, and go add 2 Tbsp more good fats to your diet! 😉
You may find the “noise” in your head isn’t so strong.
Then be willing to deal with the issues that come up–don’t keep feeding them a cookie! 😉
You will be happier, and therefore you won’t need a “food savior” that really enslaves.
Because you will be free!
Free to enjoy life, enjoy your food–without guilt and without overindulging!
Next week I will be sharing some of the lies I uncovered, but until then, please read this insightful and wonderful post by my friend, Nanci Smith!
P.S. Don’t forget about the giveaway!