07 May I know I should but…….. what happens when your good intentions fail?
Guest blog by Merilyn Parker Armitage
B Ed., Advanced Diploma in Naturopathic Nutrition and NLP Master Practitioner and trainer.
This phrase is all too familiar, and one that spoke to me as I decided to eat a lovely piece of fresh bread (I live in Spain and the bread is different here and lovely) for breakfast, but I do try to keep to a non wheat/non dairy diet. So I write this for myself as well as all of my readers.
There are a few mantras that I hear from clients and acquaintances and they come up over and over again. The first set are the actions that we know all too well we should be doing and then comes the but – the barrier or excuse. I find that I have to press a ‘reset button’ and find what it is that is preventing me from the pathway.
So what are the common statements that relate to the food/eating habits that help keep us healthy?
I know I should……
drink more water
take my vitamin supplements every day
chew my food rather than bolt it down quickly
stop eating Mars bars for breakfast
eat more greeens
plan the food for the week in advance
prepare fresh food
do more juicing
prepare more smoothies
buy myself that Nutribullet
take time out for myself
investigate that niggling pain I am feeling in my…..
listen to my body
I’m too busy
I can’t prepare all that fresh food I don’t have the time
I’ve got out of the habit
I haven’t got into the habit
I don’t really want to change
I don’t know how to make the change
I’m scared (of changing which will ….)
I’m frightened of following my own intuition and judgement rather than following the medic’s advice
I’m really rather lazy and can’t be bothered
I don’t think that the effort is worth it
It’s too hard to stick to this
I’m happy as I am
What’s the point, I’ll only stop anyway
So how can we make sure that we stick to things? Perhaps we need to accept that we might well ‘fall off the wagon’, but need to get back on and get on with our good intentions. I do think a lot of us are really hard on ourselves. I know that from time to time I will eat things that I really shouldn’t or go back to bad habits. I do however know the benefits of keeping up the good work and don’t want to undo looking and feeling absolutely fantastic for my age. I have, for example lost about 8 kilos in weight in the last few years keeping to this regime and can keep up an exercise regime of most 21 year olds. I don’t want to lose that.
So how can we ensure that we stick to our resolutions and eat well and healthily all the time (well nearly all the time – I do adhere to the 80/20 rule and allow myself a few moments of relapse!).
1. Think about the pain-gain equation. What is your motivation? What will be the benefit of keeping up this good work? Even if you have a day of bingeing on fried food (and in Spain this is not difficult!), you can get back to the juices, smoothies and greens afterwards. Write down what the benefits have been and will be of going back to your good habits.
2. What is stopping you? Is it temptation? Is it time management? Is it the rest of the family?
3. What are the signs that you might have slipped a bit? I am noticing for example that I have what might feel like a bit of a stye in my eye. That’s a sign of inflammation and that my body is probably reacting to toxins.
4. It is hard swimming upstream – particularly if other people around you are not doing the same. However who has supported or complimented you? How can you manage those people who don’t want to do the same? A lot of my clients find that they need to work with their spouse or children and start to ‘convert’ them if they are to be successful. For me I need to think how I manage in a country where nearly every single eating habit is contrary to those I adhere to as a naturopathic nutritionist. I have just decided to convert a few million people! Well I do have to be somewhat more single minded than I might do in England, but the upsides are that the fruit and vegetables are magnificent and the weather generally warm so eating raw is easier. I do however give myself a bit of slack and allow myself coffee and the occasional drink of wine.
5. Make a list of the two or three good habits that you wish to stick to – for example I will make myself a smoothie each day for the next three days, or I will prepare food next Sunday to put in the freezer for the week.
6. Write down what you are already doing well. For example in my case I have made myself almond milk and do prepare a fresh meal every lunch time.
7. Make these actions a habit by doing them every day for the next 30 days.
8. Celebrate your successes and acknowledge your wins.
9. Finally it is easier if you have a supporter/mentor/coach. I contact my clients regularly to see how they are progressing and what is happening. In my case I have the support from the Nutritional Healing Foundation school community. I also go on a detox now regularly every year or 18 months and this way I get back into the groove again.
10. You know you can do it!