If you’re highly motivated to improve your health, upgrade your diet and leave behind the mainstream American diet that is taking its toll on your body, I’m here to help you in every way – with encouragement, essential information, recipes, ingredients and more.
You want to change your body, but the real changes happen at a deeper level. George Bernard Shaw said “Those who cannot change their minds, cannot change anything.”
It is important to know that hunger, deprivation, punishment, and even longing are not an inevitable part of adopting a healthier way of eating. It doesn’t have to be difficult – in fact for many people, adopting a healthier lifestyle is exhilarating. And there are strategies for change that can make all the difference.
Start by cleaning out your kitchen, if you haven’t already done so! Toss, give away, and donate every single food and ingredient that could hold you back in any way. Start with a clean slate. If it suits you, have a ceremony with music and incense, bringing your kitchen into your new way of life.
Resolve to feel good about your choices, regardless of what other people say, do or think. This is your life. Change can be challenging to your friends. It can also be inspiring. It doesn’t matter a whit. It’s your life. Remember what Gandhi said: “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.”
At this time of change, it’s important to acknowledge your feelings and honor them. Don’t try to talk yourself out of your feelings or smother them with food. Reframe your feelings instead. Be compassionate toward yourself and validate that it’s “okay” to feel the way you do. Every feeling is valid. Don’t fight it! Rethink it. Suppressing your feelings turns out to be not very helpful for curbing emotional eating, which often interrupts your new eating habits. In other words, telling yourself “just don’t feel that way” is a recipe for trouble. Subjects in a study were either given no instructions, were taught how to suppress their emotions or reappraise them (think about them in a different, more positive way). The “reappraisal” condition was helpful in preventing people from beginning to eat.
It’s helpful to substitute one activity for another. Usurp your old habits. You can relax with tea, instead of food. If you always get hungry at 4:00 pm and eat the equivalent of an extra meal, plan to take a walk with a friend at 3:45. If you have pastry at 11:00, plan on an apple at 10:30. Make your choices the new normal.
Recognize that good habits are addictive, too and cultivate them. The first yoga class you take may be challenging, but after a few weeks, you’ll be making new friends and learning new poses. The first time you try a new recipe, you may hold your breath. By the third time, you’ll whip right through it.
Meditate. Start with five minutes. Sit still, and tune in to your breath. As you sit, your breathe will naturally deepen, your chest will relax and that relaxation will spread to the rest of your body. If you start this habit, you will grow more focused, relaxed and present throughout the day.
Exercise. Take a walk or a run. Take a yoga or Qigong class. Get out on a trail and hike. Move your body. Your appetite will go down, your metabolism will pick up and you will feel great.
Learn to trust your body. It never lies. The modern American diet with its chemicals, deadens us to our bodies and their needs. As you leave that diet behind, you will wake up to your body’s reactions to the foods you eat, the schedule you maintain, the exercise that suits you. You will learn about your energy patterns, sleep requirements and food needs. As you progress, your body will let you know what works best.
Be open to healing. Read the stories of others who allowed food to heal them. Believe that this can happen to you.
Seek support from your community. If your current friends and family are stuck in old habits and cannot support you, look elsewhere. Check in here at PaleoDesserts.com. Read other Paleo Blogs. Seek others in your community who believe they can change and grow and support them. Your community is waiting for you.