Stronger: Body and Mind

Two years ago, I decided I needed a serious lifestyle change. I hadn’t been living the way I wanted and any changes I made just were not working, not consistently.  I had some amazing will power and could make BIG changes I wanted for a day or two, or a week or two. It never lasted.  I became convinced I could not rely on rallying will power.  I needed another approach.

I had a basic goal of feeling better.  I knew that it required moving away from the Standard American (Canadian) Diet and toward a healthy way of eating.  I thought the required lifestyle changes would be too hard.  How could I do this?  I really believed that I couldn’t.   Yet, I had to get to a place where I believed that I could make the change. What I found was even better!

I remembered a specific lesson from a course I facilitated years previously called ‘Thought Patterns for Success’ which was developed by a man names Lou Tice and The Pacific Institute.  It taught about how the mind works and how to use affirmations.  One of the things necessary was to create emotion and thoughts that were powerful enough to cause tension in your current world.  You would see the difference between your current world and the thoughts and emotions you created about how you want to be.  Once this occurs, your behaviour would come in line to the new way, naturally moving away from the current reality.  In other words, behaviours move toward that which we emotionally connect with and that which occupies our thoughts.

What I wanted was nutrition, so what I needed to do was surround myself with nutrition. The best way I knew to do that was to read about it, watch documentaries about it, listen to it, ponder it and research it.  At first I dabbled or puttered – a documentary here, a recipe there, and browsed a blog article or two.  Eventually I came across the real food movement and was so enthralled with learning everything I could.

This is where I did something really effective.  I was reading about how certain foods can do damage and how it could be making me physically and even emotionally unwell. So I listened to my body and how I felt before, during and after a meal. I paid attention to how the food moved through my body and in what form it emerged. Yes, I’m talking poop!  Healthy poops mean a healthy GI tract!

I listened and heard that I felt better when I ate when I was calm. When I protected the concentration level of my stomach acid.  I paid attention to when I was full, when I was hungry and how carbs and fats affected me.  I learned that I felt better  consuming more water in a day and I learned to recognize how it felt when I didn’t drink enough water.

My current reality no longer matched my thoughts and my emotionally-charged desire to eat well and to feel nourished!!!  It happened!  I NEEDED to move in the direction of behaviour change. I enthusiastically wanted to move AWAY from a poor diet and eating habits, choice by choice, meal by meal and day by day.  It wasn’t like I even needed will power to play a role. I found joy in planning, shopping, cooking and eating each meal!  I moved into a new reality – one with nutrition and nourishment and one where I felt better!

I began to feel better physically.  The daily dull, abdominal pain of bloating, gas and inflammation subsided. Weight began to be lost as though it no longer belonged on my body.

The big surprise for me was that I actually had a stronger mindset because of being well-nourished.  I still had to correct some micronutrient deficiencies and hormonal imbalances that occurred from years of eating poorly.  With so much more work to do, I still had joy, drive and more emotional awareness, self-control, discipline and clear thinking!

I began one year ago by changing my life in a manageable way.  It blossomed into something bigger and better than I could have imagined or even wanted. My mindset had changed and my new reality was full of gratitude for the knowledge I had, for the quality food sources I’d searched and found locally and for the opportunity to nourish my body and my mind and to experience the wonderful effects! (Have I used enough exclamation points yet?!)

Here is a quote by a philosopher Charles Eisenstein that relates to what I’m talking about …..

“You can’t really change your diet without changing a lot of other things, too. In a way, the SAD goes along with the Standard American lifestyle. And a lot of people discover this. When you seriously change your diet then a lot else has to change, too… First and foremost your shopping habits and your cooking habits and the way you spend your time. Because when you stop eating convenience foods you have to spend a lot more time in the kitchen, generally speaking. But it goes even beyond that. What about relationships? What about when you go to some bodies house and they offer you Oreos? What about your children? And then even your thoughts and your perceptions want to or have to change somehow in alignment with the diet. And if those things are not ready to change, then the dietary change will be temporary or struggle. Or it won’t really have much of an effect. It’s like life and diet want to be in alignment with each other. And they can only be held apart with a lot of tension. And they’d eventually want to snap back into alignment. But when our lives change in so many ways, it could be through a breakdown of some sort, then often the diet wants to change. Somehow, I don’t think people often go through major dietary shifts when the rest of their life stays the same.”

As he says, I had that breakdown –  feeling physically terrible. As he says, I created that tension from misalignment of my life and my diet. When it snapped back into alignment, it was into a new diet and life. As he says, I discovered more and more life changed needed to be made to maintain the diet-life alignment where I wanted my life to be. Yet surprisingly, the changes were relatively easy because my mind and body were stronger!

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