We plan years, marriages, trips, etc. We try to watch it with arbitrary numbers, letters and symbols for our own Western conscience. But life doesn't happen like that. Life happens in moments. Life happens now, passing in seconds, minutes and hours.
Some people do change. Some people do break their bad habits and pick up better ones. However, this requires an action plan, and more -- it requires taking responsibility for implementing that plan, one step at a time.
The turning point in my life was when Dick Bolles -- strolling past me in a What Color Is Your Parachute? workshop and taking in my sudden delight at being alive -- had this observation: "If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right."
As a physician, I always encourage patients to make lifestyle changes to improve their health. We aren't able to change our genetic makeup, but we should choose what we eat more carefully because the right foods may be able to prevent kidney disease.
Think back to your own life. Are there experiences that stand out as critical turning points for you; incidents you think of as life-changing incidents? Then, taking those incidents, consider what might have been if they didn't happen?
I think most of us can think of an example of something we'd like to "arrive" at. For example, many individuals who want to lose weight have a specific number in mind. And that once they get to that number, their weight loss, and participation in a program, will stop.
It's really hard to see incremental change, both positive and negative. As a result, it's really easy to lose hope on the healthy lifestyle wagon, since it is so difficult to see any instantly measurable difference.
Before putting all of your energy (literally) into your workouts, be sure that you are prepping yourself by eating the foods that provide you with the nutrients your body needs. A successful pairing of exercise and nutrition is not beyond your reach!
With this past weekend being the unofficial start to the holiday season, are you going to write off your diet and exercise routine as a thing of the past, or are you committed to giving your body a chance to see how it feels internally from a light detox?
Let's continue our exploration of cravings. In my last post, we discussed how stress causes us to crave carbs. I also mentioned that sometimes, simply being hungry will do the same since carbs readily convert to glucose.
Do you go off of the wagon when you are hungry and have nothing to eat? Do you realize you're starving and the only food available is something you'd prefer not to eat but "it'll have to do?" These are the times that you are most vulnerable to sabotaging your hard-won efforts.
As you contemplate making a change, I invite you to find one or more people who will wholeheartedly be on your side. Then tell them what you are up to, and ask (out loud!) if they will help you through any rough spots.
If you've begun to make a lifestyle change -- a new diet, exercise routine, stress reduction activity, or anything else -- consider that there will be times when you may need or want to get off your lifestyle wagon.
In my practice I have seen that people generally make lifestyle changes in one of two ways. Neither is right or better. However, it is valuable to know what group you fall into so that you can plot the best course for making changes.
I recently saw a patient who was struggling with her weight. She loved cooking. Every night while making dinner, she drank a bottle of wine. The average bottle of wine has about 750 calories -- that's half to a third of the recommended daily amount for women.
I'm working to better myself as a person and to help others, one day at a time. I'm setting boundaries with other people and discovering spirituality. I'm taking care of myself. These are things that adults do.
A wise octogenarian once said, "Don't be possessed by your possessions." Actually she said it last weekend, when she invited me to her new "stuff shop," a spot she had rented for a month to try to make a dent in the dispersal of her long-collected ephemera.