I’m 6 weeks on the other side of all of my New Year’s resolutions. Just past the point where, despite best intentions, I’m finding it tough to stick to all that I promised at the first of the year—working out more, going to bed earlier, cleaning out the garage.
But one resolution I have been working hard to keep, is a healthier diet. I confess. I did get a head start. I actually began making some changes in how I was eating in early November. I know that no one in their right mind goes on a diet two weeks before the holidays. But my doctor read me the riot act about my high carb, fast-food diet at my annual physical in late October. So, in early November I started to try to cut out a lot of the carbs, reduced the portion sizes, and limit my diet to a handful of different proteins, vegetables and fruit.
It was not easy. Actually, that’s an understatement. It was an arduous pain in the ass.
It seems my body had become rather fond of Cheetos, super-sized roast beef sandwiches, and curly fries. It wasn’t too happy with meals that consisted of only chicken breast, fresh vegetables, and cantaloupe.
But (being the rule follower that I am) I was determined not to cheat—in spite of the fact that it was a lot of work. It takes time to pack your lunch in the morning…to be thoughtful about the food you keep in your fridge…to make regular stops at the grocery store. It was a whole lot easier (and cheaper) to eat the highly processed, high carb stuff that I used to eat. And on top of that, I really craved a lot of that unhealthy food. But I hung in there. For inspiration, I hung the sign pictured above in our kitchen.
It’s now been 3 months since I started eating healthier. I have lost some weight. But the biggest changes have come in how I feel. It apparently takes a hell of a lot of energy to digest potato chips, hot dogs and Snickers bars. Within a week or so of making changes in what I was eating, I was moving through the afternoon with a clarity and focus that previously had come only on the other side of several cups of strong coffee. The changes in how I feel are substantial.
So much of what I write about in this blog is about following your path and finding your own way. Giving yourself permission to do what you want to do. And that way of thinking is important to those of us in a profession that is obsessed with the structure and order that comes from following the “rules.”
However, there is a sense in which real freedom comes only on the other side of discipline and hard work. If we want to transform some part of our life (how we eat, the way we think, how much we exercise, how well we sleep), it takes effort and it takes real attention. I had some good professional guides helping me on my journey. But in the end, the problems with my diet were mine to fix. Transformation comes on the other side of action.
If nothing changes, then nothing changes.
(Doctors Sherri and Stockton Jacobs have been my guides for this portion of my wellness journey. I call them the Jedi Masters of the nutrition world. Check out their work at HealthE Coaching.)