Was eating better one of your New Year’s resolutions? It’s five weeks later. How are you doing? Do you need a little boost or a complete turn around? I’ll give you one.
Stop eating processed food. Go on, now, stop it!
“But how?” you ask?
Not will power. Not self-discipline. But facts. Stories. Emotions. Your religion. Those are the tools you’ll need to finally make the long-term commitment to eat better almost every day. Stop trying to use will power and discipline.
You are made of elements. And, for the most part, the only way to get the required elements into your body so your heart, lungs, brain, blood vessels, immune system, and kidneys can work right is through that 2 inch by 1 inch opening sitting under your nose and above your chin.
The elements you need, put together in the combinations you need them in, have been stripped out of processed foods. When you look at a box or a box of crackers, a loaf of squishy white bread, or a bag of crunchy chips, I want you to see the package as EMPTY! You’re paying for EMPTY! There’s nothing in there!
Stripped. Gone. Absent. Not there. Missing.
And you eat them. And then, guess what? Your body lacks certain elements.
Then, pick up an orange and see vitamin C, potassium, folate, and thiamine.
Pick up broccoli and see vitamin K1, vitamin C, chromium, vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, and manganese.
Pick up some sunflower seeds and see selenium, copper, B vitamins, and magnesium.
Guess what is a part of your body: your brain. Anyone noticing an increase in mental illness around us? I am. The brain likes to have enough magnesium, enough potassium, and enough carbons put together just the right way. Eat real, whole food.
So you don’t eat right? Not pulling in those elements? Eating EMPTY? Oh, you’re lucky. It’s okay! The body does have some storage capabilities to pull from to get your organs the elements they need. Like… your bones! The body can pull from elements stored in the bones for its needs, leaving you with weak, crumbly bones.
Real, whole foods are rich in the elements you need, put together in the way you need them. They’re FULL! Choose real, whole foods for almost all of your food intake!
Use facts to keep you motivated to make good choices every bite and shopping selection.
Since I was a wee kid, I have always made up stories to make boring or unpalatable situations more fun and endurable! Fourth grade sucked, so I made up stories that I was in college going to classes. My medical school general surgery rotation sucked. So when I had to be in the operating room, I pretended I was the best retractor holder that ever existed, and the renowned surgeon wouldn’t do his surgeries without me. (It must have worked. I never got yelled at in surgery! Those general surgeons love to yell!)
Make up stories to make eating healthy and losing weight fun! Bring back your creative side, even for this!
Here could be a story:
Once upon a time, there was an overweight man. He was embarrassed by his weight and his eating. But he couldn’t stop. He was on four medicines for cholesterol, blood pressure, and diabetes. One day, he decided he was going to go on a diet for a year. He loved life. He loved people. He wanted to look good again. He had at least 100 pounds to lose. He joined the YMCA and the people greeted him every day there, making him feel special. He walked on the treadmill. He rode the bike. When he rode the bike, he knew he was Lance Armstrong in disguise. When he rode that bike, he saw the crowds all around, and he heard his phone ringing with financial endorsements rolling in. After about 6 months, he was still losing weight! He was excited when Weight Watchers (WW) called him to ask him to be a spokesperson, and he saw himself speaking at seminars and on TV, sharing his enthusiasm for life and fresh, whole food. He lost that weight!
But, Terri, isn’t that a lie? Isn’t that lying to yourself? No. That’s fun. That’s imagination. That’s perseverance. That’s letting oneself dream. That’s what we did as kids, when nobody could stop us!
Make up your own story. Don’t latch on to this story as truth. The truth of your life and the story that comes along with your healthy living will unfold on its own. Don’t force a story. I’m just asking you to use your imagination to make this new lifestyle fun!
Love is a good emotion here. Who do you love? Who loves you? If you were physically fit all your life, what could you do with the people you love?
Do you know people you love dearly, like maybe your parents, whose health decisions (or lack thereof) are affecting their lives? Are their poor health decisions affecting your life? How does that make you feel when they won’t change their health for you?
I love my kids, and I can’t wait to teach their kids all about volleyball. I can’t wait to hike with them in Europe and South America. (Notice the story!!!) I love my husband, and I want to be able to take care of him when I’m old. I want us to be little old people together. I love these kids and this man! I have to eat, not for now, but for 40 years from now!
Use anger to motivate you. Use hope to motivate you. But notice your emotions, and latch on to the ones that keep you excited to keep eating whole, real food!
If you’re not religious. Skip on. For me (who is spiritual), I had to realize that God cared about my physical body and what I fueled it with. I had to realize God is a jealous God, and that means He didn’t like me resting with a headache that came from eating too much junk. He didn’t like my constant fatigue from eating processed foods and not eating mostly real, whole foods. I don’t think He’s happy with our obesity problem. He loves us too much. He’s jealous for our thoughts, and too many of us (me included) put food before our bodies, which were made by and for God, to serve God and those He loves through us.
If you aren’t really going to eat real, whole foods and change, then get it out of your mind. If you’re not really going to do it, then put it down. Keeping it dangling in front of yourself while you go sit down, knowing you’re not really going to try, is only making you feel disgusting inside. That’s no good. I don’t want that for anyone.
But if you’re ready, then I hope that some of the things I’ve learned to keep me motivated through the years will help you.
If you want it, it’ll take lots of different ways to stay on track. Self-discipline and willpower are simply words for all the different ways that a motivated person figures out how to pull themselves out of (or stay away from) a rut.
Make it fun.