Those of you who’ve been following my blog are aware that I have been enjoying a radically transformed relationship with healthy eating and self-care for several months. Compulsive and emotional eating have given way, in large part, to a renewed passion for cooking and a near obsession with wellness. This led to my enrollment in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s Holistic Health Coaching Program and the birth of Dandelion Health and Wellness. (www.dandelion-coaching.com). Through this new food-venture, I offer my services to support others as they make lasting sustainable changes in their relationships with eating and their bodies. This all sounds great, right? Well, what happens when said aspiring health coach goes on vacation to Mexico with her family, and said vacation turns out super stressful, and said aspiring health coach spends the two weeks day-drinking coronas and margaritas, and goes for the cheesiest item on the menu at every turn despite a constitutional inability to digest cheese?? for 12 straight days?? Well, she begins to question everything. She begins to question her right to pursue this new career. She feels like a fraud.
Once home, I was in for a big surprise! It was EASY to slip back into my healthy behaviors! It felt FANTASTIC to reestablish my habits of self-care. This was a critical turning point for me and I know that it will increase my ability to support my clients through the natural ups and downs of life. Sometimes when establishing new habits, it is valuable to be rigid. It might be true in the beginning (and the beginning can be as long as several months) that we need to be very consistent with ourselves in order to make the new habits permanent and lasting. We’ve all made the dreaded resolution that disappears within days, or even hours–as soon as it becomes challenged (I’ll only eat this or that on special occasions, so now Tuesday is a special occasion). We know what it’s like to throw in the towel on our whole vision after eating a plate of whatever we’ve decided is off-limits this time around. When we make sustainable and lasting change, we build in resilience. This resilience makes it possible for us to ebb and flow. This is the kind of flexibility and realism that I have built into my own life, and therefore will build into my clients’ lives. This flexibility and resilience is what defines healthy lifestyle change and differentiates it from dieting.
I remember when I first realized that eating gluten was contributing significantly to my brain fog and memory problems. I said to my nutritionist, “does this mean that I won’t be able to eat pizza when I go to Italy??!!” Mind you, I had no plans to visit Italy in the foreseeable future, but that was still my first thought. I was projecting way into the future and causing myself undue suffering. She told me to just worry about the present moment. One day at a time. This got me where I needed to be, and this is what I tell my clients!