The word that does more harm than good

Four letters. Begins with ‘D’. Ruins lives…metabolisms…mentalities…self trust/respect. In many cases families and childhoods.

The D-word is a death knell for authentic living – it even begins with the word ‘die’. Can you tell what it is yet?

Even if you substitute an alternative turn of phrase , such as eating plan, healthy eating, sensible nutrition, if you still have the underlying mentality of deprivation, it’s still a… One of them.

What’s the alternative? Don’t go on one, instead change your approach to one that is focussed on livingA ‘Live-it’, if you will.

“Now you’re just making up gimmicky words” – apologies, I am, and its really annoying.

But often we need to change our linguistics if we are to change the self-concept and associated cognitions that spring forth like a troll under a bridge when we use certain terms. When I say ‘eating plan’ what’s the first thing that comes into your head? Exactly – just like a well trodden path through a field of long grass, your brain takes the path of least resistance to that familiar place of rules and rigidity. Let’s not go there hey!

5:2 – The quickest way to develop EDNOS

So what would a Live-it feel like then?

Well, as the name suggests, it’s something you live, with every cell of your being. Something that is so quintessentially right for you, that you cannot possibly be confused about what’s helpful and what isn’t – your core values will tell you loud and clear. This is for you, not some expert nutrition paradigm you read about.

Is there a problematic habit that seems to recur in a way that’s detrimental to your sense of wellbeing?

Adopting eating behaviour change is the same as any other positive life change – it takes time to diagnose the problem, work out the antecedents to the situation you keep finding yourself in (individual factors that lead up to the issue) and work out the most realistic way to respond differently to as many of those antecedents as possible – slowly but surely.

This takes a little effort and time and may require the help of a professional with experience in these areas. We are talking about gradual changes to your psychological wellbeing and the way you live your life (not the person in the magazine’s life)!

It’s not even about food choices – most choice is only partially under our control anyway. It’s about the internal and external cues that subconsciously prompt our behaviours. Pavlov needs to stop ringing that bell.

“It’s too daunting, sustainable change is too difficult, I’ll start tomorrow/ find another solution after Christmas…”

A recurring concept in this blog is that of parsimony. This means that you only need remove one playing card for the whole house to come down – a tiny snowball is where it all starts…

Parsimony – select just one card to make the biggest difference

Three questions to get you started:

1. If you had 6 months to do whatever you wanted with no financial ties, and come out the other end a better person, what would you do? Write as much stuff as you want – achievements, places, fun stuff, whatever.

2. What does this tell you about your core values – what matters to you? Who are you?

3. What’s the biggest culprit or trigger in your life that isn’t aligned with these values and makes you feel less than authentic?

Once you have identified the antecedents of a detrimental behavioural habit (often not even food related), choose one small change that you can put into place today that will reduce the likelihood of this trigger occurring. This is highly specific to the individual, so I expect you’ll be doing a lot of lateral thinking on this one.

It has to be something that you don’t need to make a conscious choice over at the time – make sure it can be achieved ‘mindlessly’, as Brian Wansink would say. One example for a family is, if you find yourself heading for the snack cupboard after dinner, remind your little Zen Master to drag you into his/her world of play (it’s a much more fulfilling way to unwind).

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 11.08.02
The classic family board game equivalent of Yoga…and Cam won’t take ‘no’ for an answer

I can’t tell you exactly what will work or what you need – you’re the one who knows, and you’re the one living it.

You’ll find your way with time, then wonder how you ever fell for the D-word.

If you feel that you need further support, guidance or discussion of personal health barriers please comment below or get in touch


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