I received a couple emails this week that I want to share. The first one is from a woman named Chris who’s struggling with staying on a plan. Here goes:
I’ve been reading your blog, and other paleo blogs, and trying to follow the paleo eating plan. I’m starving and I’m miserable, and I can’t go more than two days without eating cereal, crackers, or whatever is on the conference table at my office. Is this impossible for someone with no willpower like me?
I told Chris I’d answer her in my blog, because this scenario is very, very common. But first, here’s an email from Missy, who’s been working with me for a few months now. Missy is a single working mom; the definition of busy. She’s struggled with food addictions and consistency, but her PERSISTENCE is paying off:
I hit the 10 lb mark on Saturday, already…. without even really thinking about it or concentrating on it other than to not eat grains. my mood and energy keeps slowly getting better and better and i’m feeling very motivated. people are starting to ask me what i’m doing and I go off like a crazy person about eating real whole food. hahaha I usually apologize and give them time to let it sink in and I give them the resources that I’ve found as well as your website and just tell them to inform themselves. be a smart consumer. don’t allow yourself to be misled by big food and big pharma. there’s no magic pill. there’s no starvation diet. one of the best lines in this book so far is “your body can’t tell the difference between jenny craig’s packaged meals and concentration-camp fare.”
I want to shout all this stuff from the rooftops!
I made a new dish over the weekend with spaghetti squash. it was creamy pesto chicken with peas and carrots over spaghetti squash. YUM! I made my boyfriend try it (he stopped at taco bell on the way to his house – I stopped at the grocery store), and he said that he would eat it if he HAD to, but that it tasted funny. haha as we were sitting there watching tv, me satiated and happy, him complaining that his stomach didn’t feel good and that he was starting to get hungry again (already only about an hour after he ate his taco bell), so I offered him some of my “pasta”. he said that he would eat it….. and then I got him to admit that it was good. 😀 I win. he ate a whole bowl!
The book Missy is referring to is one I recommend all the time, The Mood Cure or the Diet Cure, by Julia Ross. She and I are meeting this week to discuss the protocols and science behind it. I’ve said again and again, the amino acid therapy this book uses to re-adjust moods, addictions, anxiety, etc, is incredible, honest.
Back to Chris,.. is eating Real Whole Food possible if you have no willpower? YES!! I used to eat literally a few boxes of ice cream a WEEK, and I could finish off a box of Kashi or Mini Wheats in TWO days. And there-in lies the problem: sugar, flour, and chemicals are incredibly addictive. You have to give them up if you want a healthy body and a healthy weight. Unfortunately, your addicted mind will rebel badly if your addicted body isn’t getting them. What to do? Be patient with yourself. You’re breaking years ( decades??) of bad habits; neural pathways and brain patterns that have been nurtured and sustained over and over again. You’ve got to build healthy habits!
Here’s a little strategy: (1) You’re going to have to change the way you think about food. Do the donuts on the conference table call to you? Then you don’t think of them as sugar/flour/chemical bombs that cause cancer, diabetes, and heart attacks. Want to dive into the bread basket? Then you’re not thinking that the high insulin and blood sugar will give you wrinkles or make you impotent. Think you’ll satisfy your needs with Weight Watchers frozen desserts? Those chemical cancer factories will in NO WAY satisfy your brains desire for ACTUAL NUTRIENTS, and before you know it, the Rebound Binge happens. Educate yourself!! Read my site, read Grain Brain, read Wheat Belly, read Mood Cure. Stop thinking of food in terms of calories; look around. Where has the Calorie Myth gotten us? 70% overweight, and everyone’s sick. That whole line we tell ourselves, “I’ll eat this now and exercise/starve/purge/just eat broccoli.. later” DOESN’T work. Ever. Your body is a Chemistry Set, not a Math Equation.
(2) Set yourself up for success. If you’re hoping that you can keep your trigger foods in the house and ignore them, you’re wrong. No One In Your House needs those foods. Kids DON’T need sugar, flour, or chemicals, it has the same destructive effects on them as it does on you. The average disease takes 20 years to manifest. Just because your kids are slim now doesn’t mean poison food isn’t affecting them, because it is. Toss that excuse out the window.
You MUST start planning your week; ask your self: when can I shop, when can I cook, when can I pack? What can I freeze and use later? Then plan it and write it down on your schedule. It’s a mind set. Go into your office on a full belly, have a great lunch packed, know you’ll be eating Real Whole Food for dinner, and junk food at the meetings won’t call so loudly. Out running around all day? PACK! and not stupid diet food, but Real Whole Foods, and those toxic fast food/gas station restaurants won’t be tempting.
If you’re persistent with your self education, and consistent with your planning and scheduling, change happens. New habits form. The best thing? Willpower, which uses up a lot of energy, is quite draining, and completely limited, isn’t necessary anymore. Do you look at a dirty cigarette on the street and ever have even a tiny desire to put it in your mouth? No, because you think it’s gross. There’s no effort whatsoever involved with that decision. Keep learning, stay determined, and pretty soon, there’s very little effort involved with your food choices. You’ll just choose delicious food that you know your body needs to thrive. You’ll become a Nutrient Seeker to your very core, and then the issue of willpower isn’t even an issue anymore.
Chris, and everyone else struggling out there, please don’t give up on yourself. Real change, Brain Change, takes time. You’ve had a lifetime of hypnotizing by BigPhovernment that CaloriesInCaloriesOut works, and now consciously, you know it doesn’t. It’s your subconscious that needs work. If it’s important to you, then schedule a few minutes every day to fill your brain with the thoughts you want to think. It’s not going to happen with luck; our life is what we make of it. If you need help with your habits and consistency, get in touch with me. I can help you understand your Biology and give you tips for your Psychology, to turn you into a Real Whole Foodie. ***** REMEMBER, TESTOSTERONE LADDEN GUEST POST BY MARK ON APRIL 13, TUNE IN FOR A MAN’S PERSPECTIVE ON BEING HEALTHY AND LEAN. *****