A Habit That Keeps You From Reaching Your Goals

I’m going to share a little story about myself – all real – to illustrate a point about eating healthy and dieting. More precisely, it’s about one of the top three reasons why women fail to realize their healthy eating and weight loss goals. So, here we go –

For the last three or so years, I’ve gotten curious about botanical fragrances. This interest has taken me to places where I could meet with people that distill essential oils as a hobby, people that blend heavenly perfumes out of foraged plant material, smell essential oils at flower shows and other plant-centered events. It brings me great joy to connect with folks that are primarily into caring for the plants and our earth.

One thing led to another and I was now dabbling with blending my own botanical perfumes for fun, as a hobby. And recently, I found myself wanting to study more with a seasoned fragrance artist (look up Roxanna Villa if it interests you) and take courses. If you know anything about essential oils, they are precious precious plant offerings – which is reflected in their prices. It is not anything that one can simply goof away with! And therefore, I was bogged down with ‘why am I wanting to study this out of blue?? who am I to become some fragrance artist?’

This is exactly the kind of self-doubt that stops so so many women from working on themselves. And I wanted you to know and seefrom my own example – that it happens with every single one of us! What’s worse, these self-deceiving thoughts that hold us back from doing things we’re so meant to do, sound perfectly legit and reasonable. And when done often enough, they become a habit!

Here are some statements that I get to hear from my people all the time –

“Girija, I need to start watching what I eat. I’ve fallen off the track too bad! But things at work are terribly busy for the next 3 months. Am drowning in my project related work”

“G, I’ve been meaning to call you and set an appointment. My aged in-laws are visiting and can’t tell you how occupied I’ve become! And it’s not even like they’re bedridden or anything. But people, visitors .. oh dear, am full!”

“I can’t do such strict things around food ya Girija. Others may do it fine, but I can’t make time for all the effort it takes to eat salads.”

This time I had to navigate my own self out of a similar self-defeating mess. Trust me, it took a while to recognize that about my own thoughts – like I was saying earlier, the thoughts were totally rational. But it all magically cleared up when I asked myself how I’d handle it if one of my clients or friends were in a situation like mine.

Taking the course with my fragrance artist teacher would give me the clarity as to what I’d do with that knowledge and experience .. and not the other way around. It’s always taking action that gives you direction and clarity.

Within minutes after this dawned on me, plans were made and class seat, hotel room and tickets were all booked. I still felt somewhat shaky and anxious but deep in my heart it just felt like I had done the right thing for me.

Whether it is eating healthy, getting back on track with something or taking that class – merely thinking about it and waiting for a feeling of readiness to fall from skies, doesn’t advance you at all – it will only keep you spinning wheels in the mud.

And now that am back from taking the class, I can’t explain how good it all feels. I don’t yet know what am going to do with it all yet but am so relieved to have just done it! In listening to my story, I hope you’re encouraged to take stock and see if there are any banish self-doubting thoughts lingering in there and take action too 🙂

 

 

 

If You Can Hold A-n-y Belief, Why Hold A Useless One??

“Money is the root of all evil!”

“Men don’t find slender women attractive!”

“True love comes only to a lucky few!”

“Only women with zero ambition choose to stay home!”

“Coaching is for lazy people who can’t figure things out on their own!”

“Who the hell goes to a class to learn how to eat? Or how to breathe?!”

There! I’ve shared half a dozen examples of useless beliefs. And I’ve so many more that are tumbling out from my memory. These are very real examples of limiting and useless beliefs that I’ve seen people carry – like they’re absolutely legit. They felt like it was only a dimwit who’d question it.

When does a belief become useless, you may be wondering. Any unexamined belief especially the ones that stand in the way of what you want for yourself is likely a useless belief. If you’re someone that desires to accumulate some money, with a belief such as ‘money is the root of all evil’ you will not be able to hold on to any money for a long enough time – whether you’ve slogged for it or it was generously given to you. So, the belief is a useless one for you to carry, as it is blocking the very thing you desire to have.

Women do the eye roll and give me duh kinda response, when I say this. I know I’ve done the exact same thing with my mentors! But these beliefs aren’t very visible unless you look for them. You’ll get a hint of their being active if only you tune in to the things you speak, and the words you use. And of course, the results you currently have are a dead giveaway.

Think of it, for instance if you ardently believed that that there’s no point trying to lose weight – as you’re going to be chubby anyway since everybody in the family is plus size too – why would your intelligent brain let you waste your precious time and and energy over learning to shed it?? The towering belief that ‘I am just like others in my family’ will lead you to implicitly be and do everything the way your family has always done – cook a certain way, eat in a particular manner and so on. And sadly, you’d have failed at something without even trying.

I’ll leave you with what Dr.Bruce Lipton has said on this topic –  “human beings have a great capacity for sticking to false beliefs with great passion and tenacity .. people need to realize that their thoughts are more primary than their genes, because the environment, which is influenced by our thoughts* controls the genes”

I have a very tough ask of you … ask yourself what thoughts are you stubbornly holding on to and get curious about them. Just tease yourself and ask ‘what if this isn’t true’ and come up with a contrasting argument for your own original argument. Since you’re doing it in the absolute privacy of your mind (or a journal, utmost) you don’t have to worry about losing face – it’s going to be safe. Oh why, it may even save you a ton of pain, who knows!

* A belief is only a thought that you think often.

Keyboard Shortcut Equivalent For Your Brain – When They’re Great And When They Aren’t!

Today, I’d like to draw your attention to another thing that we all do when it comes to our beliefs. No matter what you believe, you can find evidence to prove that _your_ belief is the right one!

This may feel crazy to you, but your brain has this reflexive mechanism built into it such that it is constantly looking out for evidence to make your existing beliefs feel right.

Now, I don’t want to paint a horrible picture of what is one of the most useful features of human brain. This reflexive mechanism I just discussed or cognitive biases as they’re also called, are like keyboard shortcuts on our computers. They simplify routine learning and perception.

But you must guard against these processes becoming your default mechanisms! As if you’re staying loyal to prior belief systems and thoughts just so your brain doesn’t have to “waste energy” looking for new ones – this is self-destructive. And self-deceptive.

Self-deception by way of unexamined faulty thinking is no different than any other buffer that you may be resorting to – food, work, busyness and what have you – to avoid addressing the real issues in plain sight.

Remember, that’s what we discussed last week – your brain has this exact tendency.
See how Warren Buffet nails it when he says this –

“What the human being is best at doing is interpreting all new information so that their prior conclusions remain intact.”

As if this weren’t enough already, your brain has an affinity to any belief that feeds its pleasure seeking and pain avoiding tendencies. And you know what, more often than not you are clueless about any of these tendencies that are always in operation!

By the way, thank you if you’re one of those that wrote in, about your beliefs. I’d like for you to first reflect and then share with me – what steps would you take to avoid default thinking?

Coffee, Movies And More

Hey lovely reader, I want to ask you something.

Raise your hand if you identify yourself as a coffee lover. Like, would it ring true if you said ‘my name is {fill your name}, and I am a lover of all things coffee!’?

When women share this about themselves I usually laugh and say how they remind me of Rambo! Remember his line .. ​​​​​​Rambo is my name, killing is my game?! This sounds kinda like that 🙂
Let’s discuss beliefs this month and see what there’s to learn about them. First of all, what’s a belief you may be wondering. It is just a thought we think a lot. Most frequently-thought thoughts become a belief. So, if you keep thinking a thought like – ‘aha ha! this wonderful aromatic coffee! what would I do without it’ – soon it becomes a belief such as ‘I can’t function without coffee’ or ‘life is not worth it if my days don’t start with a steaming hot cup of filter coffee’
So, here’s the first thing I want to share when it comes to beliefs. Our brain is a big believer of conserving energy. Like, it doesn’t believe in thinking some new thought because it sees it as wasting energy. So, what does it do? It keeps recycling thoughts over and over and over again.
I want you to reflect upon this a little bit. And I’d love it if you head over to comments section and share some of your favorite beliefs – could be about coffee, could be about movies! Or even your belief about beliefs.
I’m eager to read your comments 🙂
g

3 steps to make friends with your warring parts

Read this part first: 1. If your name happens to be used in the post below to name a not-so-good character, do not please let that trouble you. I love everyone of these names and I love my friends who are wonderful bearers of these names. This is not specific to any person known or unknown to me. 2. Wherever you see “(fill in your name)” picture yourself in that context and read it as though the part is speaking of you. 

When your internal warring parts are going BAKBAKBAKBAK without allowing for your loving center to wedge in, that’s when you’d hear “a  part of me doesn’t do even the things I know I want to do” – this is where we had paused.

Today, I’ll share 3 most effective steps to take towards getting your parts to become friends with you again.

But first come in and see if you recognize some of your parts –
Well, hey there sweetie! My name PriyaSugar. I’m  (fill your name)’s favorite, most used part. Know why? I say the sweetest things, darling. I love being loved and my expertise is in saying yes, saying sorry no matter what, keeping people happy, and making sure that  (fill your name) is in everybody’s good books. I’ve taught her that life is lovely when she’s smiling 24 x 7. I’m the reason, she eats whatever friends offer her! My fav friend here is PyariSamajhdaari.
Hi, I am LakshmiMoney – I’m (fill your name)’s part who will speak when it feels like she gets way too bindaas about money. My interest and specialty is her financial well-being. I sound kinda nasty – that’s why she often tunes me out – but am very smart and good at heart. When she ignores me, I’ve learned to poke my neighbor to yell on my behalf, lol! I was the one that protected her from buying stupid things and lending money recklessly.
I’m LakshmiMoney’s neighbor, Gussa. She’s the only one besides PyariSamajhdaari, that I get along with – rest are all effing losers! You must know this – I am the most active part around here – ‘cos am always hissing and cussing!! I like systems and I like things going well. And when they don’t, I call her names! I get close to her ear and say mean things all the time – all with a hope that she may ask me why! But (fill your name) has NOT ONCE figured out that, that’s all I ask of her.
Hi, am PayalGhaayal. Thanks to PriyaSugar and few others here, I am the most injured, most hurt, most teary-eyed, sad part here. Gussa protects me, she doesn’t like it when I cry. And when  PyariSamajhdaari is on duty she lovingly cares for me. I dunno why, but (fill your name) has elected PriyaSugar and ShellyBully to boss over us all! PriyaSugar is toxic, Bully is mean.
My dear (fill your name), a big hug to you before we go any further. As you may have realized, your parts want you to listen to them more. They like *you* giving them attention more than them getting attention from each other. They want and like to be led by you. And, there are many more parts, I just interviewed with only a few of them here.
Whenever you sense that one of your parts are not listening, it means that you need to listen to them first. Therefore #1 step for you to take is, to say – “hmm .. tell me more!” So, learn to get curious with yourself and your parts everyday – don’t let them go bonkers at all. And your parts feel very heard when you write down whatever you hear them saying.
The #2 step you’ve got to take is this – make PyariSamajhdaari the boss of all parts. She’s clearly the best representation of you and every part looks up to her and likes her. And after all, she is Pyari and Samajhdaari all at once, isn’t it! She doesn’t make anybody wrong for how they are, she’s accepting of each one of them exactly for how they are. And that is a huge asset.
#3rd step is very big my friend – you must treat PyariSamajhdaari with a great reverence. Like if you think of yourself as the leading lady of your magnum opus – she’s your director. Hers must be the voice that you act upon. Not PriyaSugar’s, not Gussa’s and not PayalGhaayal’s. You must not put any of these parts in the decision making position in your internal office – after all they report to Pyari and it’s insulting if you ignored her!
Now may I say something, (fill your name)? Insights without action are NO good!  Please go and get yourself a notebook and pencil. Switch off every any possible distraction, and speak with your parts. And like a good girl, take down notes as they speak to you.
Love,
g

 

“Hey G, dunno why but a part of me doesn’t do even the things I know _I want_ to do”.

“I know am supposed to eat veggies. I even know that *I want* to do it – and I’ve always felt great whenever I’ve gotten into the habit of it for weeks on end. But then, I go into these phases when I become indifferent and bored and disinterested – for no good reason, and get myself out of habit. I can’t tell you just how frustrated I feel!”

My dear friend, if you’ve ever felt anything like this before, here’s a virtual hi-5! This is not just with eating vegetables and eating healthy, it can happen with anything!

I can remember feeling bored while writing an exam – let me just scribble something and be done with it, kinda feeling. I’ve had women tell me they just how bored they feel about dressing up – even when they have a closet full of beautiful sarees they have lovingly picked up, but they find themselves wearing same set of 4-5 sarees for no good reason. A lady recently shared with me how she has it in her to prep well for an exam she’s taking towards earning a promotion at work. But she finds herself so indifferent to her ambition and she observes herself wasting time commenting “lol” and “omg” on random facebook posts.

Let me share with you all that I’ve learnt from working on my own stuff and from listening to my own coaches about these situations. You want bad news first or good news?? Let me get the “bad news” out of the way first – this kinda situation never really goes away completely. It is a life long thing, only that, what kinda stuff you’re indifferent to keeps changing, that’s all!

And the good news is that, it is figureoutable. I’ll explain to you one of the most effectively used models in therapy to deal with a situation like this. All of us have multiple “parts” living inside of us that take responsibility for different roles. There’s a coach part, doer part, protector part and so on. Central to all these parts is what some people refer to as “the loving center”. It is the most sensible, loving, caring part of you that is also the best manager of all the parts. When this part is leading the other parts, you feel like you’re in flow – it is the best feeling of when you are functioning at your highest potential.

But sometimes, the doer part and the coach part get in logger heads with each other! Your loving center sees this going on, tries to intervene but fails to wedge in and sort things out. But the warring parts can be very loud and the loving center feels defeated. That’s when it will complain to you, saying that exact sentence you often come and share with me – “a part of me doesn’t do even the things I know I want to do”.

There’s more to say on this but I’ll pause here for a reason today and continue next week.

But now, please hit reply and tell me – if it were your situation, how would you get the warring parts to quiet down so that you can wedge in and establish order?

 

Creating Recipes For Play

The amount of self-judgment I’ve seen with myself in just writing these play-themed posts of this month has been a humbling experience. Initially I observed thoughts like “what nonsense are you wasting your time talking about” and just looked on with amusement about my own resistance to having fun. Since I bring this up with clients, and they’ve often felt bashful about not knowing what to do with themselves by way of play, I wanted to put myself to test. Damn, it _is_ hard!

So, in this post I’m going to break it down for you as to what counts as play. Let’s get started –

Playing is a self-directed activity. It must be a voluntary – not repetitive – thing you do. It must be a fun pleasurable activity for it’s own sake, not because you want to out-do someone or want some result for yourself at the end. Which means, two people can be involved in the same activity – say going to the gym or going for a run. The one doing for the sheer fun of it is playing while the other who’s doing it as a weight management step is not. So, your attitude matters more than the activity itself.

But then, what exact activity do you indulge in? This is something you must customize to your own personality and tastes. You’d not enjoy the same kinda activity as everyone and you may even have a preference about playing with self or play activity with others involved. Look back to your childhood for clues and just pick up whatever you’re most drawn to.

The biggest challenge is around making it happen – so, schedule it in your calendar. And when the time comes, just get started. It may seem very forced and artificial initially – it sure felt that way for me. And truth be told, it still feels like that way and it’s okay. I find myself chilling down as I keep at it.

What I’ve seen me help is this – the activity must be planned out. As in, if I have to come up with some fun idea at the spur of the moment, it doesn’t go all that well. Contrary to what you may think, planning ahead doesn’t spoil the surprise element – it only feeds the excitement and anticipation of what is to come.

To give you a glimpse into what my play sessions looked like this month – I’ve had two so far that went very well and am eagerly looking forward to the next one. The first one was a laugh out loud session with myself, seeing some hilarious snippets of sitcoms of yesteryear. Second one was particularly amazing when I went out for a drive and walk around town with my husband to see the cherry blossoms. For this upcoming one, I’ve picked up some lovely colorful origami paper for just a couple of dollars and borrowed an origami book from the library to enjoy some quiet paper folding time with myself, music playing in the background.

What’s going on in your head? I’d love for you to share some possible ideas that you’re likely to explore in the coming days.

Are You Playing Enough?

Sitting down to discus food regimens with women is a definite part of the work I do. By this point, the client and I would have interacted a fair bit and the relationship would be established between us. Because of the trust cultivated, we both bring our very vulnerable selves to the table. And the when reality of food regimen is about to become active in their routine, it almost brings them tears. It is as if the fun, creative, playful lightness that one associated with food and leisure is leaving the shores of one’s life. Forever. Never to come back again! What exactly are we fearing losing in this context? Is it really food? I’d like to talk about this.

One dominion factor comes to mind. Bollywood. Just how ubiquitous this bollywood stuff has become! From the clothes we wear and the songs we sing to the songs we sing to our kids and the dance moves they’re taught, the infinite number of programs that are created to entertain these babies, grannies and everybody in between – including Lord Ganesha himself, at our pandals – everything is something to do with bollywood. If not that, it’s still one of several ‘other-wood’-s!

Like bollywood and ‘other-wood’ related activities that seem take up time-space, food has come to define leisure to us humans. We reach for food to relax us, de-stress us, to uplift us, it is a main component of bonding experiences and more. Oh and, not to mention the dozens of food related programs and entire channels dedicated to everything food. A leading chocolate brand surveyed some years ago and declared with great pride, that a whopping 52% women preferred chocolate over sex. Without a doubt, we’re allowing food to the point of crowding out every other leisure activity we enjoyed as adults one time. So, in the context of discussing food regimen, it is no surprise that it feels so threatening. Why food is not suited for leisure or as play component is an important question you must ask yourself. But first let’s see why play is important to us as humans.

Author Diane Ackerman writes, ” for humans, play is a refuge from ordinary life, a sanctuary of the mind, where one is exempt from life’s customs, methods, and decrees.” Playing is the most instinctive, play for play’s sake kinda activity there is. Playing is beyond just fun, and definitely beyond gender and age. Scholars have not arrived at any one specific definition of play but they’ve agreed upon this – play is any solo or social activity that has elements of anticipation, surprise, pleasure, understanding, strength and poise. Given just how play-deprived that modern societies are becoming, there are Play Health experts nowadays. In a hospital and/or clinical setting, these specialists design appropriate play activities for clients. Like how we’ve come to painfully discover, opposite of play is NOT work. It’s often some manifestation of depression, suicidal tendencies and addictive behavior towards the screen or cyber-loafing as it’s called, food and substance addiction, and so on. And play is believed to be the serious missing factor that could heal these people.

There are many benefits to play and some of them are, developing
– a handle over one’s emotions
– perseverance
– resilience
– problem solving skills
– boost in creativity

At some point, for a variety of reasons ( sometimes related to play pathology like isolation, bullying etc) we take to substituting play with food. Given that food also shares some of the elements of play, such as pleasure and surprise – we resort to using food. This is alarming, to say the least. Food and eating as an activity that is steeped in purpose. But play is entirely for it’s own sake, food doesn’t lend itself to this type of treatment. But given that it is pleasurable is often misleading as a play activity.

We’ll continue this discussion in the coming posts. But for now, here’s what I’d like you to do – share below some of the leisure activities you’ve enjoyed so far in this month. If by any chance, were these activities involving food, say that too.

The Language Of Self-love

In the previous post I wrote, it was all about self-love, love being a verb and the actions of  love to express to yourself. Today, let’s focus on the language of self-love. This is by far the most important and useful thing you’ll ever learn in this process.

Kindness. That’s the language. You know, we’re taught from very early in life to say please and sorry. To others. But nobody teaches us to pay any attention to how we speak with ourselves. And by default we model how other adults speak to us and to themselves. It is invariably very self-critical, harsh and judgmental in nature. To give you an example, earlier I was listening to clients who said something like this –

” I’m so stupid G, that I left the house without eating. And without any food in my bag too! Sigh.”

” I came home and greedily ate up three samosas .. am shamelessly saying it also. Whatever. Who cares! I’m just going to be like this only I think!”

” It was my fault to have gone to lunch. They must be thinking what nakras she does. If I had just shut up and eaten my own lunch everything would have been fine!” 

(To give you some context, she had gone for lunch with her friends and ordered for a salad. They all called her Ms. Health Queen and made fun of her choices. She so wanted to fit in with her group, so she ate Fried Prawns and other things they ordered. Came home and felt miserable about herself. )

If you had to translate these sentences to this language I’m proposing – Kindness, they’d look like this –

“I left the house without eating and without carrying any food.”

Cut out the judgmental, unkind parts, they are not only useless but harmful too. No good ever comes of it. Also notice the voice and tone of your self-talk. And make sure it’s not sarcastic or condescending. It’s enough to just state them plainly, whether it is to yourself or to someone.

” I came home and ate three samosas. I feel helpless that I’m not changing my ways”

There’s one thing women misunderstand – they think being aware and refusing to give in to temptations is harsh. And calling themselves stupid and bashing themselves for non-compliance somehow counts as an okay thing to do. It is exactly the other way round!  Anything that feels like a verbal version of the 🙄 , know that there’s a kinder version. Seek that softer, gentler set of words that express the same thing.

“I’d like to remember that eating my own lunch is the best.”

In life, there are favorable outcomes and lessons. That’s it. Reframing your thinking to see faults as lessons is a hallmark of high achievers. Also, it is doesn’t matter what others think of you – when you run those mental horror movies about what or how others think of you, it will pull you down. And it is not a loving thing to do at all.

Like with learning any language, this one needs practice, too. Being around other people who speak the language fluently will give you a chance to improve your own skills with  speaking it confidently.

If Love Is A Verb … How Do You Express It To Yourself?

Many many great people have echoed the sentiment of how every relationship is a mirror of one relationship, the one we have with ourselves. In extension of this standpoint, our responsibility is towards learning to clearly express love in this all important relationship. This is of great importance, not just because of upcoming Valentine’s Day, it is owing to the fact that matters relating to wellness and self-care are a function of this.

In my one on one coaching sessions with women, I ask them how they’d express love or appreciation for themselves. They’ll say how they’ll buy themselves a gift – anything ranging from a book to saree to experience of some kind – like a spa treatment, eating out, travel etc. This is all okay, I’m not going to find fault with any of these choices. That said, it doesn’t convey love deeply enough to the person inside you.  These are more like toppings on an ice cream! What good are the toppings _without_ the ice cream?

What does self-love look and feel like?

It involves being in your own company showing a deep interest for all things about your inner person – her feelings, her needs, her fears, her shortcomings. Hand-holding her through her challenges patiently and lovingly. Not criticizing her or feeling exasperated for her errors and fall-downs. Learning about what she likes and dislikes and allowing for them by way of learning to speak up for her. Seeing her as deserving of good things in life. Joining hands with her to bring her dreams to fruition. This will very likely mean that you’ll have to let go of your leanings for comfort. You’ll have to develop an ease for doing newer and more complex tasks. And herein lies self-love – seeing your inner person and her desires as worthy of being pursued.

If you did not carve out time and space for this type of engagement with yourself, no amount of shopping for handbags, eating chocolates, drinking beer or buying sarees will satisfy your inner muse. This fact feels very awkward to deal with, for a lot of women – they say, they’re better giving/expressing love to others but with themselves, this is the only way they know to do it they say. Or they kinda feel lost.

So, here is a very personal post in that sense – am sharing notes from how I express love to my own inner muse. The promises I’ve made to myself, likes and dislikes that I’ve come to accept as important to me, rules that she’d like me to live by are all part of this. The only reason I share is, to motivate you to compile and curate your own list. And keep in mind, love is a verb. It is a promise of what you’ll do as an expression of self-love. So, write it like you mean it  – using action words, as if it is a to-do list.

with self:

  1. say it exactly like it is – ‘say the truth to yourself’ can sometimes feel heavy and hard. It can even make you defensive. where as ‘say it like it is’ is simple and easy to follow.
  2. comfort myself when I feel down – I’ve collected some of my fav songs, speeches, discourses and activity prompts so that I don’t have to think at that time.
  3. find myself opportunities to do what I do well.
  4. feel your feelings – pretending like they aren’t there, or like they don’t matter, or suppressing them is going to make them show up at odd times – better to just feel them as they come.
  5. own your power – it comes with immense responsibility and you can learn to be responsible. But girl, own your power! There’s no greatness in being a doormat.
  6. evaluate criticism wisely, Girija – don’t do things so as to stay in somebody’s good books – somebody else’s good books is not a good reference point.
  7. do the right thing – don’t overthink this – all day long, you live with you, so do what’s right by your standards.
  8. see clearly – see things for what they are, not what you’d like them to be.

with others:

  1. meet friends in person whenever you can – but don’t let this bother you when it’s not possible. Virtual meeting and connecting over phone is not all that bad either.
  2. share a hearty laugh whenever you can – I’ve learnt to honor my goofy side.
  3. learn to ask for and receive help gracefully.
  4. state your position on things – this will effectively sieve out those that may not vibe well with you.
  5. release the need to like and go along with everyone and for everyone to like you and go along with you.
  6. get-together with people can be over a walk or painting or a shared activity of some other kind.
  7. gift books – you don’t have to loan your books. As a younger person I’d love for a friend to read the books I read and it would pain me when they would lick their finger o turn pages, ugh!
  8. stop – do not compare your inner story with somebody else’s outer story

food related:

  1.  remember – if hunger is not my problem, then food is not my solution.
  2.  eat just enough.
  3. cook with love.
  4. stop – never ever force me to finish the food on the plate.
  5. don’t accept food if am not up for it.
  6. don’t accept enjlu or joota – I had an aversion for this even as a child and I’d sneak out at the time of cake cutting and birthday parties given how adults indiscriminately offered ten people a bite out from a same damn piece of cake.
  7. eat with joy, always.
  8. eat only plants! Period.

What A Peeing Dog And Its Wise Owner Taught Me About Self-Love

Do you feel you’re selfish sometimes? Have you been thought of as selfish anytime?

I was moping around all day, all of previous evening because someone very close to me at work had pointed out to me that I was selfish. It was someone’s birthday and they had offered me a piece (it was more like a slab) of cake with 2 inch-high pink and yellow icing.

First of all, I for one cannot stand even a millimeter of icing, let alone a pink and yellow mile-high icing! And secondly, when somebody brings a HUGE serving of something to eat, it throws me in a panic. Because, I am a terribly slow eater and usually find it very hard to throw away food! It’s comparatively easier for me not ever accept it. And I had just eaten a good lunch – my kind, and did not have room for anything. So, I wished her well and passed the cake.

And with that, three of my “friends” ganged up to say how that was very selfish on my part to refuse the cake, causing the birthday girl to feel “upset”. Whoa!! Well, that was a big blow to me given how in my head I thought of myself as more compassionate and giving and generous. Even more than Mother Teresa!

So, all evening I sat and sulked around until when my neighbor, lady J walked in with her little dog Snoop. The dog was a new addition to her family and I had taken a liking to the pup. J was already a great friend. So, I decided to check with J if I was selfish to say no to birthday cake. “Yes …! ” she said, looking me straight in the eye. Whaaat?? Just then Snoop started scratching at the door. A wet door mat was the last thing I wanted and so I hurriedly got up to let Snoop go out to relieve himself. And J continued ” … so is peeing!!” The way she said it … we both LAUGHED. In one simple sentence everything was put in perspective.

So ladies, always remember – many life sustaining processes are selfish – breathing, peeing, putting the O2 mask on yourself first, going to bed when your loved one wants to watch telly, choosing to eat healthy, saying no to your colleague’s birthday cake or even mom’s greasy plate of pakoras – many more! And that’s no reason to NOT do them.

So if you asked me today, if I’m selfish or if someone has thought of me as selfish – it’s yes and yes in my case. It keeps me alive and sane. When I speak of being selfish, I do not mean it in a petty way that I trample over other people’s rights. I mean it in a way that I honor my needs and my own judgement. I mean it in a way that I find it worthwhile to use my time and life to pursue what matters to me.

If you’re someone who’s looking to eat healthy, get enough sleep on a daily basis and exercise regularly, this is how it begins with this: you must d-e-e-p-l-y believe that learning and behaving in our own interest is desirable. Even if this is sometimes in conflict with what somebody else wants for you, you must believe that you have no obligation to live up to their expectations. Not only is self-interest desirable, it’s the only way to be.

So, if your friend says you’re being selfish about refusing to have a beer with her, remember to say to yourself – “Yes! So is peeing.” I’ll promise, it’ll put everything in perspective.

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Love – Theme For February Posts

Love. That’s the theme for this month of Feb, for all the blog posts here at Health Initiatives.

Yes, I’m still into being a food coach and I still enjoy helping Indian women around the world with weight loss and cravings.

So what’s love gotta do with it, did you say? One word A to your Q is – everything. Yes, e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.

We’re going to discuss about the only love relationship that there really is – the one you have with yourself. Since every other love relationship is only a reflection of this, we’ll discuss some facets of self-love. And I’m going to especially show you how, eating healthy and making the right food choices – in the face of your cravings – is a direct statement of love that you have for yourself.

You’ll see these posts posted here and on the health-initiatives.me website, on every Wednesday or Thursday-depending upon where in the world you are. You’ll get a lot of value in terms of precious actionable steps to take to deal with your food cravings, eat healthy and lose weight – so be sure to visit here or the website to read and engage with the posts.

However, if you want even MORE VALUE, you must absolutely sign up for my newsletter.

http://health-initiatives.me/febthemepost

And here’s why:

At the end of every month I do a summary post EXCLUSIVELY for women who are signed up for my email newsletters. They learn the strategies to cope with cravings, get book recommendations, tips and tricks to stay on a healthy eating plan, and so much more that I don’t share anywhere else. It’s COMPLETELY FOR FREE too. There’s no pressure for you to stay signed if you don’t find it useful – I’d also only want readers that are excited to read and apply the stuff I teach – so you can opt out anytime you want.

The Feb month blog is going to be slightly different in the sense, there will be no ‘Ask G’ type of posts! I’ll turn tables on myself and give you a peek into ‘How G learnt’ kinda situations 😁

Truth be said, there’s no place better than a hospital setting to learn some self-love. For years and years, I was in situations where I’d have 9-12 hour work days that gave us no time to eat! And by the time we got ourselves to the cafeteria samosas, ketchup and chai for the North Indian palate vada, chutney and coffee for the Southies was all there would be available! 🤔?? Yes, hospital cafeterias do see this as food fit for their staff and do sell it to anyone that wants to eat there. Including patients! And if I dared to leave the patients waiting and sneak out to eat, there was bakery 10 minutes away that had veggie puff (a savory pastry) and cakes!

Remember to sign up for the newsletter below, if you want the exclusive content!
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