“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?

 

kahi pe nigahein kahi pe nishaana

D is one of the most vivacious people I’ve spoken with! She’s fun, quick-witted and was an antyakshari winner at her club. And besides 100 s of things she does, she likes to make wish lists in her head. Literally hundreds of them! She can’t remember or keep track.

D: Hi G, can you write me a diet chart? I have a long wish list and have a bad memory .. bad combo!

G: Really?! Tell me more about your list ..

D: Matlab, list is in my head. I don’t have a list – list .. I want to learn to cook nicely, I’d like to wear nice clothes – matlab, western and ghagra cholis and all that – my cousin is getting married, it is a very big event, okay! It’s like a double dhamaka – valentine’s day destination wedding and we’re all excited. Then, I’ll be taking cooking classes when we go to Kolkata. My s-i-l went to the same classes and she’s an amazing cook now.

G: So, how does the diet chart help you with any of this, D?

D: See, I need to lose weight to look good in western. And then the ghagra choli also, I can’t wear .. am embarrassed! And if you write some simple things I can eat, I’ll be able to manage fine. By the end of March, I’ll be trained to make at least 15-20 varieties of nice dishes indian and western desserts, both I’ll be learning. With all this, I’m in charge of all the songs and dances for the wedding, too!

G: My dear D, you reminded me of that Kajol and Shah Rukh movie ka sangeet scene .. Kahi pe nigahen kahi pe nishana! It’s like going to the airport to catch your Duronto Express.

Pause.

We often have enough wishes for the next three years. And that too, all in our head! Nothing on paper. And because it is all so nebulous, nothing ever gets seen and because there’s nowhere to see how its overflowing – more is continuously piled into the “list”. And often randomly! Just how in the world would you accommodate a goal for eating healthy and a goal for becoming a master halwai, without one cancelling the effect of the other?

Is your “list” in the head in screaming conflict with the activities you choose to do?  Like these – all examples of kahi pe nigahen kahi pe nishana?

no unnecessary spending and you would have gone visiting the Grand Shopping Festival
not eating sweets for 3 months and you sit watch Desserts Show on Netflix every evening
gotta wear my own wedding sarees to functions and you pick up a designer ghagra at a “deal price”

Let me make it easy for you!

Please write down what goals you have for yourself. At the time of taking action, get in the habit of checking if your all your actions are in alignment with your goals.

If your goal is to eat vegetables for breakfast, don’t go and stock up on breakfast cereal.

If you want to eat no sugar, stop trying out the dessert recipe videos your friend puts on her youtube channel.

If your intention is to order a soup and salad only, don’t read through that damn menu card at the restaurant.

Some of my clients are quick to intervene and say, no G I was only seeing the cake video that’s all!

Arre yaar, every unwanted saree purchase also started with seeing the pictures and asking a harmless “pp” only, no!

Stay on the alert to see if you’re sticking out temptation traps for your own self and undoing your own efforts mindlessly.

And for those of you wanting to take it to the next level, here’s a little homework for you: grab a notebook and pencil and set the timer for 30 minutes, turn off every distraction. Now answer the question – how do you identify yourself. What are your top 5 values? If you need any guidance to go deeper, I have a pdf here that you may download.  Many of us start off the answer with our roles – I am a mother, I am a daughter, sister, CEO and so on. These ones I just mentioned, they sit well with each other overall, though there may be transient periods of conflict.

But, if you identify yourself like so,

baker of cakes
maker of sweets
drinker of drinks
eater of desserts
try-er of every new restaurant in town
an everyday cook of exotic recipes out of vast library of cookbooks and cooking courses

… then, without a doubt working on your identity is the best starting point of getting past the kahi pe nigahen kahi pe nishana muddle. So, get curious … what tags do you have, to how you identify yourself?

What are your values?

If you need any guidance to go any deeper, I have a pdf here that you may download.

 

“G, I want to be happy this year .. that’s my goal for 2019”

Background – A was someone who worked very diligently, lost a lot of weight and maintained it effectively. Now, she’s worried that she’s not “naturally thin” and “happy”.. whatever that means! We tend to put pressure on ourselves to make resolutions and to be happy around this time of the year .. so sharing it with you at an opportune moment. Here we go!

G: Hey, A 🙂 Excited about our session ..! Can we start .. tell me what you need my support with?

A: Hi G! Me too 🙂 basically I want to be happy G. That is my goal really. I don’t know what all type of details you want, I have checked my weight just this morning, got some blood tests also recently .. if you ask specifically I will share.

G: Oh, for this goal we will need other things A. (looking seriously)

A: Yeah, yeah! I will make a list and have it ready for our next call. Tell me ..

G: All we’ll need is a smile. A b-i-g bright cheerful smile!
A: Aww so sweet! That I have now only G 🙂 but I want to be happy in a different way. I have a sister, G. She is just so beautiful, naturally thin .. not like me! Eats whatever she wants – cakes, chips, and nothing bad happens! I did double masters, I work, have good kids .. good husband .. lost weight too – everything is nice. Now I want to be happy.

G: A, did you know this thing Kannada people do .. I am from Karnataka and for Ugadi (new year), we people have a teeny bit of jaggery with a teeny bit of neem flowers, the first thing in the morning after bath. You know why?

A: Oh, I did not know .. tell me?

G: To remind ourselves that life is 50-50, like it is for your sister, for you and for every single one of us. That is the nature of life ..! It is really not about anything else – rich, poor, job or studies – none of that matters. Right?

A: yeah .. but some people eat anything at anytime in any amounts they like no, G?

Pause.

I was reading somewhere how the conversation that you have with your own self is the most important conversation there is!

Just like losing tens of kilos did not lead to happiness, so also eating cupcakes like there was no end, wouldn’t make you happy. It would make you have a stomach upset and throw up, that’s all. Going by other people’s external story gives ZERO clues about what their inner struggles are. Even if this other person happens to be your own sister!

Happiness is a decision you can make. And that’s all there is to it – your situation doesn’t have to change even by a dot for you to be happy!

And specifically to this context, we’re similar to our siblings in some ways and different in some other ways. Even when you have identical twins, genes aren’t entirely identical.

Do you want to be happy in 2019? Then, please give yourself permission to be so and decide that you will be happy no matter what.

This is what you have to do – think happy thoughts!

If you’re sad about your fat thighs – think a grateful thought like “wow, I have thighs!”

If you’re upset about eating junk food – think a gleeful thought like ” wow, I get to eat!”

A friend who lost her beloved dog thought “wow, I was fortunate to have had this dog” and felt grateful even in her grief.

To eat healthy, to go on a diet or to work towards a better body or wanting to improve in some other way, it is not required to criticize yourself and berate yourself.

Healthy eating for it’s own sake, weight loss for weight loss’s sake – that’s it.

Want another option?

You can choose to be whole, see the value in other side of ‘happy’ and allow for it!

You know what this would look like?

It’s like saying –

“hey skin, please hurt if I were to touch something hot – so, I’ll be more careful next time”

“hey eyes, please cry if some dust went in and is bothering you – so’ I’ll remember to protect you better “

“hey mind, please go guilty if I were to do Facebook 5 hours a day – so, I’ll be more mindful how I use time “

While hurt, cry and guilty are f-a-r from happy, they have a purpose and place.

So please, realize while you can be happy no matter what, recognize the usefulness of non-happy and embrace it.

I promise you it’s gonna make 2019 and every year thereafter a very meaningful one for you!

“All was well .. until I went to that function and saw others eating sweets!”

“Hey G, I was eating so nicely according to plan. Until that function happened! It could not be missed and I went. People were eating such delicious sweets anywhere I saw. I lost it and how! Since then it’s all been downhill. Now tell me, how not to eat sweets?!”

This was R’s question couple of months ago. I know this is a very very common one too! I coached R and since then she hasn’t touched anything sugar – it’s about 8 weeks and counting! Read on if you too wanna kick your sugar habit for good.

Some background info: R is a big B fan and she loves cooking and baking. Sugary things were her only weakness.

And here’s the highlight of our coaching session.

G: I know just the mantra for you – ‘zafrani pulao mein cheeni nahi dalte!’

Each time you reach out to eat anything sugary, you must say this mantra aloud. And you will stop eating sugary things after this 🙂

R: Whaaat???

G: Have you watched cheeni kam? Remember big B firing that chef in the kitchen – that fellow who had his wife’s pic stuck over his utensil rack and he’d dip into identical jars of sugar and salt for the cooking and he had sugared Tabu’s order of zafrani pulao .. story line yaad hai?

R: Connection kya hai .. am still puzzled 🙂

G: When you’re baking or cooking something sweet – let’s say while you’re baking a cake – and you’ll see some luscious kashmiri mirch you picked up. Would you toss it in your recipe? It’s luscious! Soooo colorful too – why not??

Of course you will not! You will maintain the integrity of your ingredients to the recipe until the dish is created. Actually even after it is created! You wouldn’t serve that damn cake with some avakkai on the side .. hai ki nahi!

R: smilingly agreeing ..

G: Now imagine you are making a dish – savory dish – and it’s called Slimmer-me. There is NO sugar related ingredient in this dish – EVER!! Anytime you lose track of what you’re making, and start putting sugary things into Slimmer-me, you ARE ruining your dish!

All those other people you saw at the wedding, they’re busy making some other dish. It’s a dish called EatNowCryLater! Did you want that for yourself? Then you must start doing exactly what they’re doing. Your only focus must be on making Slimmer-me! Don’t wreck the process carelessly.

R: Oh my God!! Okay, here after am gonna say to myself ‘zafrani pulao mein cheeni nahi dalte’ each time I feel like planting my face in a sweet.

Some 10 -15 days ago R messaged – “damn it G! I am unable to eat a sweet after I say that mantra. I was at Ry’s parents house (Ry is her American husband) and when I reached for something sweet, Ry hissed at me – you don’t sugar your pilaf, do you! Bhaag gayi sab udhar hi chod ke!!”

You’ll feel angry sometimes and sad at other times as to how unfailingly this damn mantra works! The bottom line is, it works 🙂

Try pushing yourself past it, your sweet will not feel so pleasurable anymore!