The Power Of Choice

 
A nurse in palliative care took notes and recorded the regrets of dying people in the last twelve weeks of their lives. After doing this for many many years with that many people, she observed how there was a pattern emerging in what they had shared with her. She put it all in a book titled The Top Five Regrets Of The Dying, which has been translated in 29 languages and read by millions around the world. The nurse’s name and the author of the book is Bronnie Ware. 
 
One of the top five regrets expressed by them was – ‘I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me’. 
 
These words have a familiar ring to them for me when it comes to matters of food. Since I turned vegan close to ten years ago, I have interacted with a lot of people who have made a similar choice. And almost every single one of them wished – including myself – we had the courage to adopt a food choice that was true to who we are at heart, earlier in life. 
 
Now, pleeeease understand, I’m not imposing my choices of anything – let alone food – on anyone here. But I will say, wake up and realize that you do have a choice. You get to choose what you want to put in your mouth in the name of food. Claim your power.
 
Food you put in your body influences you at a very deep level. And if you are going to operate from a place of habit, at least make sure it’s serving you.
 
You need to take control of not only what you will eat, but also of how it is grown, who cooks it and how it is cooked. The world over, we as women have been the primary cooks within the family unit. Did we see it as our power? Until very recently we did, and this is fast eroding.
We are now outsourcing cooking at many levels – home-cooking to cooks, increased dependency on restaurants, food vendors and other food service providers, and ultimately to giant food corporations who serve us everything from our highly processed breakfast cereals to gooey chocolaty or sugary bed time drinks and everything in between – cookies, chips and whatnot.
 
In a book titled Cooked, the author Michael Pollan argues how reclaiming the control over our cooking is the single biggest thing one can do to rebuild our health – not just our own but of the family and the community at large. 
 
Even more fascinating is the insight as to how the Food Industry got its foot inside the kitchen door. Most women – this is true world over – held on to their responsibility of cooking for family the longest. We were happy to hand over the cleaning chores much more readily. But cooking was and still is perceived meditative and comforting. 
 
But when our negotiating for better labor division kinda got louder and with the eavesdropping food industry lurking by, it saw an opportunity. And acted upon it without wasting any time. And it “uses” feminism and women’s liberation to sell us convenience. What it actually is, is hyper-stimulating highly processed foods.
 
To recognize this, you need to develop awareness. And call upon the wisdom to pause. Wisdom to observe. And then you get to stand in your power and eat by choice.  

The Wisdom Of Observation

 

 
One of the most difficult things is pausing. When it comes to matters about  food, pausing feels near impossible. This is owing to the fact that we all feel very strong sense of anxiety, even just thinking of it. And even when the pause is only a matter of seconds. Somehow, the conditioning is such that state of not DO-ing or just BE-ing brings feelings of guilt and inadequate-ness upon us.
 
But the invitation to pause comes with an irresistible promise. See what Victor Frankl says about it – “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.”
 
This kinda seals the deal right? We must learn to pause. And this means you must learn to observe the anxiety that shows up when you stop any DO-ing. 
 
What then is the wisdom in observing?
 
In learning to observe, you develop a subject-object relationship to that which you are observing.
 
What does this mean?
 
Let’s say, you get an urge to eat a piece of chocolate. And very wisely, you pause. Now, you’re observing feelings of sadness come up within you. This makes you the observer, a subject. And the feeling of sadness is what you’re seeing – which is the object.
 
This is the first step to distance yourself from the feeling. Because really, you are not your feelings or your thoughts. You have the power over what you think which gives you the power over what you feel. 
 
Reflect upon this for a moment.
 
Now, when you go a step further and tweak your language,
 
you’d NO LONGER SAY – ‘I am sad’ 
 
instead you WOULD SAY – ‘I am thinking sad thoughts’ 
 
This means, you choose to think happy thoughts. And this would very likely change the way you are feeling.
 
Dr. Joe Dispenza says, “Ninety-five percent of who you are by the time you’re 35 years old is a set of memorized behaviors, skills, emotional reactions, beliefs, perceptions, and attitudes that functions like a subconscious computer program”
 
This leads us to conclude how important it is to develop observation as a skill. Because it is the act of observing which will help you hold it together through what may be very brief but common unpleasant aftermath of pausing.

The Wisdom Of Pause

 
 
Let me start this post with an offering of a poem by Martha Postlewaite. It’s titled Clearing.
 
Clearing
 
Do not try to save
the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
Instead, create
a clearing
in the dense forest
of your life
and wait there
patiently,
until the song
that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself
to this world
so worth of rescue.
 
Create a clearing in the dense forest of your life … this is exactly what I mean when I say – pause. There is wisdom to pausing.
 
Have you seen how an artist steps back from time to time and takes in all he has done, before proceeding?
 
This act of taking a step back is a learned skill and a deliberate practice. It is part of the painting process itself.
 
Just like how gaps between the two musical notes is part of the composition itself. 
 
Are you wondering  to yourself  ‘what’s all _this_ got to do with food?’
 
Well, pausing – whether to check if your urge to eat something is worth acting upon, if yes – how much of it, when, is your hunger satiated, to appreciate, to say thanks for the food – all these lie within the realm of pause.
 
If you’re going to stick the food in your mouth instantly upon sighting it, smelling it or desiring it – without pausing, you’re robbing yourself of an opportunity to evaluate it.
 
When you observe someone who relishes their food, or eat in alignment with their goals, or values eating to support life as opposed to living to eat – they would have invariably mastered the skill of pausing.
 
A pause gives you those precious few moments to reflect upon your choices and actions, helping you to navigate the course better. In a way this is to say, each time you pause, it puts you in power.
 
If you have ever felt how you feel powerless around food, get into the habit of pausing from time to time. 
 
Reflect upon your longing to eat that cookie, check if you really want to.
 
Gaze at the food in front of you. Do you like how it looks? 
 
Stop after every few spoonfuls or mouthfuls. Do you want to eat some more? Do you need to eat some more?
 
Reconnect with yourself.
 
Pause.
 
 
Pause. Reflect upon the longing to eat.
 
Pause. Appreciate the food in front of you.
 
Pause. Relish the feel of food and its taste in your mouth.
 
Pause. Check to see if you’re feeling full.
 
Pause. Give thanks for the food you just ate.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

What Nobody Ever Explained To You About Protein

Let me tell you a story of some guests we had, when I was growing up in India. The man and his wife were both medical doctors and they were visiting, with their two little children. And they lived abroad. Ours was a vegetarian household, by which I mean dairy was the only animal sourced food we made at home. If and when we wanted a treat, it was pastries and that sorta thing. And we (including my orthodox grandparents) pretended that cakes and ice creams did not contain anything more than just dairy 😉
 
Well, coming back to the story – this visiting family would hurriedly go shopping to buy a mid-sized box of protein powder to last their stay – to add to the milk the kids would drink religiously three times a day. Three big glassfuls. Those kids were such willing milk-drinkers. So strange! And their mom would talk endlessly about all she did to meet their protein needs. Breaking the family “rules” to cook eggs at home, buying the super expensive protein-biscuits for the snacks and whatnot. For the little girl in me, this got registered in my head as protein was a very precious part of food. And that we had to make effort to get plenty of it, if we cared for our health. And those that did not do it, were somehow less than! Either they were poor and or did not know enough.
Ouch.
How it hurts to admit even if it is to ourselves that we cannot afford something or that we may not be knowledgeable, no?! 
 
Then fast forward to about 15 years in time …
 
Now, I was a dietitian. I worked at a hospital. I belonged with a team of medical doctors. And I engaged with clients as part of work. And I was privy to literally thousands of people and their stories about food. It was just so insightful to me how, we – you, myself and all of us for that matter – come to place the value on different foods. 
 
It is not all about the science and/or nutrition. Often, it has very little to do with nutritive value. It is so much about what our food choices say about us, to the world. 
 
It spoke volumes when a client said, ‘we make our ganji with water .. and softly add, not milk’. Or when someone said, ‘ We eat egg-bhurji or paneer-bhurji with rotis, we need not make do – you know!’ One can never discuss foods in isolation with feelings tied to them. 
 
It sounds so good to say, you made a paneer-something to go with the rotis.
 
Or that, Maharaj served you some egg whites with brown bread.
 
Or how you bought your ailing elderly in-laws some protein powder to add to the milk.
 
We all do things that make us feel safe. That make us look good to others. And it is okay! But, only so long as you don’t attach a justification – especially the ones that don’t make sense. And go one step even further and believe it to be a fact! Nooo, don’t do that.
 
If you like paneer, eat it because you like it. And say so! It needs no further props.
 
DON’T say or believe that you need to add paneer or egg whites or a special protein powder to your regular food as if there’s a shortage of protein in what you eat.
 
Here’s what  nobody ever explained to you about protein:
 
Protein is the widely and abundantly found in nature. 
 
If you are eating enough to satiate your hunger, you are extremely likely meeting all your protein needs. 
 
 
    

What Nobody Tells You About Emotional Eating

Are you someone or do you know someone who has a rather stressed relationship with food? Are you someone or do you know someone that uses food to deal with stressful situations? And not even realize it??

This could have happened to most of us as a one off thing – as children, during growing up years do we recollect a time when we were given food to comfort us? Or as young adults we would have resorted to some kinda ‘comfort food’ to comfort ourselves at some point to tide over a stressful situation. But what if it becomes a regular thing with us?

Given the amount of confusion there is around food nowadays, there are many many women who are perpetually stressed over what to eat.

Oh, this fruit? Now?? It causes me cold.

Oh, that vegetable causes me gas.

No, I can’t be eating this rice – of all things – and ruin my sleep with guilt.

And they go back to square #1 – just WHAT do I eat?

As if this were not enough, there are twice as many more that eat – because they are stressed.

Oh, diet be damned, I am feeling LOW today. One small samosa cannot hurt.

Oh it’s my hard-earned bonus day, my dear! What’s a celebration without some chocolate!

After few minutes of feeling great about the treat, they feel guilty aka ‘stressed’ and reach for that chocolate all over again.

Aparna is a phenomenally brilliant finance professional. She is a marathon runner and long distance cyclist. A thriver in every sense of the word. The kind of diligence it all takes to balance grueling workouts with her high-power position at work and run a home, is not for the ordinary. She wanted to examine her behavior around matters of food and intuitively joined the program.

There have been many many success stories that came from the simple act of keeping a Food Journal. Probably hers is the most remarkable of them all. Every step was a revelation of sorts for her.

The results in this case were more qualitative by nature. She had completely gotten a handle over her emotional eating, even by the second week of the program. No more asking google about ‘how to eat healthy’ or checking for ‘what happens if I ate blah blah and blah’. She’s able to take sound decisions around food suit her sporty lifestyle. Often stops by to say how empowered she feels about herself. And how she’s respectful of the food and her body.

Aparna speaks for me when she says, Mind Your Gap is a fantastic program for someone who is mature and ready to put in the work. That’s true, this is not for people who desire overnight results MINUS any self-reflection or size zero body stats!

What’s your  takeaway from this story?

May your #1 lesson be this: Emotional eating in today’s world is not so much about your emotional brokenness and/or emotional highs and lows – it’s about the environment.

We all live in a world where our food environment has been rigged. Unfortunately for us, while it serves some vested interests, it works entirely against us. And within this environment, it doesn’t take a lot of stress to make emotional eaters out of the best of us!  Let me illustrate what I mean by this. When a food vendor grates an extra block of cheese onto your sandwich (or even a dosa these days!) it helps him and his shop gain popularity – with your up votes – for his tasty food. How is it serving you or your health beyond those few minutes of pleasure while eating that? Hmm .. highly questionable. On the other hand, are you drawn to his shop and sandwich with that generous cheese topping again and again? Very likely! What if every vendor and food maker in the world uses food as a bait to get your business? Do you see the point? Will power doesn’t take you anywhere given vice-like grip this food wields over you.

When you finally internalize this fact, you’ll take notice of what you put in your mouth. Until then, you are loyally serving somebody’s else’s interest and not even realizing how dearly it is costing you.

Fact: Neither of us has a compulsion to sharing this story with the world. That said, Aparna and I both realize the power of stories like these, upon which the takeaways stand. It’s her utter purity of intention to reach someone that may be in a similar situation which inspires me to let you in on some highlights of this journey.

 

Request: Please remember, people mentioned in this story are real people in flesh and blood. With a beating heart and feelings. Be gentle with us. Questions and comments are fine so long as they are respectful.

 

Disclaimer: This is no promise of results. Outcomes depend on any number of factors and each person and situation is unique.

Mind Your Gap Master Your Plate is coming up. Want in?

The Giant Confusion Around Food And Eating PLUS How To Solve It

 

 

Mrinalini wanted to be a good example to her little children. She wanted to be able to take informed decisions around food without having to go back to school to study Nutrition. She had tried to exercise away her extra pounds gained over the years and she had started to wonder about the missing piece of the puzzle as she had not gotten anywhere with that approach.

Low Carb is the way to go. Absolutely!

Noooo .. ABSOLUTELY NOT!!

Low Fat High Protein makes more “sense”. It is the safest that there is.

Is there something like a Carb-tree? Or a Protein plant ?? When the hell did people switch to eating carbs and protein as opposed to food! Rice and beans, bread and jam you get that! But who has ever bought a pack of protein or a kilo of carbs?

Okay! Let’s say you play some version of a eenie meenie miny mo and arrive at one strategy to follow. But then what next? How and what to cook? What do you do at each meal? And what to eat the next day?

There are many many women out there who are sailing in the same boat as Mrinalini once did. Intelligent women that are committed to the reasoning and process as much as they are to the outcome. Gym “trainer” that is clueless about scientific evidence puts them on a schedule of some mishmash of exercise movements and promises weight loss, muscle gain etc etc. Same with diet vendors – who make ludicrous claims, give impractical advice and charge enormous fees. No reasoning is ever given or when it comes by, it rarely even appeals to the common sense.

Such women lose their spark and end up feeling angry and hurt when the system not only fails them but requires them to dumb down – just to fit in.

Over the last quarter of 2017 Mrinalini committed to learning the basics of Nutrition. What use is any learning if it doesn’t translate to action, right? She was sporty enough to do her homework in all earnestness – even when she did not believe in the usefulness of certain activities. She was delighted when she found herself back at her dance classes! There was no more eating like a maniac – vice-like grip had loosened so much that she now felt zen like in her attitude. Yet, she was brimming with energy. Each time she checked her weight, it felt like a gift. Towards the beginning of this year, she had recorded a nearly 17, yes SEVENTEEN pounds of weight loss. Now, did she feel stretched? Was it difficult?? Heck yes! But she saw it as a meaningful pursuit for herself, and therefore she did it.

What is your takeaway in all this?

May your #1 lesson be this:

Commit yourself to understand the basics. Nutrition is a science and its practice is evidence-based. Like Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said, “You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts” – you need to deeply understand the distinction between facts and opinions.  I agree with you, there’s a lot of noise out there in matters of food and it’s difficult to tell the difference between right and wrong even for a professional. That said, internet has made it all accessible – you get to read both the ‘for’ and ‘against’ arguments for any topic. Develop a healthy curiosity and let go of stubborn clinging to something just because it’s “safe” and /or that’s all you’ve known.

 

Fact: Neither of us has a compulsion to sharing this story with the world. That said, Mrinalini and I both realize the power of stories like these, upon which the takeaways stand. It’s her utter purity of intention to reach someone that may be in a similar situation which inspires me to let you in on some highlights of this journey.

 

Request: Please remember, people mentioned in this story are real people in flesh and blood. With a beating heart and feelings. Be gentle with us. Questions and comments are fine so long as they are respectful.

 

Disclaimer: This is no promise of results. Outcomes depend on any number of factors and each person and situation is unique.

Mind Your Gap Master Your Plate is coming up. Want in?

What Happens When You Seek A Food Professional

“Oh my God, what if she scolds me for my chocolate habit?”
” Wonder if she’s gonna believe what I have to say about how little I eat, after she sees me in person!”
“Do you think my food coach can tell if I cheated just just a wee little bit?”
There, there! Let me introduce you to my tribe. There are many different type of food professionals these days – registered dietitians, educators, coaches and so on. Generally speaking, any food related coaching has two components to it – one is the education pertaining to Nutrition, the second one being the behavioral aspect of it. A food professional is someone who helps you understand the science of Nutrition AND gives you the support required to translate that knowledge into behavior. That said, it is important that you have clarity about what this involves.
But even before we get to that –
Please understand that most food professionals have a deep appreciation for how slippery these food journeys can be. This means they are empathetic to your struggles and stories. They are your allies, they work on your side. Which means that you must bring your honest and real selves to the table – for your own success’s sake. Do you remember some of your best teachers? The kind that were gentle and firm at the same time?? These are very much like them – they are not so much for making you feel nice and fluffing you up over your goof-ups. But they are hugely invested in making you feel good and help you make some important distinctions with respect to food and eating. Nice versus good! But good doesn’t exclude gentleness and caring at all. I’ve seen, worked with and trained under many food and health professionals in my career. This description of my league is very true to what I’ve known and seen closely.
Now, getting back to what this post is all about –
1. YOU as a client are the one to decide what you will do.
Dietetics and food related counselling has moved away from the paternalistic I-tell-you-listen kinda approach, which was common when I started my practice in India in the mid 90 s. It is an autonomous position for both parties concerned in the current times.
By this I mean to say, no one as in NO ONE can persuade you against your choice to eat (or not eat) a certain way or eat (or not eat) a certain thing. A client completely owns and takes on the decision and practice parts.
 For instance, I am a plant-based food professional. Those with an intention to eat plant-based or at least explore what it feels like to eat that way, seek my support. Then I get to educate them and offer support for them to incorporate the new learning into their lives. But I DON’T GET TO DECIDE FOR THEM OR EVEN PERSUADE THEM especially against their wishes.  It would not be ethical to do so.
2. As a food professional, I am responsible for presenting and interpreting the science to people. With the clients, all the more so – to help them appreciate the merits and demerits of different approaches and help them grasp the technical aspect of Nutrition. Even more importantly, be of assistance in bridging the knowing and doing gap for the clients.
By this, you must realize the importance of client participation and how central it is to this whole thing. One has to come prepared to take on this responsibility without which, a professional has really not much to do at all with a client. It is for the clients to seek the knowledge and take action, experience the challenges and describe them to the professional – so that they can support.
If this post was of interest to you, I highly recommend that you sign up for the FREE course in Food Journalling on the home page. Your Food Journal is the most basic context for your work with a food professional.

Number #1 Mistake Of A Weight-loss Journey And What To Do Instead

Fact: Neither of us has a compulsion to sharing this story with the world. That said, Nisha and I both realize the power of stories like these, upon which the takeaways stand. It’s her utter purity of intention to reach someone that may be in a similar situation, which inspires me to let you in on some highlights of this journey.

 

Request: Please remember, people mentioned in this story are real people in flesh and blood. With a beating heart and feelings. Be gentle with us. Questions and comments are fine so long as they are respectful.

 

Disclaimer: This is no promise of results. Outcomes depend on any number of factors and each person and situation is unique.

 

Imagine this: An overweight lady in the Indian context. What will follow in your head is probably images of similar overweight characters in movies and television, the jokes and songs based on them, people talking behind their back, offering unasked for advice and so on. If you have been an overweight person yourself, it will probably bring you a rush of painful jab of images and words you’ve had to endure.

 

After repeatedly braving through such barbs and quite possibly putting oneself through many secret weight loss endeavors – to not much success, understandably, the person develops a shield of sorts. These shields are masks and come in many types. Most common ones are I-don’t-care-for-how-I-look mask, This-is-my-body-type mask, It’s-about-you-not-me mask and I’ve-made-peace-with-how-I-look mask and so on.  At other times, the person uses a very spiritual lingo to turn away from what is a very painful situation – “I love my God-given body” or “Acceptance is key to happiness” and so on.

 

Somehow, it “feels” legit when we say to ourselves or when we comfort a loved one with words like – “if they remarked thus  about your weight, it speaks volumes about who _they_ are” or “don’t take _their_ comments personally” or we muffle our own inner voice with “count your infinite blessings and accept your body just the way it is”.

Psychologist Robert Masters calls it a “spiritualized strategy for not only avoiding the pain but legitimizing the avoidance”.

 

This is not to blame or point fingers. This is also not a holier than thou kinda observation, for we all do it. And it is certainly not body shaming. With growing up comes responsibility. Responsibility to identify BOTH the problem and the solution for the problem.   But the keyword here is awareness. If only we become alert to our resistance to work through what is obviously difficult and painful, results can be astounding.

 

Am reminded of the Reinhold Niebuhr quote –    God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

 

Nisha seemed like one courageous lady who had internalized this kinda wisdom described in the quote. She had the pluck to admit to herself that her ways with food and eating habits needed looking into. It is not short of gallantry to open yourself to scrutiny at this level. If you want to understand what I’m saying, just record all you eat – every single morsel you put in your mouth – for a short period of three days and send it for a critique! Okay, don’t even bother sending it, just write it honestly and look at it yourself.

 

Over the last four months, she has worked enormously diligently and just before the end of 2017, the weighing scale read a full 20 – yes, TWENTY, pounds lesser than where she had started.

 

What is your takeaway in all this?

Have you considered walking, jogging, gym joining in an effort to lose weight? Many many women do just that. When you are looking to lose a few pounds and look trimmer, the first thing that comes to mind is to exercise away the excess.

May your #1 lesson be this:

Research is emphatically evident about exercise NOT being an effective weight loss tool.

While exercise has and plays a very important role in your well being, it’s what you put in your mouth, meal after meal and in between meals, day after day which needs looking into, if you are trying to lose weight.

Mind Your Gap Master Your Plate is coming up. Want in?

Knowledge and Behavior are two different things

Let me share with you this insightful conversation I once had with a stranger. We were both  at an airport, having some time on our hands before we could board our airplanes. She goes ‘ we all know we shouldn’t be hogging on potato chips. But I do!  As a dietitian do you also feel like it, how do you deal with it?’

Here’s my confession: I love  deep fried food, I always have. Chips, banana fritters made the Indian way, Onion and Cashew Pakodas (haven’t heard ..? go look up) don’t even get me started. I can hog on these any time of the day or night but I don’t.

Up until my mid-twenties I just ate whatever my heart yearned for, so long as it was vegetarian. Around this point, I took a course to learn what it meant to be a counselor. And my mentor there said two things – to be helpful to others and understand them, one needs to understand oneself.

Second one was, writing is a very useful tool to look inwards. So, I got into the habit of keeping a journal. It was a no holds barred kinda writing. It would have all areas of my life running into each other in a way it made sense ONLY to me! From this I’ve dug out four findings about myself over the years, that helps to this day, in managing my ways with many things, definitely around food.

  1.  Am lazy
  2. Love simplicity
  3. Need routines
  4. Am highly motivated to do the right thing

Laziness is a wonderful trait to have if you want to eat healthy. This is what drives me to cook a one-pot meal in a pressure cooker versus deep frying fritters, standing the entire time in front of a hot stove, making it. Rather than fight laziness, I’ve found ways to creatively use it to my advantage. For instance, we keep Cookies or other treats in the top most cupboard, above the refrigerator, in our house. And for extra discouragement, I’ve put our water filter over the step-stool! It takes me a good fifteen minutes PLUS back-breaking hard work  to get to that damn thing that I rarely ever eat what’s up there!! This is such a foolproof method for me, you gotta try to see what I mean.

And if you combined this love for simplicity with laziness, you can get more uses out of the combo. Like, eating salad becomes a breeze. Especially, if you’re the kind who has trouble getting started with a veggie dish but eventually love that you decided upon it. Or you may come up with new ways of substituting elaborate dishes that take only a fraction of the time. For instance, Medjool date stuffed with

For instance, Medjool date stuffed with nuts  makes for a very satisfying dessert. We were served this at a party recently and it vanished off the plate in just minutes. Nobody thought it was stupid or blah! The hostess here definitely came across as someone who embraces her simplicity. We have another couple in our friends circle. And in their house, breakfast for the warmer half of the year is always fruit. Just plain fruit – a bowl of berries or sliced melons or a banana or some fruit.

I’d be totally rattled if I have to figure out a schedule for the basic stuff on a daily basis. Not happening! Mondays and Thursdays, I walk with friends – it is all fixed – time, duration, where we meet, everything. Three days a week we eat some dish made of greens. This is my Indian thing – many of us skip the evening meal on the eleventh day of the moon cycle, four days before the full moon. Many of us have and like our routines but what is key to understand here is that they are not set in stone. If there are some habits you had as part of your routine that aren’t serving you well, they can be changed. Habits do fall off with me too and I put them back from time to time. Recently I’ve re-introduced  the sprouts into my routine.

When you are highly driven to do the right thing, even a slight support from people in your lives can do wonders. And it is even better when we can articulate how we’d like to be supported and delegate. For example, you can ask them to encourage (or discourage) at the right times. Last evening, I wanted to munch on something very badly. My husband was his usual generous self to get up and bring some goodies on a plate. Then I went ‘oh, my mouth is all too sweet and now I want some savories’.

I’ll pause right here. This is where the craziness can use some help. On my own, I tend to forget to get mindful. I am all caught up about the party in my mouth and little else matters. But! If there is a well-meaning person that can recognize the craziness on your behalf and help you get aware, it can be averted. Over years, I’ve come to a point where I need only a slight help and not a whole lot. So, if we’ve company then my husband says a blank-faced ” huh??” and pretends not to have understood me. It’s enough to redirect me to whatever activity on hand. If we’re by ourselves he may suggest that I fetch it for myself.

Going back to the story, he quipped  just in time ‘sure, just go bring it’ – I took the cue and decided to  focus on  the movie instead!  The tricky part here was to see that he was helping me and therefore not get sour about him. Was it purely my motivation to do the right thing, it’s difficult to say for a fact. But in combination with my laziness, it sure worked in my favor.

One month after that airport lounge chat, my new friend Facebooked to say she had figured out one useful finding about herself: how she likes four of everything. She went by the number four as if on a autopilot – four spoons of oil, four cookies with tea, four servings at meals! Next, she decided to pre-cut all the cookies in the jar to a half. She switched the spoon next to the oil jar to a smaller one. And when she baked a pizza next time, she first packed away one half and only served the other, cut into four wedges. She noticed she did not even miss it. And it was a treat to have more left for tomorrow’s lunch, without even trying! I remembered her saying she was a leading Actuary in her town and it all made sense how she had expertly drawn these conclusions.

So, why am I sharing all this with you?

Here’s why – I’d like you to deeply understand one thing – we don’t get healthy by reading a book or getting a masters degree in health sciences. All this add to your knowledge base. It’s like saying, I’ve got bags of food loaded in my pantry. This does NOT mean your hunger is satiated. Right? You gotta put in some effort to translate that knowledge to real action steps which comes down to what we do in tiny increments day after day.

You need to take time to observe yourself for these traits and quirks that drive your behavior so you can modify them in a way that works for you. It is just like acknowledging the motorist tendency to speed at particular points and putting a speed breaker in place. Only, you are responsible for installing your own behavioral controls for certain things in life.

Did you find this useful? Share about one behavior that you’ve happily retained or modified and what was your tool to achieve that?

Love,

Giri