A few months ago a client of mine shared an article with me on finding your "why." It really resonated with me at the time because I see this thing happen with people I coach and also myself where we set goals, but cannot seem to follow through. I end up feeling like, "OK, gotta get my stuff together and really do this thing." And again...I just can't follow through. When I'm coaching people, sometimes it gets frustrating when we circle round and round on one goal that, just like for my own goals, continues to be this longing for something great, but the execution continues to fail. It's more than lack of willpower. We've all accomplished challenging things in our lives. After all our willpower is limited, if money is a driving force our motivation might all of a sudden show up and if a crisis is at hand we just do what needs to be done.
I have wanted to manage my habit of eating refined sugar and drinking alcohol for a long time. I almost said quit, but quitting might indicate forever and I'm not committing to that. Here's the struggle. Sugar and alcohol are both sugar in our bodies, so if you've ever met an alcoholic who quit drinking, you may note that they now have a major sugar habit. Coincidence? Hardly!
Though I am not an alcoholic, many of you know that I have opted out of alcohol for periods of time over the last 3 summers, but guess what? I stop alcohol and start a major cookie and dessert habit. I start consuming alcohol and don't need so much sugar. Shoot! That's all I have to say about that. I would like to not do either for periods of time. I mean, the research says that sugar is something like 7 times as addictive as cocaine and I'm not out using cocaine, so I don't think sugar is a way better option just because it is socially acceptable. Sugar and alcohol also tend to wreak havoc on my internal flora, so it's not just me wanting to perfect my diet or something, it actually causes me issues of really concern that I'd like to not deal with on the regular.
So, what is it then? Why not just stop the unhealthy things that are upsetting my body? I've tried and tried and tried and my willpower runs out and then I try again. I figure, I'm a health coach, I should be able to help myself too, right? After reading that article, I did this writing exercise that I found to be really insightful and has helped me get a handle on my goal of managing the sugar and alcohol.
Here is it. I wrote down that my goal is "I want to be healthy" then I asked, why...
Why do I want to be healthy?
To be physically and mentally well. Free from disease. To live a long life without medication and medical care. To be able to spend my time doing fun things. I'd rather spend my time energy and money on wellness than illness.
To feel mentally and physically strong. I used to think women were weak and needed men in their lives, but no one can love us in the way we can love ourselves. It feels good to be strong. It's also super cool how the human body can move weight, change under demand and I think the human musculature is beautiful.
To be attractive. There is a beauty and energy that radiates from healthy people in a way that seems mysterious, is desired by many and can be contagious. (If you've ever done the Whole 30 or a detox, you know the glow I'm talking about!) It feels good, vibrant and gives a sense of mental clarity, grounding and life just seems easier even when things get tough.
To be free from addiction. I don't want to be a slave to corporate influence. Life is better when addiction isn't ruling my choices. I want to make my own decisions about what is right for my body. I feel powerless when I don't feel I am able to make good decisions about what goes in my body. I don't like my food or corporations telling me what to do!
I am the CEO of my body and I own the right to make the right decisions for me!
I worked in a clinic for 14 years with patients who mostly came in for lifestyle diseases. I can't help but notice the connection between eating poor quality, chemical laden foods with getting sick with diseases like high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, cancer, etc. So then we get sick and need a doctor, need health insurance to pay for the doctor and are prescribed medication to treat the symptoms of the condition and another med to treat the side effects of the one you're on. Large corporate food companies are making money, so is your doctor, insurance company and pharmaceutical companies. Hmm...
This cycle is hurting our friends, family and society. It's not all genetic and the pills aren't always the answer. We don't have to be sick and addicted. The human body actually has the ability to heal itself when it is given a chance. I want this for myself, the people in my life and for everyone. What we put in our body and on our body, whether healthy or not, has a major impact on our overall wellness. It is a miracle that our bodies work as well as they do given what we put them through, but we are the gatekeepers of our bodies and we can choose.
(Disclaimer: I know sickness still happens even to people who take care of themselves and that medicine may be needed in certain situations. I'm not here to tear apart Western medicine today.)
Through this writing exercise, I gained a lot of clarity on what this goal of mine was all about. It isn't just that I want to be healthy on the surface or that I want to quit eating cookies. There is more to it that is attached to my deeper values.
I am happy to say that since I did this writing exercise 2 months ago, I have not had any cookies or major sugary desserts. I have had a few things that I knew had sugar in the ingredients, but they have been eaten sparingly. And I have gone out and had drinks on occasion, but I feel like I have broken the sugar/alcohol cycle. I know there are foods that send me off the tracks and I choose to stay away from those at this time in my life.
There is nothing more sexy in people than the beauty that radiates out when we are taking care of ourselves in each area of our lives. It is the pure beauty that cannot be painted on, dressed up or made up. It is simple and comes from our core, radiating out like the sun. This is what is sexy about a healthy lifestyle. It is not the latest fad, it's not flashy and may not be popular, it doesn't happen overnight and it doesn't feed the excitement or drama on the daily, but it is real and people will ask what you are doing and want some of that because they will see you are glowing without you saying a thing.