Being who you are is about being the best, most vibrant version of yourself. With our wellbeing so multifaceted, it’s important that we listen and maintain a healthy balance between our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual states.
Time and again I learn that in order to make a change in your life, the easiest and fastest way is to start by finding your happy place and then surrendering the how and the who to happy coincidence in circumstances. When it comes to dieting, it’s worth remembering that it’s your emotional state that drives your behaviours and actions.
This week I had a physical assessment in which I was told the energy systems in my body are working at far from optimal, around 30-40 %; the likely root cause being sugar and gluten. Growing up in the west of Scotland, where you can buy deep fried chocolate bars in the fish and chip shop, it’s probably fair to say that my diet is sub-optimal. However, it’s what’s driving me to eat the sugar and gluten that is more relevant.
There are a couple of times in my life where what I was eating became really important. Firstly, in my early twenties, when I was suffering from undiagnosed panic attacks, the doctor was bombarding me with antibiotics for chest infections (because one of the symptoms I had was chest pain… yes, I know it was pretty unbelievable) which then created a yeast issue. This led me to study Candida, its effects and links with diet, in quite a lot of depth. These days those links are all well understood, but back then the science was only emerging.
What released me from the symptoms wasn’t the diet. Understanding what was happening to my body, and why, helped me to let go of the feelings of fear that were driving them. All my other health issues then just dissipated.
Later, in my thirties, with four failed pregnancies behind me, along with a huge amount of angst around the trying and failing, I decided to set aside trying for a time and focus instead on my general health and wellbeing.
Just prior I had read a book by scientist Dee McCaffrey, on flourless and sugarless living. She was one of the original scientists who ‘recommended’ the food pyramid (the final published version was practically inverted due to the pressure from food manufacturers apparently).
Then, out of the blue, someone recommended a naturopath to me that had a lot of success in helping others have healthy babies. Knowing that he’d recommend a healthy diet and some herbs I felt a sense of dread at the time and effort it would require but, given all that I understood about the evils of sugar and flour, I decided to give it a try.
It was at this point I realised just how limited my knowledge of food was. Reading through the list of recommended grains (I hadn’t even thought of a world beyond wheat, oats and barley), it struck me how pervasive gluten and sugar is in our world. Knowing how extraordinarily difficult it was to cater for the anti-Candida diet I had tried briefly back in the early 1990’s, there was certainly a feeling of apprehension in thinking about embarking on a sugarless, flourless diet.
Within the first month (on both occasions) of altering my diet I fell pregnant and gave birth to two beautiful healthy babies, thus proving it can make a difference. However, more important than the diet, I had first let go of the sense of a lack of a pregnancy and switched focus to my general wellbeing.
Six years on, having breastfed two babies, worked full time for most of it and now the demands of parenting two young children while switching careers, I confess my dietary habits have slipped back into their old ways. I could go on a healthy diet and I’m sure it would give me more energy, but I’ve learned it’s really the hard way to go about things.
There’s no disputing that certain foods provide us with better energy than others, there’s a really simple universal principle that the closer a food is to its natural state, the better it is for your body. However, if you are relying on the diet to make you feel better, you really are making things hard for yourself.
Whatever change you want to see in your life, the easiest way, the fastest way to achieve it, is to get into alignment with the inner you. What that means is it is your job to feel good, because that is your indication you’re in tune with yourself. Think about a time when you were really happy, can you remember how easily things just seemed to flow? That is your natural state.
Your willpower is like a battery that gets depleted quicker than a Samsung Galaxy downloading a video. If you are embarking on a diet and you are not in the zone, in your natural state, your will battery will be pretty empty already. It’s a hard way to achieve what you want.
Feeling good is the key to your success. It might seem strange after all that we have been taught in our society, but if you want to make some real changes read the article Hating Your Way to Happiness to help you get in the zone and feel good.
Forget trying to force a diet, your first priority is to feel good about yourself, and then you will be naturally attracted to the foods that make you feel good. If you feel bad the golden arches might prove irresistible, or that bar of chocolate at the checkout, or the bottle of wine in the fridge... If you feel great you are more likely to notice the smell of the fresh fruit on the counter, or the sight of vegetables in a picture is more likely to start a creative process in your mind of putting together dinner.
Feel good and you’ll start to make healthy choices that are right for you, the real you.
This article was originally published on LinkedIn.
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