If someone looked at you and spent 10 minutes in your company, what would they learn about your habits and rituals? Your body would give out the first most obvious clues. If you were walking down the high street and someone offered you £100 to pick out who goes to the gym regularly and who doesn’t, it wouldn’t take much imagination. Your body is a visual representation of many of your health rituals.
So I ask you to honestly look at yourself, preferably in a full length mirror, and notice what your body is telling anyone who looks at it, whether you are respecting it or disrespecting it. Of course, you must have a clear idea of what a healthy body looks like to decide if you have one or not!
So be realistic; a healthy body is not a glamorous skinny model type shape. Skinny is not healthy. It’s just skinny, and many models I see look like they could do with a good meal! A healthy body is one with natural curves in places there should be curves, a vitality that’s visible in the skin and in the eyes, with a good natural muscle tone and posture. A healthy body can undertake everyday tasks without becoming exhausted, but certainly does not need to be or look athletic.
So if you imagine someone just like you with a totally healthy body given those criteria, how would you score yourself out of 10? And if other people looked at you and scored you purely on how healthy your body looks, what mark do you suppose they would give you?
Those of you that have trained with me and been to my workshops know well that I am very passionate about why we need to honour and respect our bodies. Inside you there is a part of you that is not physical, an amazing soul or spirit that is your very life essence. Your body is simply where it lives; and you are the caretaker of your physical home. Are you a good conscientious caretaker?
You don’t have to be “perfect” or “angelic” with your choices to have a healthy body, slim healthy people eat cake sometime! But what you do MOST of the time will determine how healthy you are – or not
|You are only as good or successful – as your practices. What are you practising?|
Are you practising being healthy, or unhealthy? If you are practising being unhealthy – guess what you will be very good at!
Awareness is curative and sometimes you have to point out the blindingly obvious to yourself to be able to take account of what you are doing. A lot of CBT is about awareness and cognitively noticing what you are doing and how you feel. Here’s a simple exercise to help you bring your health and habits into your awareness. List in each column what you are doing to get good at either being healthy, or unhealthy. I am not just talking about food and exercise and physical exercise either, I am talking about emotional and spiritual health too.
|I am practising being healthy by …….||I am practising being unhealthy by …….|
|e.g. putting nutritious foods into my body||
Eating too much junk food
e.g. Walking everywhere possible
|Telling myself I am useless/fat/ugly|
Notice which list is the longest. That’s the one you are becoming expert at.
Changing behaviour for good is about changing attitudes and fundamental beliefs. You must believe that you are worth the effort, that your spirit deserves to live in a home that honours it. That takes intention and desire, and it takes practice.
Sometimes we get so caught up in “stuff” that we disconnect from who we are and what our potential is. When we disrespect ourselves like that it becomes a form of self-harming.
Every time you overeat or drink high-calorie junk, especially when you don’t need food for energy (i.e. when you are already satisfied), you are deliberately harming yourself.
Overeating is no better or no different than self-harming with a knife – you just kid yourself that it is. When you harm with a knife there is clear evidence of the harm in the form of scars. But look again, your excess body fat is clearer and more visible than any scar – it’s a sign to you and everyone else that you are self-harming, possibly every day.
When I wrote about self-harming in The Placebo Diet, a few people said it was too shocking to put in the book, but I felt very strongly that it is a point that needs to be made. If you are unhappy with how you look, or how you feel; if your physical health is poor because of what you eat and your lifestyle, then every cake or high sugar high fat food you eat is self-harming. Every single mouthful.
Your conscious mind and unconscious mind work together and are like an iceberg. The tip that is visible above the water is your conscious mind, and the massive structure holding it all together is the vast expanse underneath. For neurological change to occur it’s not enough to want it consciously, you have to engage your unconscious mind too. That means doing the kind of exercises I teach in The Placebo Diet online programme and in the workshops, which are based in therapies such as Neuro Linguistic programming (NLP), and different kinds of behavioural therapies such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapies (CBT). Your brain is plastic and you can change anything you want to, providing you know how to.
In these blogs I am reminding you of the things I have already spoken about and adding new layers of understanding and new examples so that you really can take control and use your mind to change your body.
Here’s a quick re-cap of the key stages of change:
- Start with why? You must have a powerful vision of exactly what you want to achieve, the kind pf person you want to be, not just physically but also emotionally and spiritually
- Be very clear on the benefits of being that version of you. You must ignite the pleasure centres in your brain so that you release dopamine (the motivation hormone) to drive your actions
- Have a clear strategy, understand exactly which practices or habits you need to change and make it as easy as possible to change them
- Keep your eyes on the prize and remember the key point when it comes to making choices that are either healthy or unhealthy
You are free to choose whatever you want – but you are not free from the consequences of your choice