There I was, a few weeks ago, having this conversation in my head between the part of me that makes good choices and the part of me that doesn’t. The, I don’t want to make a good choice side of me wanted to eat a scrumptious-looking 5-grain bagel that was not gluten-free.
Now let me tell you that I don’t know whether I have a gluten sensitivity or not. About 18 months ago I felt tired (particularly after eating something that contained gluten), it was difficult for me to be organized, I had awful brain fog and my ego just hated my bloated belly! So I decided to go gluten-free for a month and see if I felt any different. I knew that if there is a sensitivity I should feel significantly better off gluten – which I did! Being gluten-free then became a way of life for me.
Then, for some reason, a short while ago, I started craving all my favorite non gluten-free foods. It is amazing how our minds can help us rationalize something that we know would be a bad choice, giving us permission to go ahead anyway. Here are the rationalizations my cheating side offered me…
What’s the big deal if you eat gluten just this once?
You don’t even know if you really do have a gluten sensitivity.
This could be a good way of testing whether you really need to be off gluten.
And here’s the most powerful rationalization of all:
Life is for living – you’ve got to let go sometimes; you can’t be perfect all the time!
Well that was enough to get me started and once I got going, just this once became just one more, and just one more.
If I ever wondered whether I really needed to be off gluten, I now have the answer. My body totally rebelled – fatigue, joint pains, f o g g y and that terrible ‘b’ word – bloatedness. To make matters worse I had to miss some of my daily workouts because of fatigue and joint pain. I am an exercise lover and having to skip my exercise, did not help my mood.
Of course, as you can image all of this did not make me a fun, delightful, warm, engaging person to be with. Luckily I don’t have young kids or they would have wondered, what’s up with mommy!
Well I’m back to being gluten-free. No more bloat, lots of energy and focus and feeling great! Those of you who follow my blogs know that I feel strongly about moms and dads being healthy and feeling well so that they can be energetic and happy parents. You may not have a gluten issue but the lessons I learned from this experience are applicable to many other health-related issues and to your parenting style. So perhaps you can learn these lessons from me without having to first punish your spirit, body and brain as I did:
- Life is indeed for living, for enjoying, for having fun and the best way we can live life is by making healthy choices.
- We all have two sides – the side that really wants to do what’s best for us and the side that really doesn’t. You can recognize when the one side is encouraging you to make poor choices because you will begin to hear persuasive rationalizations in your head – like the ones I shared with you.
- When you become aware of the good choice-bad choice struggle inside you, do one or both of the following:
- Take four deep breaths using the 6-4-6- breathing technique – in for the count of 6, hold for the count of 3 and out for the count of 6. This will help clear your mind and give the good choice side of you the chance to take control.
- While you are breathing in, holding, breathing out, let yourself see a clear image of yourself in your mind’s eye of how you want to look, to feel and to be.
- Remind yourself that you are important, that you don’t want to punish yourself and that making a good choice is a sign of personal empowerment and health and wellbeing.
These four steps will help you to put the good choice side of you into the driver’s seat.
Probably every one of you reading this has experienced this good choice-bad choice struggle. For many this is an ongoing struggle. We all need a powerful toolbox to help us with this. So please take a moment to comment below and share with us the tools you use to help yourself make good choices. What works for you?