Is There Such a Thing as a Slip-up?
Working with clients to establish a healthy lifestyle is a process I love. The best practice is to adopt a step-wise strategy, which helps my client build on changes and habits sequentially. That being said it’s normal and acceptable to have ‘departures’ along the way…this is part of the process. Part of the mechanism of adopting a new healthy lifestyle is dismantling habits that don’t serve us but it’s important to acknowledge and accept that we are not robots.
Unfortunately, we cannot flip a switch and turn off habits that don’t serve us. Some of these habits and behaviours might be decades old and entrenched into our character. It takes time and diligence.
I spoke with a client today who I have been working with for 8 weeks and have made some incredible changes and hit some significant milestones.
However, a crisis at work had disrupted the new strategy and some older ‘self-soothing habits had re-emerged.
He had therefore labelled himself a failure and thought he was ‘out of control’. However, further exploration revealed that he hadn’t rebounded back to old habits despite stress levels peaking. Instead, there were just a few moments in which he had ‘departed’ from the new normal. He had chosen to see this recent behaviour as binary or in black n white …. his ‘departures’ were a failure in his view and undid the good he had achieved over the 8 weeks.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
I reminded him that he needed to insert some empathy for himself and diffuse the black and white attitude – sometimes we want to eat certain foods to meet our needs at that moment.
And that’s normal and ok!
I also reminded him that applying more perspective around this would help. Given his age, he easily has another 40-50 years, therefore plenty of opportunities to be consistent with his health. Our health outcomes are largely determined by what we do most of the time over the greatest period. Therefore if my client adhered to a healthy lifestyle MOST of the time, the occasional departure is not a failure. It hardly registers on the whole scheme of things.
Our health outcomes are determined by two things, our inherited genes and epigenetics. Our inherited genes from our mother and father account for 10% of our health comes, whereas our epigenetics accounts for 90%. Meaning that our diet and lifestyle can directly influence which genes are expressed or not. 15% of our entire genome oscillates daily. So it does make a difference, even on a micro-level, what we eat and drink. Other external factors include our environment, how much stress we are exposed to, how many contaminants or pollutants we are around, whether or not we exercise and how much sleep we get. Fortunately for us, these are other factors we can control, which gives us power and sovereignty.
Crafting a new healthy lifestyle can take time but the pay off is the legacy you’ll inherit. And following a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean living with scarcity or depravity, life is for enjoying.
There are no failings or slip-ups.
Lastly, don’t forget to pay homage to the good days/weeks/months that you have which immediately puts the occasional ‘departures’ into perspective.
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