Let’s suppose that you stumbled upon this blog because you’re on a similar journey. I’d like to share some tips with you. Let’s call this the “might I suggest” list as I’m not an expert and no one likes a bossy know-it-all.
Not everyone is going to support you.
I sincerely hope that everyone in your life does. That will make this SO much easier for you. However, you may find yourself in the position of defending yourself, frequently. We’re all at different stages in our lives. Not everyone is going to be ready to self-examine, just like there are people in your life that probably still trigger you too. You may be met with skepticism, sarcasm, ridicule and defensiveness. Don’t engage with people who are quick to negate something that is working for you. Similarly, not everyone is going to want to hear about your journey and how you’re doing. Even people who love you very much may be triggered by the conversation. Despite how you’re wording it, people are going to take what you say however they interpret it. Change the conversation. Save that energy for people who do want to engage with you on your tactics and progress.
Forgive others for being skeptical, you’re never going to win everyone over.
Forgive yourself for not having all the answers. All you can do is what’s working for you RIGHT NOW and when it’s not, change tactics. You do not have to be an expert at this.
Allow people to show up for you
If you have people in your life that ARE supportive of you. Let them help! Take advantage of those relationships to talk about what’s working, what’s not, what your challenges are. If you have an outlet, it will make the time around the less supportive people easier.
If your friends and family aren’t ready to be your support system, find another outlet: a message board, a doctor, a creative endeavor or exercise that will help you work things out. Some people need to talk stuff out, others may find that the best outlet for them is another type of expression. No matter what it is you’re trying out, I guarantee someone on the internet has tried it. Someone is out there for you.
Assuming you're here because food is your thing, BRING FOOD EVERYWHERE. This could mean having almonds in your purse, or your own creamer in a cooler bag if you’re into getting coffee. Whatever your weakness is, PLAN FOR IT. I eat something before I leave the house, EVERY TIME. Just incase I get stuck in traffic or my day gets unexpectedly extended, I usually bring a little lunch bag with one more meal than I need. If you’re fed, you’re statistically more likely to make a better (for you) food choice. If you’re hungry you’re statistically more likely to get what you want to eat, rather than what might make you feel your best. (cake rather than fruit in this example). If I have a meal with me, I can just eat that!
There is no zealot like a convert (aka avoid preaching)
This one is a struggle for me because I get SO excited when I learn new things. I went through a phase in my 20s where I told everyone who would listen about how to treat their dog like a dog instead of a baby. I’d recently worked with an awesome trainer in LA and it was transforming my husband’s and my relationship with one of our dogs. We were EXPERTS. (um, no we were not.)
I went through a similar phase when I first moved to LA when I had excellent results with Weight Watchers teaching me how not to eat pizza all the time, add a little exercise to my life and I miraculously looked better in a bathing suit. (turns out, still not an expert on food, health and diet.)
I still struggle with “oversharing” because I want to connect with people and help them. If their journey sounds like it could be eased by the experiences I've had with diet and lifestyle I feel that it would be a disservice to them to not mention it. I try so hard to keep the conversation basic. Then I find myself mid-conversation talking about heavy metals or suggesting diets and I shame myself for being too pushy. It’s actually why I started this blog. It felt like all I talked about was this journey and where I’m at. Writing it down helps. That way I can still share the helpful information but in a way that is less personal for the recipient and stays personal for me. I am not able to share what I’ve learned in one conversation anyway so I just end up steamrolling the unsuspecting listener.
Every journey is personal.
While people might like to hear some of what’s working for you, they don’t necessarily want to be told what to do.
Small Changes with Big Results
Make time for you. Literally schedule it if you need to. This may be challenging; it can feel selfish.
I am of the mind that if putting yourself first makes you a better person, it’s also benefiting those around you. If you’re a mom or a spouse or a co-worker... or a person, putting you first will benefit others too. So, it’s not selfish. It’s a service. We’re all in this together. Don’t you wish that person honking at you in traffic had done a little more self-care? Maybe we’d all be a little nicer if we did.
Do as little as you need to – let go of needing to do everything correctly or best or first. If you’re like me, you probably owe some of your condition to that type-a, “problem solver” nature in the first place. Do less and try to be OK with that. Learn to be OK with the absence of “busy”. Let go of being right and forgive yourself for being wrong. Change your language if you need to. I've been conscious about letting go of the word "no" as I think it holds too much negative energy in my speech. I try other ways of phrasing things, it's small but it can change your emotional connection. Explore outside of your comfort zone; maybe things that seem "woo woo" can help you.
That's all I've got. When I figure everything out I'll be sure to let you know.
Good luck, you're not alone, and well done.