Why is it so hard to change our eating and exercise habits?
You've finally gotten to the place where you're saying enough is enough regarding your health. You declare that this is the day you're cleaning out the fridge and making some changes. You pick the hottest diet plan, pencil in your workouts, and you even buy the latest and greatest workout gear. Monday morning arrives and you began.
Things are going great and maybe you stick with the plan for a month! But then things plateau, get hard, or something happens to derail you. You get out of sync and fall right back into your "normal."
What is that "normal" and when did it become that way? When in your life did the "normal" get established? Is your health "just the way it is" or is there something you can really do about it?
I have been studying beliefs and habits around money and where we place our limitations. I recently stumbled on the idea of your "money blueprint." As I began to have my own breakthroughs in understanding my own beliefs, I began to see the health patterns as well.
Could the concept of your "money blueprint" also apply to your "health blueprint"? If so, is this why you revert back to old habits or your "normal?"
Let's take a closure look:
Issues within our DNA can certainly cause a number of conditions, like Down's Syndrome, "Familial Hypertension," or more severe developmental disorders. In more mild and less obvious cases, people can have small mutations in their DNA that cause issues with how they utilize nutrients and medications. Despite the genetic cards we may be dealt, if you are able to be independent and take care of yourself, how you choose to play those cards can determine a person's overall well-being.
I've seen people who struggle with chronic diseases and handicaps rise above their limitations and use it to inspire others to be their best selves.
Are you someone with a mild genetic blueprint that impacts your health and you're letting it dictate your well-being and lifestyle choices?
Who we choose to hang around and the lifestyle of our friends is usually a reflection of our own health and well-being. Are you in social circles that sit on the couch and binge watch an episode of your favorite TV show while eating pizza and drinking? Are you hanging around adventure seekers, volunteers, run/walk clubs, or a group that loves finding cool restaurants?
If you are having a hard time making lifestyle changes, you might consider plugging into new social circles to help you be more successful.
Addict will lose friends to successfully rise above their addiction. I'm not suggesting dropping your friend circles, but I am challenging you to consider this as you begin to take your health more seriously.
Many different cultures have different cuisines and values around food. There will also be a certain way of life regarding transportation and active lifestyles. From cyclist in Amsterdam to vegetarians in India, where we grew up or where our parents are from can have an impact on our lifestyle choices. These choices will directly impact your health. In America, its the "standard American diet" which is full of sugar, white bread, lots of fatty processed meat, and very little to no vegetables. This way of eating is having a detrimental impact on our well-being.
Did you know the United States ranks LAST in health outcomes?! We must take a look at what we are doing culturally because it is not serving us.
Israel ranks #10 in healthiest countries and is ranked the lowest in "diet related" deaths due to their rich vegetable and fish cuisine.
Singapore, ranking #8, contributes their health to a the "hawker cuisine", fresh-low priced foods, combined with an active lifestyle.
Spain and Italy rank pretty high on the healthiest countries list for their Mediterranean cuisine of fish, lean meat, vegetables, and clean olive-oil.
When it comes to how you are choosing to take care of your body, take a look at your cultural influence. This could be an area to work on unraveling or challenging in how you choose to live your life.
A common one I see is, Americanized Italians who love their pasta, red sauce, and pizza. If you want to loose weight and be healthier, you might look to a more Mediterranean Diet plan instead.
Health equity is something to look into further when we consider the overall health of our society. I listened to a double amputee due to diabetes talk about where he grew up. His town didn't have a grocery store. All they had was fast food chains. There wasn't a lot of money, crime was high, and many didn't have higher education. Communities like this have lower health status and outcomes for many reasons and are some of the highest ranking in Type 2 Diabetes. Why? Because processed and fast food are so much cheaper. Their access to fresh produce, cold water fish, and olive oil are low and expensive.
All I will say here is to be aware that socioeconomic status is a definite contributing factor to one's well-being and lifestyle choices. As I study the "money blueprint," people can get themselves out of these situations if they choose to challenge the situation and again, rise above it. Lisa Nichols, best selling author and speaker, talks about how she pulled herself out of a poor African American community and became a multi-millionaire. The double amputee left his community and is now educating people about Diabetes prevention through our choices in food.
No matter where you are on the map at this moment or where you grew up in the past, does not mean you have to stay there for the rest of your life.
I will often hear a client state that their health concerns "run in the family." When you have a family with a lot of allergies and autoimmune disorders, as a clinician, I do consider these factors. That being said, if the condition is directly related to lifestyle choices, I will ask if the family has the same lifestyle?
The familial blueprint is different then the genetic blueprint because your DNA is something you can not change. The habits you were raised in doing are things you have control over as an adult.
Did you grow up in a family that sat around watching game shows and eating potato chips all night? Was your family all about sports and outdoor activities? Is your lifestyle today similar to how you grew up? If you are living a life very similar to how you were raised, your health outcomes will be very similar to the rest of your family not because of genetics but because of your actions.
When we explore a new way of eating and living, we'll have to challenge old familial patterns.
Some religions don't eat meat while others eliminate "hooved" animals like pork. Some faiths do fasting rituals, while others practice no food restrictions at all. Whatever your religious practices, there will be some sort of impact on your lifestyle.
You know those church gatherings where everyone brings a dish? Oh my goodness.... just look at what they bring. Now, what they bring I believe is more of a cultural blueprint and not a religious one but this is a perfect example of how we are influenced in our lifestyle choices.
Out of all the blueprints, this one can cut the deepest because people use food and behaviors as a form of control, rebellion, or sabotage. Food can be used for comfort as well. From eating disorders to beliefs in our self-worth, emotions are powerful when it comes to our choices.
I would say we all have an emotional blueprint that impacts how we feed our bodies and our choice in exercise. Some have given up and revert to sugar and alcohol. Some commit so strongly to a "clean" way of eating that they've lost enjoyment in food and it becomes dysfunctional. Many do choose a whole foods way of life and are living happy and well. It is possible and you absolutely can get there!
Emotional blueprints will be the deepest work you'll have to do but if you do the work, you'll find freedom and peace with where you are today.
If you are striving to live a healthier lifestyle and struggling to make a change that lasts, check out the blueprints above. What areas might you need to look into further? This exploration can help you to better understand some of the obstacles you're facing and why change might be more difficult.
Hope you enjoyed this blog!