Are You Ready For The Thing Called Change?

16 Jul 2013 1:55 PMChristine Barnes

While it may be very difficult to leave carbohydrates behind (see blog article "On Leaving Carbohydrate City"), it's often even harder to change a lifestyle and stick with it.

On the one hand we have a modern Western lifestyle encompassing amongst other things:-

A great deal of stress mortgage debt, traffic, noise, perhaps difficult neighbors, unrealistic work and family demands etc)

A highly refined, processed and sugar-based diet supported by a mechanized, nutrition-compromised plus pesticide/preservative based food industry offering easy-to-serve-and-eat packaged and processed meals.

A great deal of time sitting watching a screen (TV, internet, movies, Facebook etc at classroom,workplace, on public transport, home study and entertainment).

A breaking down of traditional community and family support networks.


The above have increased our level of susceptibility to sickness within ourselves and our communities.  Our public health system hasn't been able to keep up and our subsidised public health system is struggling financially to support the health and wellness of our population partially due to the implications and fall-out of the modern Western lifestyle. 


On the other hand, there are different ways of approaching life which are far less stressful and ultimately far healthier. But to embrace a different lifestyle involves change. And change creates resistance. Significant resistance.


To the person who has developed a chronic disease partially created by the modern western lifestyle and environment, the initiation of positive diet and lifestyle changes can represent hope for symptom relief. But it doesn't take long before hope is forgotten and the reality dawns that these changes take away elements of lifestyle that he or she didn't even know they were attached to.




For example, one of the changes I heavily promote to my patients necessitates a great deal more time hunting for fresh organic (where available) ingredients, and then preparing and cooking home-made meals from scratch. This often creates resentment. Organic food usually costs a little more. Cooking from fresh ingredients and following new recipes can take a lot more time and energy than prepackaged, shop-bought processed meals.  


I frequently hear comments to the effect "I don't have the money or the time, I'm not interested in cooking, and anyway, I'm too tired to shop and to cook. Isn't there another way?" I don't necessarily interpret this as "This is all too hard. I want to hang on to my old lifestyle even though its making me sick. Why can't you just give me a pill and fix the problem like that". I prefer to see the resistance as more of a distress signal "I really want to live like everybody else, and live like I'm used to .... errr...... except for the fact it makes me sick." Moving ahead with a prescribed naturopathic and wellness protocol can really challenge some very basic modern living patterns, and requires a commitment by the individual to change habits if the prescribed protocol is going to work.


Another example of the common reactions to introducing beneficial changes to health, diet and lifestyle concerns cooking. I encourage a number of my gut-compromised patients to bake a grain-and-yeast-free bread that can't be bought at the shops. I hear them say "can't I buy this?". Unfortunately, there is no commercial alternative to the type of bread I recommend. I wish there was. I'm sure in time this will change as the availability of health and wellness products and services expand. 


But for now, if your health situation requires you to avoid grain based bread and/or you wish to develop a higher level of wellness both physically and mentally, eating healthy bread basically requires baking it yourself.  Ironically, grain-free bread can be made quite easily and quickly. It doesn't require kneading or long hours proving. It freezes well and tastes good.  So, in actuality it is easy and convenient to make and freeze, but it does require a change. Change from habitually buying "it". Change fin the taste. Even change of the size of the slices. It's change that is the challenge.


Yet another example would be how to incorporate more physical exercise as part of a daily routine (where needed). Simply committing 30 minutes a day to walking briskly has benefits (well researched) both mental and physical, and yet this prescription can result in many barriers being put up.  One of the most common barriers I hear is "I haven't got the time". A little juggling around of the daily schedule and re-jigging of priorities can easily open up time for walking. Another barrier I hear is "walking is boring". There are always solutions if we want the end result. 


One of my patients got around his barriers to make positive change. He turned the boredom around and sorted out creative solutions knowing how important change was to his health. All that was needed was a simple diversion to the news-agent to pick up the newspaper on his walk. The simple solution for this patient involved doing the crossword whilst walking. It worked for this particular individual. What creative solutions might be applied to make your new habits work for you?


What really is the major issue with adopting different ways of living? Is it just comfort and familiarity with the old? Or are dietary and lifestyle changes being held back by feelings of separation from our peers? Is it the discomfort with not feeling part of the norm, as if one is an outsider, or is there something more? 


We are all different and each of us has unique challenges when change is required, especially when we are not ready for these changes.  


If you hear yourself resisting changes that will enhance/be good for your health, it might be helpful to ask yourself the following questions:-


1) Am I really ready to make the required changes to improve my health situation at this time?

2) If yes, on a scale of 1 out of 10 what would be my level of readiness now?

3) If your answer was 7 out of 10 or less, what would have to happen to make your score higher?

4) If the answer to 3) is realistic within the parameters of your protocol, then find a way to implement it

     If the answer to 3) is unrealistic,  is there a way around it by re-prioritising or re-thinking?

     If you can't find a way by yourself, it may be worthwhile exploring the above with your practitioner.  


The above is just one of many Wellness Coaching solutions that may be helpful in supporting you to move forward.


If the answer to question 1 is "No, I'm not ready to make the required changes to improve my health at this time", it may be beneficial to explore other options that may provide a step by step bridge towards achieving health improvements.  Wellness Coaching techniques may help, or if necessary, they may suggest a referral to an accredited professional that can explore other mind based strategies to define and manage potential obstacles. 



The above Wellness Coaching Strategies may be helpful in supporting your journey towards your health and wellness goals, particularly if you start to notice resistance to change or sabotaging thoughts/behaviours  creeping in.  


So are you are ready for the thing called change?


If you are, phone me 0421 379615, or get in touch via e-mail


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