I am sharing with you my written transcript of a YouTube live presentation that we recently presented and recorded which also includes a Q & A conducted with the people that watched it live. If you would prefer to watch the video scroll down the page and you can watch it right here on the blog.
I am reading on facebook and hearing from people who are stressed right now going through the pandemic and they are getting off track with their healthy eating and having trouble getting back on track with good food choices. The pandemic ten is being tossed around as people joke about gaining weight while going through this Covid 19 event.
I understand that, we are looking for comfort right now. We are stressed, worried, cut off from family and friends and we don’t know how long this virus is going to continue to control our lives. One of the easiest and socially acceptable things to comfort ourselves with is food. But most people are not choosing broccoli as their comfort food. They are choosing unhealthy, often refined carbohydrates combined with loads of fat!
Before adopting a WFPB lifestyle when I was struggling with my weight on the SAD – Standard American Diet – and yo – yo dieting I would let myself have treats.
If it was a stressful day, I was feeling anxious, or even a happy occasion I would give myself permission to indulge in something decadent – something that was calorie dense and of course unhealthy! Everyone says just one serving won’t hurt anything. I would tell myself, I had a hard day, so I deserved a treat right?
I looked at allowing myself to have something that was an unhealthy “treat” as self kindness. After all if I was in a social situation I didn’t want to be the only one at the party not having dessert! I didn’t want to feel deprived. Eating that food made me feel good, for a few minutes anyway.
What I didn’t take into consideration was how having that high calorie density food was going to give me a huge dopamine hit and result in cravings for more. It also wasn’t helping my weight loss efforts or helping to lower my LDL cholesterol, or reduce inflammation in my body, or keeping my blood vessels clean and clear, or giving me the nutrients I needed to be healthy and energetic.
This kind of self – kindness was really, self – sabotage which led to overeating, gaining weight or at least not losing weight, increased LDL cholesterol, headaches, fatigue and in the end making me feel like an out of control failure. Being a bit of a perfectionist and having success in all other areas of my life, not being able to control my weight caused me so much emotional turmoil. It is so embarrassing to lose weight and then gain it back, again and again.
After reading “The Pleasure Trap” by Dr Doug Lisle I finally understood that those high calorie density junk foods, desserts and etc were not really food and that my brain and my body could not handle me eating them without dire consequences both physically and emotionally.
Once I learned how much of a role food plays with my overall health the easier it was to change the way I eat and the way I think about how I eat. Not only did I have to change my eating habits but I had to change my internal dialogue.
What we tell ourselves is powerful. Choose your words wisely. Where the mind goes the body will follow.
This is my video presentation on this topic followed by a Q & A during the live presentation on our YouTube channel.
Let me share a story with you. A couple years ago a friend of mine who is WFPB and has lost a lot of weight since adopting a healthy lifestyle was at work. Someone brought into the break room something decadent that was a favorite treat of my friend. Everyone in the break room was excited and eager to have some of the special treat. So my friend left the break room and went to the ladies room. She posted in a private Facebook group that we were both in and said she was in the stall in the ladies room crying because her favorite treat item was in the break room and everyone else was enjoying it and she was sad that she couldn’t have some too. She was feeling left out and feeling sorry for herself.
I was on line at the time she was calling out for help so I commented right sharing with her how I reframe these situations in my mind. I wrote, “Don’t feel sorry for yourself – instead feel sorry for them because they don’t know better. They don’t realize what they are doing to their bodies and their health. Be glad that you know the right way to eat for optimal health and how to manage your weight. Be proud that you are not giving in to temptation and the consequences that follow the behavior. The only thing you are being deprived of is all the health and weight issues that go along with an unhealthy lifestyle.”
It is this different way of framing these situations that makes it so much easier for me to be happy about how I choose to eat. Don’t go along with the mainstream – then you will also have the same mainstreams health problems.
Saying “I can’t have that” sets us up to feel deprived and makes us feel powerless. Change that to “I don’t want that” and now you are in charge and feeling powerful and in control. Let’s get real, the pleasure of eating those treats lasts for just a few moments and then poof it’s gone and you are left with all the negative consequences. But eating healthy and creating healthy habits can give us on going happiness and joy. Good health is our greatest wealth!
I no longer feel left out when these unhealthy food circumstances present themselves. I feel honored and empowered to know what I know about a WFPB lifestyle and what my healthy food choices do for my overall health and my weight. Eating healthy is truly self – kindness. Being at a healthy weight is the real treat!
I was at a social event last year where I was the only plant based eater – someone brought a 5 gallon container of homemade premium ice cream to the event and everyone except me was going crazy for it, loading up big bowls of it and coming back for more. I didn’t feel envious or left out at all, instead I took note and witnessed how out of control it made everyone act. They were mostly over weight and out of shape, some were on statins for high cholesterol and this was the last thing they needed to be eating.
I knew that is how I used to behave as well when around that kind of food like substance. It made me appreciate my healthy habits and the fact that I am no longer driven by the Pleasure Trap.
Timaree Hagenburger is a local plant based dietician, author of The Foodie Bar Way cookbook and she teaches plant based nutrition at a local college here. She says, “Love the food that loves you back!”
Eating healthy food is self kindness!
When working with people who are adopting a WFPB lifestyle and trying to lose weight sometimes they will get to point where the weight loss stops, or they aren’t getting the health improvements they were hoping for. When we look at their food diary, I can identify some things that perhaps they never gave up or have snuck back into their food plan. If they were to remove those items, it could make a difference in their ability to reach their goals. But when I suggest that I am met with resistance. They tell me that they feel like they have already made so many changes, given up so many foods by going plant based and they just are not willing to give up anything else. They “need” these little treats to get through the day so they don’t feel deprived. They think this is self kindness.
But is that really true – if those “treats” are preventing them from reaching their health and or weight goals – isn’t that depriving them of what they really want?
The more bad habits we are willing to change, the more dietary changes we are willing to make the quicker and greater our results will be. If we are only willing to make 50% of the changes required then we can only expect to get 50% of the benefits.
If we practice self – kindness in a healthy way the rewards are tremendous! As I used to tell our children when they were growing up, when you choose the behavior you choose the consequences. We are all well informed about health and nutrition as we have studied about a plant based diet. We know full well what the health consequences are based on our food choices.
If you think all those little treats and indiscretions don’t matter think again.
Take my friend Al for instance. In his early 80’s he was a cardiac cripple – he had a stair lift installed in his home because he could no longer climb the stairs. He couldn’t’ walk from his garage to the curb to put the trash out. His cardiologist told him she had done all she could. She sent him to Kaiser’s plant based class just to have something to offer him. That is where he learned about several plant based books including The Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease book by Dr Esselstyn.
He immediately adopted a strict SOS Free WFPB lifestyle and within 4 weeks he was at Lake Tahoe going for a long walk by the lake! He lost weight improved his heart condition. He now goes for 12 – mile bike rides, he took the stair lift out of the house and he feels like he got a second chance at life.
Al never waivers from his healthy SOS free lifestyle – he is so disciplined.
Al chooses being healthy and alive over any kind of non – compliant treats!
He told me he was shocked at how quickly he saw physical changes just by changing the food he eats. He knows that he could just as quickly un-do all of those positive changes if he started to let his guard down and let non – compliant foods back in his life.
That is self – kindness! Al Loves the food that Loves him back! You can read all about Al Schmidt’s story here.
If you are struggling getting back on track just know that it only takes a few days of eating healthy plant foods for you to start feeling better physically and emotionally. Good health is the real “treat!” Practice self kindness every day by choosing the foods that promote optimal health and wellness. Love the food that loves you back!
May we all experience harmony as we practice self kindness.
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