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Change Your Story

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Change Your Story

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You know those times in life when it seems like so many people around you are really struggling with something or multiple life things, including yourself?  This seems to be the theme lately for me. It seems that every time I turn around, I'm hearing a new story about something tough that someone I care about is dealing with, and my life hasn't exactly felt like a piece of cake in many ways recently either. I thought it would be a good time to talk about changing our stories. I've been focusing a lot lately on 'changing my story' which can help any situation that may feel hard to deal with into one that can also feel like a blessing. It can alleviate a lot of the stress that comes with uncomfortable circumstances, and leave us feeling grateful for a situation that we previously felt cursed by.

What do I mean by this?

Let me give you an example....

You arrive at work on Friday, and are called into the office to find out that you are getting laid off. You are shocked. Your initial story may sound something like this:

"I can't believe they laid me off with no warning! I didn't see this coming. How am I supposed to support myself? I barely get by living paycheck to paycheck as it is! My rent is due, and I've been saving a little and was really hoping to finally be able to afford to go on a vacation in a couple of months. There is no way I'm going to make it financially. I haven't updated my resume in years, and have no idea where to begin looking for a job. This sucks! Why is this happening to me? What am I going to do? I feel helpless."

It's pretty normal to react to a situation such as this with alarm, fear, and a story that doesn't feel good. The fact that you are getting laid off is not something that you can change. So, in this situation, what DO you have the control of changing? You can change your story. And it could sound something like this:

"Wow, I can hardly believe that they laid me off! This feels shocking, but if I think about it, I guess I saw some signs that this may be coming. Even though this feels scary, I'm going to choose to look at this as a blessing in disguise. I really haven't been very happy in this job recently. It's caused me a lot of stress, and I've been working hard, and still living paycheck to paycheck which has felt uncomfortable, but I've been too fearful to quit. Perhaps they have done me a big favor by pushing me out to find something better. I have a good friend who I know will help me spruce up my resume, and a community of people that I can reach out to in search of a new job. Since I'm getting laid off, I can collect unemployment for the time being to pay my rent, and I had some money tucked away in preparation for a vacation soon. I guess I get some time off now! Maybe I can use some of that money to cover some expenses and choose to visit some friends and stay with them for a cheaper vacation instead. I'm glad I have that option. I've been considering going back to school, or switching professions to something that is more fulfilling for me and provides me with a better income anyway. I guess this is the push I needed! I may not have done it on my own! I'm so excited to figure out what is next for me!"

Isn't that a HUGE difference?

I could continue with example after example, but you all are smart cookies, and I know you get the picture. We can change the story no matter what the experience is.

What's going on for you right now? Is there a negative story you have been telling around something that feels challenging in your life?

How can you change it? If you can change your story, you can change how your whole experience feels and how the situation effects you.

My challenge to you this week is to change your story. Pick one thing that you know you have been telling a negative story about and change it. Write it out. Tell a loved one. When people ask about it, tell your new & improved positive story rather than the doom and gloom one, and see how it feels.

How do you change it? Simply tap into the positives of it. Every situation has things to be grateful for, sometimes we have to look harder, but they are always there. Talk it out. Write it out. Work on it until it's a story that feels better to tell. I know you've got it in you.

Wishing you wellness,

Shelly

 

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Relationship (with food) Status: It's Complicated

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Relationship (with food) Status: It's Complicated

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How would you describe your relationship with food? Complicated?
I don’t like to generalize, but I think most of us have an at least somewhat complicated relationship with food.
What do I mean by complicated? Let me explain.
Let’s start by asking what food is meant to be for us?
The answer is nourishment for our body. That is food’s role, to deliver the nutrition that our body needs for growth & health. I also believe that we should enjoy the food that is nourishing our body, but the bottom line is that is that nourishment is the key role for food. That part is simple right?
Here’s where the complicated part comes in. Many of us eat food for many other reasons, and to try to nourish many things other than our body. Think about it. The last time you had a rough day and ate a pint of ice cream, were you thinking about nourishing your body or where you trying to nourish your emotions?
Our relationship with food is multifaceted. I think most of us eat for reasons other than nourishing our bodies. Emotional eating, sugar addictions, and junk food addictions are all part of our complicated relationship with food, and a very big subject I could never cover in one blog post.
My intention in writing this today is to get you thinking about the subject, and to talk about one small facet of this complicated relationship. What I’d like to focus in on today is how habitual it is for most of us to ‘reward’ ourselves with food that’s not good for our body.
This is a backwards concept, and one that many of us learned as kids.
Do any of the following sound familiar?

"Finish your homework then you can have a cookie."

"Behave in the store, and you can get some candy."

"Be good in your appointment today, and we’ll go get fast food."

"If your team wins the tournament,  we’ll have a pizza party."

I could go on and on.
 How does this translate into adulthood?

"I worked an extra long day, so I’m going to treat myself to ordering pizza tonight, sitting on the couch and eating it all."

"I’ve had a rough, emotional day, and I totally deserve a brownie sunday."

"I’ve been so good with eating healthy this week,  so I’m going to go to the bakery for pastries after my morning walk."

"I’ve gotten so many errands done today and haven’t eaten yet, so I’m treating myself to fast food."

"Congrats, You’ve been with the company for a year. To celebrate, we brought donuts."

Maybe these examples don’t sound exactly like you, but you get the picture.
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Many of us have been trained to reward ourselves with food that isn’t good for us, and generally doesn't make us feel good. Really, When's the last time you rewarded yourself with broccoli?  Besides many growing up with this influence, think about the food marketing that you take in. How many commercials for junk food send a message that sounds similar to this….."go ahead! You are worth it! You deserve it! You can find decadence & happiness in food!"
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not a purist about this by any means. I’m fully guilty of indulging myself with wine & desserts, and I’m aware that for me,  totally denying myself of these things is usually not a good idea. I personally tend to do better with a little balance of ‘naughty’ in my diet every now & then. However, when I indulge, I try to just call it what it is: Indulging. I try not to consider these things rewards for good behavior on my part because it simply doesn't make sense to 'reward' my body with something not very good for it. My point in this writing is to bring awareness to this  complicated part of our relationship with food, so that we can work on it.
Do you ‘treat’ or ‘reward’ yourself with food that isn’t nourishing for your body?
When do you tend to do this? How often? How do you feel after?
Now that we’ve brought awareness to it, what can you do about it? How can you work towards a healthier relationship with food?
Here's what I would suggest:
First, pinpoint the times that you really tend to reward yourself with food. What comes up for you? Is it after you’ve been eating healthy, or after stressful days, or after workouts?
Now that you’ve got some of those times in mind, ask yourself what else you could reward yourself with that doesn't involve unhealthy food? Perhaps at the end of an extra long day you could treat yourself by stopping to get a massage on the way home, or taking the time for a walk around the lake. Perhaps after eating really healthy all week, you could treat yourself to a new summer dress, or stop by the bookstore and get yourself that new book you’ve been wanting. Maybe after sticking to your exercise routine all week you can treat yourself to a relaxing afternoon on the couch watching movies, a night out with your girlfriends, or a pedicure appointment. Sometimes a great reward is just allowing ourselves some quiet down time in our busy schedule doing something we love.
There are a lot of other things in life that we can ‘treat’ ourselves to or ‘reward’ ourselves with, it's just that we’ve been programmed through life experience and marketing that a good reward for ourselves is decadent food, that's not beneficial for our body. This is a really backwards way of thinking about rewards, isn't it?
The good news is, new habits around this are possible to form, and being aware of where to make changes is the first step.
If you are someone that rewards yourself with sweets or junk food,  how can you work to transform this habit? What are other things you can begin to reward yourself with?
I'm not suggesting that you never treat yourself to food that you love and feel indulgent. I'm suggesting that we start fixing our relationship with food by tackling this complicated facet of it. Let's start thinking of food as nourishment, rather than something we treat ourselves with for emotional reasons. And let's start rewarding ourselves with things that are actually a reward to our body, mind, or spirit.
Our relationship with food is very much complex, and for many it can be very much a struggle. Remember that sustainable change is created through baby steps. Trying to change everything overnight generally ends up in failure and disappointment. Focusing on making one small change at a time is how we create new habits that stick around and that serve our body & mind in a healthy way.
If you’d like to work on your relationship with food towards a less complicated, healthier status, I invite you to work with this one small change and see what a big difference it can make for you.
Wishing you wellness!
Shelly

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