I Figured Out Why I Eat Peanut Butter Every Night (Why You Sneak Ice Cream) EvenWhen I Don’t Want To.
I am a diabetes health coach and I am damn good at it! That doesn’t mean I have all my shit together by any means. In fact, being a flawed human is likely the reason I am so effective at my job. I am very familiar with the feelings of disappointment and shame that accompany poor choices during a well intentioned day! I am best friends with frustration as my body starts making decisions that my mind is screaming to avoid! It is not a matter of succumbing to cravings really, although it feels that way. It’s more a matter of following your programing. Like a computer application with essential rules and parameters, you and I, have laid down the groundwork for following a set pattern of behaviors and movements each and every day. Then, along comes a reason to do something different or very often a need to be different. This need threatens our survival and we are suddenly aware that something has to change quickly…like yesterday.
Clean out the pantry!!
Join a gym!
Do whatever it takes!
Start a journal!
Set up a calendar!
Swear it will be different this time!
Six Days Later.
Maybe I can just take a supplement!
This is who I am!
This is too hard.
I might as well enjoy life now (eats donut).
Life is too short (orders pizza).
Sound familiar? Yeah me too. But why?
Because staying in the lines of your programming is very easy and you can do it with little (ok no) thought at all. Do you think about taking a shower? No, you just do it. The steps are automatic.
However, waking up each day and performing new tasks with new foods and a new routine is physically and mentally exhausting. It’s like flexing a muscle. Eventually it gets tired and you have to put down the weight. You notice that when your intention moves to picking the weight up again, you dread it and anticipate discomfort. This is when you start hearing things like, “one set was good enough” or “why are we doing this?”
This is the program talking. We all have this and we all have to work directly to overcome the coding that is keeping us sick, weak, unhealthy or the furthest from the best version of ourselves.
That is why I eat peanut butter at night even when I don’t want to. Even when I plan out the day with the exact foods I want to eat, and the foods I want to avoid, I find a spoon of peanut butter in my hand by 930PM. My mind is not telling me to eat peanut butter, or snack at all for that matter. When I focus on if my body is truly hungry or wanting, it’s not sending any cravings or belly gurgles. My body is simply following the plan I laid out much earlier during a much lower time in life. My body is leading my mind to the cupboard and faithfully following the program.
You can apply this to any area in life that you would like to improve or that is in need of upgrading.
“I am going to write an article each week for my website, oops I wasted that time scrolling Facebook again”
“I am going to sort 1 box from the attic every week to declutter, oops I got caught up in the Hallmark channel again”
“I am going to find someone who really appreciates me, oops its easier to stay put.”
Ok, enough with the bad news. Here is the good news. It is possible to overcome this programming! The trick is to have a really good reason and do everything in steps. Seriously, that’s it. Super unsexy, but the results speak for themselves. But, I cannot over-stress the importance of the why.
That is how I am able to coach people from four insulin shots a day down to one, or from 12 cokes a day down to zero! It’s possible.
Here is how to do this for yourself with anything in your life. I use it of course for my diabetic clients and its works.
- For whatever you need to change, find out why. I’m talking about the real reason why, and not the reason that you give people as a logical argument for why. For example, I had a patient who needed to get his diabetes together to avoid early death, but his real reason for change was to throw it in the face of everyone who said he couldn’t do it! Death was not a big enough reason because it was logical. It was the emotional reason that made his success possible. Find your why and write it down. Don’t worry about how the reason may portray you as a person. Just find the dirty truth and accept it.
- Pick one thing to change; just one. There is a reason why crash diets don’t work and jumping into an exercise regimen with 6 sessions a week from zero is doomed to fail. Physically I have no doubt it could be done, but your programming is set to zero; zero minutes with zero days. Personally, I never start my clients with a change in physical activity if I want them to succeed. You should pick something that is easily attainable to make an early win in your journey. This starts momentum and increases the chances that you will persevere. It also tells your programming who is really in charge. You also want to make sure it is specific and measurable, otherwise you are likely to cheat and give yourself too much liberty. Here is an example. As a typically first task for new clients, they are asked to cut out all liquid sugars. Liquid sugars include milk, juice and soda. That is not how I present it however. After an assessment of their personal intake of liquid sugars, we decide on the action item. It looks like this:
- “Stop drinking juice with your breakfast and drink water only.”
- “Substitute three of the six sodas each day with a sparkling unsweetened beverage.”
- “Switch your coffee cream from sweetened to unsweetened.”
Specific and measurable. Each recommendation was picked due to the person’s particular schedule and so set them up for success on this one particular item.
3) Once that first action item is mastered, you have to pick another. Maintain that same reason for why in front of you. The first change has to be so habitual that you don’t even think about it anymore. It is only work until it’s a habit. The next action item can be an extension on the first or an entirely new area. I could choose to avoid juice during all meals as an extension, or pick a new food or beverage to start to reduce. This is where a health coach comes in really handy, but you can still make a good choice based on how well you know yourself (and how honest you can be).
Three steps repeated indefinitely until you have the result you wanted.
That is how you wind up six months from now with a totally different outlook on life and possibly a whole new life! The programming has to be changed slowly and methodically. This can be tortuous for people who are “all or nothing” type of personalities (again a big reason to get a health coach). Ironically, much of my work is focused on undoing the rules set in place by another health care provider who tried to fit the patient into guidelines instead of personalizing their approach, but that is a whole other conversation.
Full disclosure, I have not gotten around to ditching my spoonful of peanut butter each night. One step at a time ;).
Get coached at www.stophighsugars.com. Can’t wait to pick your first action item!