I recently purchased what I thought were black out shades for my apartment. I had my mind set on what I wanted. When I spoke with the professional, I was very clear that I wanted and needed black out shades, so that we wouldn’t be woken up by sunlight in the mornings.
Turns out they were not black out shades, but room darkening shades, and they didn’t block out 100% of the light.
I was annoyed because she didn’t explain this to me.
I was annoyed because I spent a lot of money on a product and didn’t get what I asked for.
I was annoyed because I wanted what I wanted.
I had my mind set on one thing and that was it. The professional offered other options and wanted to make right by me. But I didn’t want to hear about roller shades or honeycomb shades.
Because my expectations were not realized, I was very disappointed with the outcome. The style I chose looked so elegant and the new shades, in my mind, were going to be boring.
What does this have to do with food and diets?
Everything! It doesn’t matter if you are dieting or decorating. We sometimes get caught in this cycle of thinking that is narrow and focused, wanting to fix something, when instead, what needs to be fixed is our perspective.
As I sat there, I realized I had to do something different because at the end of the day, I needed black out shades. So we sat and looked through the different options and the assistant said he would even come over with a mock up to show me what it was that they thought I should do. As we talked, I knew I had to shift my perspective or I would keep going down the rabbit hole of anger and frustration and would not be happy, no matter what. Even though I had my mind set on one style, I had to be open minded to other possibilities.
This wasn’t easy for me but I slowly let go of what I thought it should be and allowed room for other possibilities.
The same is true with diets and counting calories. When my clients come to me, they get nervous when I tell them to stop counting calories and to eat more fat.
“I can’t do that! I’ll gain weight!” (That’s the old perspective. We have been conditioned to believe that but the truth is that you need fat to lose fat1.)
“Where did you learn that?” I asked.
“I read it somewhere.”
“I don’t remember…”
If we read something and keep thinking those thoughts, eventually, we’ll believe it and it will become our truth.
What’s insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
So what can you do? How can you shift your perspective?
- Become aware of your thoughts. When you start looking at how many calories a food has, stop yourself and remind yourself that it’s quality, not quantity of calories that matters. Just because a bag says it’s a 100 calories, it doesn’t mean they’re a healthy 100 calories!
- Is it real? If you find yourself getting annoyed and frustrated, stop and pay attention to what visceral reaction you are experiencing. Is it real? Or is it a story you’ve been telling yourself? Write it down. Keep a journal so that you can explore where these habits, thoughts and belief systems came from. One of my favorite books is “The Fifth Agreement” by Don Miguel Ruiz which goes into this and much more.
- Eat more during the day instead of starving yourself. We get through the day, so proud that we hardly ate. Then evening comes and bam…straight for the ice cream or bag of chips after dinner. Why? You’ve deprived yourself of nutrients during the day and now you are craving foods to compensate. I talk about this in my free guide, which you can get HERE
- Shift from ‘cheat’ to ‘indulge.’ If you ‘slip’, instead of getting down on yourself, which many of us are so conditioned to do, pause, accept that you indulged (instead of ‘cheating’) and move on. It’s so easy to get stuck in our heads and beat ourselves up. This is about your lifestyle. And it changes and we have to change with it. It’s ok.
- You’re expectations are on you, not the other person! Even though I put this last, this is probably the most important one. When we expect someone to do or behave a certain way and they don’t, we get disappointed and become angry with that person, yet they didn’t do anything wrong and they’re wondering what the heck just happened! We’re making them wrong for something we internally expected and they had no clue! They are just being themselves and unless we become aware and shift our perspective, this could lead to bigger problems down the road. Once you become aware that you are doing this, you can stop, ask yourself why and talk about it with the other person so they know where you are coning from. Be honest, communicate and own up to it! Be vulnerable. Be open. And just keep practicing.
Life is about evolving and learning. We don’t know what we don’t know. But the only way to get through it is to start paying attention and allowing yourself to get to the root. Baby steps. You’ve got this!