Monday, February 07, 2005

A conducive environment to change

Please don't expect humanly impossible things from yourself! As I wrote in my last posting, you need to make decisions for small changes, not big ones (and, as I said, small changes are big ones!).

Another unbelievably important factor for change is a supportive environment. Each person has to figure out what that is for him/her. I see it happening in a few facades:

1. At home. It's not fair to set yourself up for failure. You would do that by having junky, unhealthy foods in your home. You have them there either because you like them, because another family member likes them or because you like to have them for guests. Is this worth your health? Well, I suppose shalom bayit (peace in the home) is worth it... You must figure out a way to make your home into a protective place for you. You may not get all the junk food out of the house in 1 day but you and your fellow family members can start working on this change. Maybe you will only have it in your house on Shabbat and then you will throw out any leftovers. Each family has to figure out what is good for them.

As I say over and over again, change is not easy, especially when other people are involved, so you have to figure out a sensible way to start the change.

2. Supportive friend(s). You may want to find a friend who will be your "Healthy Eating Partner". You call each other, maybe daily, to discuss your ups and downs. You can give each other chizuk (strengthening) and ideas about how to overcome hurdles. When you really want that piece of cake, you can call her and talk to her about it.

I see that one of the things that helps people, is to be doing something for someone else, as opposed to for themselves. With your supportive friend, when you stay on track, you are doing it as much for her as for yourself because through your actions, you are giving her strength and the feeling that she can succeed too.

3. Professional support. So many people feel they need someone who is beyond a personal relationship in order to help them succeed. One of my clients says she feels her "motivation wave" slowing down before she comes to me, and then our meeting give a big push and get her back on track. A professional person is objective and so will be able to see things you, your family and your friends may not be able to see. A professional will also be able to make sure you are making healthy decisions and not, G-d forbid, decisions based on the latest nutrition idea traveling through the grapevine.

Remember: You are human and nothing more. You must help yourself succeed. You must be realistic. And in my opinion, this will include starting, hopefully today, to build yourself a conducive environment for the change!