I recently heard Dr. Nick Hall, PhD, discuss how nutrients affect mental health and mood. It was great presentation--he's a wonderful speaker with lots of biochemical knowledge. One of the most practical pieces of information he gave out, however, did not have to do with nutrients, per se. He layed out 3 factors necessary for keeping it together during adversity (he's a hard core adventure racer):
1. Maintaining a sense of control.
2. Being able to predict what will likely happen next.
3. Maintaining a sense of optimism that things WILL get better.
In my experience with guiding people through personal health transformations, these rules apply as well. We all want to feel we are in control of our situation, and although we are never fully in control of anything, I find that the more a person knows about diet and nutrition, the greater their sense of control. In the context of making dietary changes, being in the dark about what foods are most nourishing and what foods can be detrimental can send a person into a tailspin. Therefore, knowledge is power and control. As far as predicting what will happen next, working with an expert in diet and lifestyle changes will provide you with foresight. One of the most important things you should know ahead of time is that you will most likely want to bail on yourself and ditch this whole transformation thing. It's inevitable. There is a constant internal battle between "healthy you" and "not-healthy you", and "not-healthy you" is relentless. "Healthy You" is your authentic self and is more subtle, and if you let him or her prevail, you'll find that he or she is much more fun to be around than you thought. Knowing that this battle is always going on and having a plan in place to make sure that "healthy you" wins is key.This is something that I am beginning to address with my clients. And finally, maintaining a sense of optimism that things WILL get better is "healthy you's" best ally. Positive thinking leads to more positive thinking and outcomes, and negative thinking leads to more negative thinking and outcomes. It's the Law of Attraction!
If you're on the path to optimal health or about to start down that path, these 3 factors will be important for you. It will be helpful to have a support system as well. Not just family, but someone outside of your family life who can provide an objective view of your situation along with expert health advice and coaching. Remember that it's not just about the food. It never is!
Blessings and Good Health,
The Gourmet Healer
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