How Do People Commit to a New Lifestyle?
There are MANY reasons to want or need to change your lifestyle
For some it is about fitness and fat loss, for others it is about finding and commiting to a therapeutic protocol. My focus as a clinician is on Autoimmune disease, Trauma Recovery and Addiction. This article will focus on committing to those kinds of changes. The opportunities described should help anyone have a meaningful and personal conversation with themselves about making some big decisions.
(This is an excerpt from my new book – The Ancestral Autoimmune Protocol)
Since we have never met, I have no way to know what would inspire you. Given what I have seen clinically and experienced personally, I want to offer you some insights that seem to touch the people on a healing journey the most.
There are many theories, protocols, and things you can buy to improve your health. If you want big muscles, try this, if you want a smaller bum, try that. If you have depression, buy this, and if you have cancer try and buy everything and anything.
Some of these things will work and many more will not. It is all about how you make your choices!
When it comes to chronic illness, you will naturally start trying new things.
Changing your diet and lifestyle to improve your health and/or resolve a complex condition is mostly about the process. How do I lose weight? How do I reduce inflammation? How do I stop obsessing about the future or past? How do I find the willpower to committ and stay the course?
“The process is a good start ~ but it is not the reason you will change your life.
In order to change your life, you need to find your ‘why’.”
When I am engaged in public speaking I have noticed that there are always four main groups of people. Four different groups of people all at a health conference because they have found their why. There are many other groups and many unique individuals, but these four kinds of people are always in the front row.
I am sharing my experience of speaking to medical conference crowds because it is those people who are already invested in healing themselves and perhaps even helping others. I want to bring your attention to what is important to many of the people who are already living very healthy and more effective lives on these kinds of protocols. I also want you to find your personal why. I present these ‘groups’ to you in no meaningful order.
They include Clinicians, Patients, Fitness Enthusiasts, and Spokespeople.
I also chose these groups, not only because they make up such a big part of a conference crowd, but because I believe that we all have a bit of these personalities in each of us
Your Inner Doctor
As a Clinician I spend a lot of time researching, learning, writing about and teaching all of the new theories and protocols about health, especially about Autoimmunity. Meeting with and learning from other clinicians is always an enriching experience. When I meet with clinicians or highly self-educated patients, I am aware that I am talking with a person who wants to have access to the science, the statistics and the ‘true stories’ of what works.
If you are going to commit so much time and effort into your health, you will feel more confident as a member of your personal healing team by embracing your inner clinician. You have already started by reading this and hopefully will fall in love with feeling more informed and on the leading edge of science and shared human experience. Your inner doctor (or any good doctor) needs to be patient, curious and kind. These protocols can take a few months to see significant results. There are fascinating reasons that this is true. Every year there is another breakthrough that changes the way science understands some aspect of immunity or epigenetics.
Be curious. Try new things.
If ancient healing traditions and modern science can agree on anything, it is human kindness. If your immune system is kicking your butt, there is probably something else very stressful your life. Maybe it is your environment, or more often the behavior you learned as a child. Constant aggression, conflict, judgment, impatience, and loneliness will all tell you that kindness doesn’t matter. I am not suggesting you become a doormat, just don’t be impatient with yourself and others for a while. Every doctor recommends stress reduction.
Your inner clinician just wants to know that what he or she recommends is safe and will work. There is only one way to find out.
Start with being the kind of doctor who takes the time to listen and is willing to learn and try new things.
Your Inner Fitness Enthusiast
We all have a body image.
Your inner Fitness Enthusiast always has goals, or at least a working agenda, or a list of ‘should haves’ in a drawer – somewhere…, Right?
If you are going to restructure your life and diet in such a profound way, you will naturally appreciate it when those last 15 pounds follow the rest. Maybe losing weight is not on your to-do list. Instead, you could explore getting into the best shape of your life, or at least get to the next level of your training.
Or, you could start with a Qi Gong or Tai Chi class or perhaps give some Restorative Yoga a try.
Talking to a large room of fitness enthusiasts is always fun and exciting because they are all about focus, attitude, and goals. If that is you, AWESOME! If your intuition is warning you that you are too worn down to work harder, then please consider this. Imagine that your body is a horse and your mind is the cowboy. If your horse is malnourished, inflamed and exhausted, kicking it harder may not get you where you want to go. Or, anywhere for that matter. I would encourage anyone wanting to improve their health or fitness to focus on a balanced metabolism and strong internal organs first.
If you are already invested in your fitness, you may need to take a break from serious training, especially endurance training for a few weeks or even months. It is important to make sure your metabolism, immune system and detoxification pathways are all stable and resilient. This is why starting with your diet is so essential.
I have been an athlete for most of my life. I completely agree that people need to move, metabolisms need to be challenged, and muscles need to grow and stretch.
Sometimes, however, people need to repair their body, organs, and cells first.
Then they can use their willpower to focus on fitness goals.
In some way, we are all patients.
At some point, we will all want to change how we feel. Or, perhaps we will need to change a specific process in our body. This is especially true when you notice that things are not going so well. Both, your inner doctor and your inner patient want to be reassured that what you are doing is worth the cost and effort.
Most of us who call ourselves chronic illness patients are too tired to waste time with some fad.
How about you?
Let me reassure you that this is the most effective stand-alone protocol I have seen in over 23 years of clinical practice. As you learn the common sense of a Nutrient-Dense Diet, of Eating Seasonally, and of embracing some Grandmother Wisdom and Modern Folk Medicine you will be much more confident as you nurse your way back to health. I also recommend meditation as an essential part of healing to any of my patients.
I would strongly encourage you to meditate if you are high on the Autoimmune Spectrum. (Article coming soon)
The way most of us learn and interact has changed so much in the last 15 years, that we are almost as busy catching up as we are busy actually learning and connecting. Although the internet can be challenging for some of us, it is the best source for honest human inquiry into EVERYTHING. Which means it is also the home of all the crap.
Most people online agree that YouTube is a great place to learn almost anything. My hope in sharing this is that you mayf ind someone online with a similar diagnosis. You might even get to like their style. Eventually, they may become your inner spokesperson’s mentor. Someone who gets what you are going through and has direct experience with what works. It is even better with Podcasts. If you are new to podcasts, imagine a doctor or a patient explaining exactly what works and why – in detail…, for hours…, with a transcript. For Free!
Your Inner Spokesperson
The internet is the new University of Life and your professors are your Spokespeople. If my theory is correct, we are all a spokesperson in a certain way. We all naturally identify with an idea, a social movement, or a lifestyle change as a reflection of who we are. It is all about confidence. It is like an instinct. Your inner Spokesperson wants to be a part of a movement. To learn and grow and share what we are up to.
You may not want to participate with the online social groundswell around Ancestral Diets, but I want you to be aware that this protocol is fast becoming the worldwide standard approach to resolving Autoimmunity. Joining an Online Forum specific to your medical condition can help keep you keep up to date on what is working and also encourages you to ask questions that your doctor may not know the answer to.
I believe that we all have many voices in our minds. It could be your parents, your teenage self, your worst roommate or your deepest love. There is a form of therapy called Voice Dialoguing that asks you to have a meaningful conversation with the voices in your mind. No, this won’t make you go crazy. If you are curious, check it out online. There are some great experiential classes on YouTube.
I bring this up because you will learn a lot if you give this a try. Have a Chat with your inner doctor and patient about your health, the changes you need to make and what to expect. Sit down with your inner goal-orientated Fitness Enthusiast and Spokesperson and make sure you are taking an approach that actually includes your present state of Being and state of health.
Take an honest inventory of the voices that are deciding your why.
Focus on kindness, confidence, and patience.