People ask me how I successfully stayed faithful to my program, Eat to Live, during these last five months--particularly during the transitioning from a SAD diet to a highly restrictive plant-based diet that so many struggle with.
The simple answer is: I made a commitment to myself: To my health. To my future. To ME.
Keep in mind that people are not TRULY committed to something until their actions and choices consistently back up their "intentions" (wishful thinking and impressive mission statements do not make anything happen).
So I had to envision what my commitment was going to look like in the form of my own actions and choices, and hold a picture in my head of The Map (where I am, where I want to go, and how to get there).
To that end, during the weeks I was transitioning--before I began my Eat to Live "Six Week Challenge"--I gathered information and ideas by reading blogs, watching videos, and interacting online with others who had already started doing E2L.
It did not take long for me to figure out that people eating even "just a little bit" of off-plan foods during their Six Week Challenge were unlikely to get the same amazing results as those who followed it "perfectly".
They also never truly detox, or win the battle over food addictions (giving in to them), so it is an ongoing struggle throughout their first six weeks and even after.
So I meditated upon the notion of committing for six weeks to “100% by the book,” and how that would look.
However, I still had "Cop Out Me" to contend with.
"Cop Out Me" is that part of me who wants things to be easy and effortless, with no real sacrifices. "It's all just too hard, too much, it will take too long." That part of me wants to eat off-plan foods because they smell and/or taste good (or--more often than not--satisfy some emotional need in a superficial, immediate-gratification sort of way).
That part of me wants to pretend the high calorie, low nutrient foods snuck in here and there don't really count, aren't really going to matter in the long run... or are just too difficult give up.
(This is why I track every EVERY single thing I put into my mouth, every single day, to keep myself honest and aware of the choices I'm making, good or bad... because I have a lifetime habit of kidding myself when it comes to food.)
Once I decided I could do this for six weeks, I did not allow that "Cop Out Me" to take over again even when she screamed and threw temper tantrums. Even when she grabbed a big handful of something and shoved it in my mouth when I wasn't paying attention. I just spit it back out, reminding myself that the Six Week Challenge was a short-term commitment to myself and my health, to SEE ... just to see... what amazing results might be in store for me, too, if only I remained true to myself. And to Dr Fuhrman's nutritional advice.
No one was forcing this upon me. It was a commitment to myself: The Real Me.
"Real Me" sees the long-term big picture of my Life, not just my immediate wants, needs, gains, and losses.
"Real Me" recognizes that the choices I make today are, in fact, SHAPING my future. In order to get the future I want, I need to make the appropriate choices to take me there, not the choices that left me dangling from a cliff for more than a decade!
"Real Me" puts my health and true happiness before everything else, including financial concerns and/or what smells so good and tempting at the moment. Or sad, bored, lonely, anxious, antsy I'm feeling (because feelings are fleeting things and not something to base life or health decisions upon).
"Real Me" recognizes that the key to happiness is radiant good health; because without one's health, nothing else in life is as enjoyable.
And the fact that I've been abusing my body for so long is the VERY reason it is SO important that I give it excellent nutrition and maintenance from here on out. Because if I do not....
"Cop Out Me" already robbed me of more than a fifteen years of my life, health, and sense of well-being. Doing things "Cop Out Me's" way nearly destroyed me.
So when, as I move through this new lifestyle that I began five months ago, I realize that "Cop Out Me" is fighting for control again, "Real Me" steps forward and cuts her off.
That’s the dance.
My commitment keeps me strong, until I have a period of temptation, or a bad day, or a series of poor choices that reawaken addiction behaviors... then Real Me needs to step in and contend with Cop Out Me.
Because my HEALTH and my FUTURE are far more important to me than whatever might stumble across my path and trigger an “I want” response!
Besides, I feel so wonderful when I’m eating 100% by the book... and drained when I eat things that are detrimental to my health. It is easy, in that sense, to revert to the healthier options.
And to make choices that shape the tomorrow I WANT to be living.