The Know-It-All: How our change resistance defeats us

  • By admin
  • 3 September, 2016
  • Comments Off on The Know-It-All: How our change resistance defeats us

I am sitting at my desk looking over a new nutrition protocol. I didn’t write it. In fact, I paid good money to have someone write it for me. Someone who went to a different school, studied food science, and probably eats grains.

So what exactly am I doing? I had the experts over at Gauge Girl design a 12 week meal plan for me. It is based on macronutrients and a single, specific goal: Reduce body fat.

There are before pictures and after pictures. There are weigh-ins and measuring tapes. There are references to movie stars and bikini contests. There are meals designed around specific macronutrient intake. And horror of horrors, lean meats and reduced fat intake.

Every fiber in my body is screaming “This is not how you eat.” Sweet potatoes nearly every day? What kind of gluttonous journey am I about to embark on? Limit my fats? But those are the building blocks of hormones. I like having hormones.

Years of training, education, self-knowledge, and beliefs are chanting in my head, like a stadium full of unruly spectators.

BeforeThen I realize this is how many of my clients feel when they come in and I say things like:

“You need to eat more.”

“We are not afraid of fat.”

“If you want change, changes must be made.”

In this new experiment, I am going to commit myself to 12 weeks of a food plan that goes against some of my fundamental ‘beliefs’ about myself. And today, the voices of resistance are bringing our attention to the word ‘beliefs’ because they are often what keep us from success.

Let’s explore some things that keep us from change:

1. Beliefs. Beliefs are not science. They are based on emotional experience, faith in the unseen, and our brain’s desperate attempt to justify our behavior. They serve an essential role in our mental and emotional health, but we must be able to set them aside to make room for knowledge.

Some beliefs I commonly hear in my office are:

“I puff up when I eat more than 1200 calories.”

“I gain weight when I exercise.”

“I need bread.”

These are not based on science and self-research, but anecdotal experience that usually just confirms a belief we already have. We are all guilty of this every day. And if you don’t believe that, just observe how much of your Facebook feed confirms what you already think you know.

2. Poor commitment. We cannot half-commit ourselves to things and expect to reap the rewards of full commitment.

Many times, real changes takes steps and is a long-term process. We don’t like long-term. We want to have lost weight/felt better/been faster yesterday. Even though yesterday we ate a cupcake, forgot our medication, and napped instead of went to the gym. (That is a true story, by the way. The cupcake was amazing.)
3. Lack of curiosity. We replace curiosity with expectation all too often. People come into the office and tell me how their body will respond to everything.

“This is going to be hard.”

“I’m not going to be able to do this.”

“I just need someone to hold me accountable.”

“I need a meal plan.”

In changing our beliefs and thus changing ourselves, we must approach change with curiosity, not expectation. All of these statements can be rewritten:

“I wonder how this will feel.”

“How can I help myself do this?”

“Can I hold myself accountable?”

The truth is, we don’t REALLY know the answers to any of this until we try. Not just play it out in our know-it-all minds, but let go of our beliefs, commit to change, and approach it with curiosity.

For the next 12 weeks, I am relinquishing my desperate clinging to thinking I know my body. Because the truth is, I know how it responds to how I live now, but I don’t know how it will respond when I change. And I’m curious to find out.

Unless I change, I will not know the answers. Unless I commit to taking those small steps, I cannot create change. Unless I set my beliefs aside, I cannot commit.

Stay tuned. I’ll keep you posted on the progress. The one belief I am holding onto:

I am capable of change.

And so are you.

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