13 days ago I said my challenge this month was to eliminate sugar from my diet. Okay, it’s been 13 days and I now realize this behavior change is not easy for me. Ever since I made the challenge all I’ve been thinking about is sweet, sugary things. I’ve had peppermint gelato, chocolate cake, pumpkin pie, cookies, white chocolate mocha’s, chocolate candy, and buttery rich gluten free shortbread. I need to get to the bottom of my sugar behavior in order to change this action. On Friday, January 10th was my first day without sugar.
In the book Who Switched Off My Brain? by Dr. Caroline Leaf, I’ve learned that my behavior is fueled by my thoughts which are fueled by my beliefs. So I’ve decided to change my beliefs about why I think I need sugar. Yes, I know that sugar is bad for me in so many ways. I also know that I can do this because I’ve done it before. I’ve lived without sugar for six years once. I did fine; I stayed at my optimum weight with no problems. So what’s holding me back now? Why am I having so much difficulty eliminating sugar from my diet?
I think I’m using sugar as a comfort food right now. While I’m trying desperately to let go of some emotional struggles I’m going through, I turn to sugar, aka chocolate as my comfort. Today, I wrote down some of the reasons why I’m quite attached to this sweet ingredient and was pleasantly surprised at what I found out about myself.
Here are a few of them
- I’m only 50, my grandmother didn’t get type 2 diabetes until she was 71.
- No diabetes here.
- I don’t do this all the time.
- Once a day is not going to hurt me.
- I have one kidney, I don’t want to put any added stress on my body.
- I can eat what I want on the Sabbath.
- I deserve a sweet treat after dinner.
In looking at these and other beliefs I have about sugar, I understand I need to change these beliefs so I can change my sugar behavior. To help me illustrate my new belief with my thoughts and actions, I’ve used the table approach. As I add more positive thoughts and actions that support this new belief I’ll be adding more legs to the table.
My thoughts and actions support this new belief and help my new belief stay balanced.
With each new belief I am moving away from the grip that sugar had on my life. I am also moving forward in my quest to live a healthy and happy life. Changing my beliefs about certain areas in my life is a constant motion in moving forward.
If we stagnantly stand in the same place, we never grow and we never achieve a new level of wellness.
There is a image floating around social media that says “your beliefs don’t make you a better person your behavior does.” This saying is totally misguided because it is our beliefs that become our behavior, whether that behavior is good or not. Each and every one of us have beliefs about every aspect of life, and it is all of those beliefs that make us behave in a certain way. Some beliefs make us better versions of ourselves. Our beliefs should not be used to one-up or put down people. What does this have to do with our health? Everything. Because what you believe you bring about. Your behavior reflects your beliefs.
Everything in our lives is connected to who we are and what we say and do. Our beliefs are so connected to our behavior that we thoroughly need to keep a constant eye on what we believe to make sure that we are exhibiting that. If you have positive health beliefs then you’ll have positive health behaviors. You can’t have one without the other. You can’t go around believing that you’re in tip-top health if you’re behavior shows everyone that you’re a junk food junkie. You can’t keep eating all the junk food and expect to lose weight and be healthy.
A short glimpse into this is through a close personal friend. She reads everything she can get her hands on to read about health. She has cabinets full of health supplements and vitamins, yet she is still one of the sickest people I know. Why? Because all that knowledge she has, she refuses to put to use. Her health behavior is in direct correlation to her beliefs. When she thinks something is working, she is healthier. But when her belief in a supplement or treatment wanes, she becomes sicker because her belief leads her into faulty behaviors of the past.
I always have to ask myself, “Am I like this?” after spending time with her. And sometimes I am. I believe that exercise is a key component to everyone’s health, and it’s often the one thing that is left out of a health plan. Sometimes because of my own health issues, I don’t like to exercise and I will balk at even the mention of a walk, all the while knowing that if I just went for the walk I’d feel better.
I’m hoping I’m not the only one who goes through her many beliefs and tries to figure out the references that hold up those beliefs. It’s not a new concept. It’s been around for years. Every belief we have, has references that hold it up just like a table. Remove the references (legs) and the belief falls down, just like a table.
Change the references of your beliefs.
Change your beliefs.
Change your behavior.