January 5, 2011

Sure making a change is easy....in a vacuum!

I have never really understood the "vacuum" thing. I have heard people proclaim that we "don't live in a vacuum" and all I imagine is floating around in the dirty, dusty vacuum bag with zero gravity and lotsa dust bunnies around me - not to mention the odd spider I sucked up along the way (I'm sure that did not represent their meaning). At any rate, I'm using "vacuum" to define isolation, a void, and living for yourself without the influence of others.  I hope I haven't diluted or changed its' meaning too much.

Come to think of it...I did have my
fair share of Girlie drinks in my day
 So back to my post...last evening, after reviewing a successful day of exercise, eating well, and pretty much living my resolutions, I had a visit from my man-friend (coupled with a large bar of chocolate, tropical fruit juice - for "girlie" drinks - and a bottle of wine).  Our plan? To enjoy a healthy dinner (roasted veggies, grain rice, and grilled chicken) and watch a few episodes of Dexter (season 5 is turning out to be the BEST EVER!...but I digress).  At no point in time was he instructed to bring party favours...but he did out of the kindness of his (naturally muscular, never have to think about what he eats, just skip a few deserts and he loses the weight he wants to)....heart. Bless his pointy (albeit handsome and well meaning) head.

I managed to skirt the wine - having my fair share over the holidays I can't even look at a bottle at the moment. The chocolate bar was tempting, and I'm sure if I studied it long enough I would have jumped it but I managed to look away long enough to let the urge pass. Nope, the thing that pulled me in was the blended (let's pretend we are in Mexico again) "girlie" drink  complete with mango vodka x 2.  Whatever...it happened..no judgement...let's move on......

So it got me thinking about all those people in our lives that don't share our resolutions to stop eating this and eating more of that and going out for a bit of exercise. I work with many clients (mostly women) who are not only cooking for themselves but for their family. How does one manage a change when the others around them are unconsciously creating barriers to that change?

I know a few people who refuse invitations for parties and social events for fear they will overindulge and others that cultivate such a controlled environment that anything from a holiday to a trip may cause anxiety and fear of falling off the wagon. In my opinion, that's not "real life health" but more extreme living and perhaps a paralyzing fear of fat. So how does one live in balance, with others, and still enjoy long term goal success?

Could you imagine????
If you are living with others who may not share your resolutions for change, don't despair. The first step may include sharing your resolutions with those you live with and asking for their support. In addition, be sure to explain how you would like to be supported. If you find the support isn't there, can you find it elsewhere? Is there a few at work with similar interests? Can you create a support group with check-ins (as this has shown to increase rates of success)? In my case, I will most certainly remind my man-friend of my goals...however, if I'm lucky enough, he may just read my blog (nothing like passive-aggressive communication to put things right).

While it is important to have support through the change process, it isn't the end of the world if you don't. Gather your suit of armour in other ways buy journal writing (this is very conducive to successful change) and recording the barriers you are faced with and plans of action to help you avoid them next time. In my case, if I am faced with the potential of "girlie" drinks again, I will have 1/2 of a glass and call it a day or I may chose another option for myself.

Perhaps you can make changes in your household that will induce support. For example, if you do the cooking, chose healthier options for dinner. If you do the shopping, chose healthier options for snacks (instead of the chips). Hand over the responsibility of junk-food shopping to someone else and ask that they store it out of your reach. It really depends upon you and your situation. That's the beauty of "Real Life Health Coaching" I am able to sit with the individual and work through plans of action as they go through the change process. It works....as God is my witness...it works!

Just an example of an environment
that may influence obesity rates.
To conclude, we don't live in a vacuum (thank God...I couldn't imagine what that would do to my hair) and we will always be influenced by our environment. In fact, research is now turning its' focus to environmental influences as they relate to sedentary lifestyle and obesity (not that they haven't examined this in the past, it's just getting to the main-stream media more). I am hopeful that health promotion will stop focusing on the individual's choices and place more attention on the individual's environment in the future....but I also tend to see rainbows and unicorns (kidding.....sort of).

That's all I got today.

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