Loving Kindness + Living Foods
Most of us were not raised on green juices & green smoothies. I personally grew up on a diet of mostly processed food. Lots of high fructose corn syrup & mysterious ingredients with names that I still can’t pronounce. Back then, “healthy” meant Diet Coke & Lean Cuisine.
Here’s the thing—when we grow up stuffing ourselves with comfort foods that are devoid of life force, we get “comfortable” having very little life force flowing through us. It feels normal.
Integrating more living foods into our diet leads to real transformation. It feels good. Really good.
And yet, when we make life-affirming changes in the way we eat, no matter how good it feels, it’s common to revert to our old ways when stress hits. As they say, “When in stress, we digress.”
When we’re overwhelmed, we want to get back to our comfort zones. This is a healthy impulse to calm our nervous systems down. It’s just tricky territory because that healthy impulse can trigger old, unhealthy coping behaviors like eating foods that numb rather than nourish.
It’s very easy to set an intention to be healthier, and it’s very hard to consistently stay in alignment with that intention. We have all sorts of unconscious competing needs that can overpower our desire for a healthy lifestyle.
Lasting lifestyle changes require mindfulness, patience and persistence.
I can still remember learning to play the flute as a young girl. As I would learn to play songs that were more complex, I would find it hard for my fingers to switch positions fast enough. The only way for me to learn was to consistently slow down and then practice, practice, practice. Eventually I would be able to play fast, complex songs, but it took time to get there.
Making changes to our lifestyle takes practice, just like learning to play an instrument. It takes time because we are developing new neural pathways in our brains and those pathways are strengthened through repetition.
If you find yourself turning to old, unhealthy ways when stress hits, here are a few strategies that can help:
- Clearly set your intention. Decide what your aim is. Write it down in simple terms. My current intention is “loving kindness + living foods.” I use it like a mantra to keep me in alignment with my values.
- Practice mindfulness. Throughout the day, notice how you are feeling and what you are doing in response to those feelings. When you feel stressed or depleted, practice slowing down, taking a deep breath, and repeating your intention internally.
- Keep realigning your attention with your intention. When you notice that your actions are not lined up with your aim, gently forgive yourself and realign with your intention. Return to your breath and take one clear step in a positive direction. Move slowly, focusing on small, gentle steps in the direction of more aliveness. The goal here is progress, not perfection.
Each time you make a healthy decision, you reinforce neural pathways in your brain that make it easier to do it again in the future. It’s like blazing a trail in the wilderness—once it’s established, it’s easy to travel. When those new neural pathways are fully developed, it becomes a habit.
What strategies help you stay in alignment with your intentions? Leave a comment below & join the conversation.