Last week, I met with two very smart, accomplished (and exhausted!) people who were considering signing up for private coaching.
They were both:
👉 professional women in their forties and fifties
👉 tired of struggling with food, weight and physical activity
👉 afraid that trying a new approach could result in another failure to achieve meaningful results.
They were especially hesitant to believe that a pleasure-based approach could help them get healthier—and their concerns bring up a very important point.
Just because something healthy feels "good" doesn't make it an easy choice—especially when it's new and you're stressed out.
Old habits really do die hard. They serve a purpose (relaxation, comfort, distraction, etc...), and replacing them with something new (even if you love it) can be tough.
➡️ For example, taking a walk after lunch rather than eating a candy bar might feel good, but it's hella hard to do if the candy bar has been part of your daily routine for a long time!
In past newsletters, I've written a lot about finding things you love (that also happen to be healthy) and building on them. That idea is rooted in the science of behavior change and has been foundational to my clients' successes over the years.
But I've found that, sometimes, especially when people are trying to go it alone, two things happen:
They don't know where to start—what changes will make a real difference in their lives and how to leverage small ones into bigger ones.
Once they pick something they would love to do, they believe the changes should be simple and easy, and, if they are unsuccessful, they take it as a personal failure. 😖
If you have been struggling to make a change, this week I want to be very clear that your reliance on old habits is absolutely reasonable. It makes psychological and physiological sense.
Those old habits served you well in the past, and, if making a different choice is hard, nothing is wrong with you.
The reward system in your brain associates the old habit with RELIEF, and building new associations with alternatives takes time and effort.
New choices are often strange and uncomfortable—even if you love them—but, IF you love them and you can build support systems to access that sense of satisfaction, you are setting yourself up for hope, success, and a new and different kind of relief.
If you're stuck, one piece of the equation isn't fun to talk about, but it's important:
To change, most people need to develop tools that can help them tolerate the discomfort of making a new choice.
There are lots of ways to build those skills. A few include:
Building endurance for the discomfort (sitting with uncomfortable thoughts in meditation is just one example)
Putting focused attention on relishing the enjoyable parts of the new choice
Working with a Gap Ritual (a tool I've mentioned in previous articles and emails)
And many more.
Discomfort isn't always bad, but it isn't fun either—and, unfortunately, it's usually inevitable, at least to some degree.
👉 I'm considering creating an easy, self-paced course on this issue. If you would be interested in learning more about both pleasure seeking and dealing with discomfort, please CLICK HERE to let me know!
My goal is always to help you feel well and break free of the worry associated with diet, exercise, and chronic stress. If I get a thumbs up from enough folks, I'll go ahead and build the course. If not, I'll look for other ways to help!
In the meantime, scroll down for info about how to find your favorite late-night SNACKS! 🥰🍿
Wishing you a wonderful week,
I have officially been writing the Hey, Health Coach column at Forbes every other week for two years! 😀
THANK YOU to everyone who has read the column, shared it with a friend, or written in with questions. I love hearing from you and researching the answers. Please keep the questions coming!
This week, thanks to Night Snacker, I got to investigate yummy, crunchy, cakey things. If you've been around awhile, you might know that I'm a night person by nature, so this one was right up my alley. 😎
Is it possible to have late-night snacks that both satisfy cravings and support your health? Yes!
Check out this week's column to learn:
➡️ 6 things to look for in healthy snacks
➡️ How to find satisfying substitutions for comfort foods
➡️ 7 QUESTIONS to help you find your new favorite snacks!
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Past posts can be found HERE.