I was feeling pretty sorry for myself recently. I’m on a sugar free diet, recommended by my chiropractor/Chinese herbalist. And for the month of March and early April I was fiercely adhering to the practices:
One serving of grain at one meal a day
One fruit a day
Apple cider vinegar after every meal
And no chocolate or alcohol. I know. I know.
Reduced caffeine (Well, eliminating caffeine is actually the recommended practice. I’ve gone off coffee and reduced from two cups of green tea to one cup. But at this point I seem unable to peel my fingers off that final cup…)
And it started working! I kept reporting delighted updates to my husband, who is used to my holistic health explorations:
I have more energy!
I am having fewer headaches!
I feel more resilient, like I can handle more stress in my system without getting sick!
And then I came home from my New Mexico retreat and was so happy at how lovely the whole thing was that I promptly started eating lots of chocolate. And double servings of my husband’s really good French toast (with powdered sugar). And he actually makes delicious grilled cheese as well so I had some of that one night too. Oh and the kids had s’mores camping while I was away. I have a weak spot for marshmallows so downed some of those leftovers from the bag in the pantry as well.
(Thinking: “Hey! My immune system is doing so well now and I have this big work project behind me so lets see if I can slide for a bit…”)
You see where this is headed.
Then I even shared a cider with my man and got all hot and bothered watching the presidential debates (you know I love democracy. Even when it is ugly).
This partial sugar reduction worked for a while (hey, I was still probably eating less than usual!) Until it didn’t. And my body started giving me little nudges.
First some headaches.
Then fatigue linked up with me.
Finally a really bad headache. (I hate it when I wake up with them. It just seems supremely unfair.)
I tried half-heartedly to “reset” a few times but it took the big headache/sick day to wake me up.
So Monday I took the day off to rest and recover. I sat in a detoxifying bath (2 cups of Epsom Salts plus my current fav essential oils: Geranium (which nourishes the heart, reduces inflammation and makes you happy) and Frankincense (grounding + good for skin.)
While in the tub I engaged in a tapathon. And as I tapped (tapping = a form of acupressure) on the headache and other symptoms to help reduce the pain, (which it did! From like a 5 to a 2 on a 10 point scale!) other phrases popped up.
This is called a tapping tree. You start with whatever issue is presenting itself – the strong physical or emotional symptom and then you go from there.
And as these other phrases emerged I realized I was hung up on how I had fallen off the sugar-free wagon.
I had to forgive myself. I had to love that part of myself that was struggling with the sugar cleanse (as much as I do really want to kill that extra Candida.)
The other thing which helped me reset with kindness is to up the yummy factor on the food I can eat. Hence the featured omelet made with farm fresh-red spring onions from our CSA which just started this week. It is filled with dollops of oniony cream cheese and sprinkled with pink Himalayan sea salt. It was seriously good. (Why is it resting on a bed of Mexican heather you may ask? Just for the pretty. I like to eat in the garden and plopped it there to snap the pic.)
In my work with coaching clients and in my own journey I have come to recognize that one moment is the most critical in any transformational process:
It is not the starting.
It is not the celebrating what you achieve.
Though those are super vital bookends to the change.
It is the midstream reset which will make or break your transition.
When your best intentions have been carried downstream.
How do you create an island so you can stop your drifting and refocus?
The only way I know to do it is to acknowledge that part of you which is struggling, sabotaging or otherwise disrupting your better intentions and welcome it back home with kindness.
Tapping on the monologue (for why you are lame for failing to implement your goals) also helps defuse the situation.
Maybe you think you are weak for not being able to make the change.
Or maybe you tell yourself a story about how you are—and how you always trip over the same things and won’t ever be able to live into these new habits…
Whatever it is. Find your compassionate inner observer. It is your ally. Observe those thoughts and judgements and tap on them.
And then. When it starts to feel true: Connect to that part of yourself that wants to start over.
Remember it doesn’t matter how many times you get carried away. It matters that you are kind to yourself. And that you begin again.
Social accountability is a helpful way to seal in the new commitment as well. So telling a friend or a coach is a great way to resource yourself. If other people know about your commitment, and better yet ask you about it, it helps keep your goal in focus.
Now over to you—When you hit a roadblock in your change process how do you usually respond? And what helps you reset?
I’d love to hear your experiences in a comment over on the blog.What you share may be one tip or experience that someone else really needs to hear.
Love + All the Good,
PS I was so grateful to find my new Acupuncturist (who seemed to get my body and what it needed) that I almost cried. It is such a reminder that we cannot diagnose and cure our own challenges all the time! We need people outside our heads who have fresh tools and who can take complex issues (and options for responding to them) and break them down into simple practices to implement, day by day. This is where coaching shines. It is one of the many reasons I love to work in this field and support women who are changing the world, starting from the inside out.
Could you use some compassionate targeted support? I have one more spot for my Spring Clean Coaching Special to start this month and would love to talk to you, sister. Lets’ do this! Reply to this email with any questions + let’s get started! Xo Courtney
Courtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a holistic life and leadership coach and the founder of Bird in Hand Coaching. She holds dual masters degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Kennedy School, is the host of the Summer of Meditation Challenge and publishes a weekly e-newsletter on real-world mindfulness practices. Courtney teaches regularly on the Enneagram, meditation, and conscious approaches to leadership and parenting. She lives in Oak Cliff, Texas with her husband Richard Amory where they try to keep up with their three children and remember to water their garden boxes. Courtney can be reached at email@example.com.
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