When it comes to making a breakthrough into eating for optimal health on an evidence-based diet, most people give up and decide it doesn’t work for them just when things are about to start getting a whole lot easier.
To illustrate what I mean – I’m going to tell a story about skiing, cross country skiing.
Cross Country Skiing is a lot more of a private endeavor than downhill. You often have the whole trail to yourself without another soul in sight. It is also much more forgiving. Being a complete beginner on skis on flat ground is quite different than being strapped into skis that are pointed down a hill.
Most people, when starting out downhill skiing, get some kind of lessons. Cross country – you can go out and muddle along and figure it out for yourself.
Well that was my approach anyway.
Sure there are techniques for things like maximizing your speed and efficiency (and not falling down when you do end up going down a hill). And definitely there is a technique for how to get UP hills.
Going up hills is hard on cross country skis. You have to figure out a way to defy all natural laws by establishing a forward momentum without sliding backwards, on skis that are designed to, well, slide. People, like my children, who have been taught proper technique, can skate their way to the top with grace and ease.
I on the other hand struggle awkwardly, in kind of clunky steps, and arrive at the top red faced and sweaty. And my nose is ALWAYS running. So I have to stop and take off my pole straps and my mitts and dig out my kleenex…
I like it best when there is no one around to see my graceless hill technique.
My children did cross country ski racing for years. They were lucky enough to have coaches that really knew what they were talking about. One of them, Petr, who had coached at the Olympic level, really, really knew his stuff. He could explain technique and mechanics in a way that was so visual that it was easy to grasp. He could get the image of what you were SUPPOSED to be doing to lodge inside your head.
But he was also incredibly blunt. Not a big believer in the shit sandwich approach – you’re doing great on this, you could work on this, and you’re really nailing this… Nope. He had more of an econmical ‘you’re still doing that wrong’ kind of approach. But he always provided the ‘how’ for fixing it. The kids learned a lot.
My worst case scenario was this. I would be gliding along the trails in my own hacked-together version of skate skiing, enjoying the solitude of nature, and I would come around a corner to see the whole gaggle of hot shot racer-kids (including my own) at the bottom of the hill with Petr coaching them on techniques to sashay their way effortlessly to the top.
You can’t turn around and go the other direction on cross country ski trails. So my only choice would be to go past this group and make my way up the hill, huffing & puffing, nose dripping, with a complete absence of technique, with the entire group watching me from behind, and Petr explaining to them what I was doing wrong.
I don’t know if he actually was doing this – but I imagined I could hear him clear as a bell in my head!
It was dreadful.
After this happened on a couple of occasions – I came up with a clever plan to avoid the humiliation.
I would stop and stand on the fringes of the group. I would graciously shake my head when they tried to make room for me to pass – no, no. That’s okay. I’ll wait until you guys go.
Petr would go on with his coaching as though I wasn’t there. Totally fine with me.
And this turned out to be a gold mine of information. Every single time I was ‘stuck’ behind this group I was rewarded with a nugget of skiing advice.
And one of those nuggets is a PERFECT fit for nailing the rewards you get when you persevere in eating to optimize your health.
The wise words of Petr:
Don’t slow down when you are cresting the hill. Keep pushing hard until you are over the top and have started going down on the other side.
If you think about this – and you don’t have to be a cross country skier to imagine it – think of running or biking – you work so hard to get up the hill that you have this instinct to ‘arrive’ at the top which means slowing down (or sometimes in my case coming to a dead stop in full collapse). Then once you have caught your breathe, are no longer seeing spots, you start going down the hill on the other side.
The problem with that approach is that you lose so much of the REWARD. You don’t get to capitalize on all the power and momentum you have built up like you do if you power through the crest of the hill. When you do that – you are unstoppable when you go down the hill.
And then when you get to the bottom of that hill and are going along the flats – or even starting up another hill – you are CRUISING. Instead of sputtering to a stop the way you would be without that extra momentum.
Adjusting to the changes you need to make in your lifestyle to eat for your optimal health is like climbing the hill. It’s like climbing the hill with my terrible technique. Don’t judge the experience based on how you feel when you are reaching the crest. Push THROUGH the crest and see how you feel when you are coasting down the other side in pure exhilaration. And seriously reap the reward when your momentum keeps you moving forward in a conquering direction.
If you stop – you’ll feel like all the effort was for nothing.
You’ll know you’ve crested that hill when everything starts feeling easy.
So here is what I want you to do the next time you feel like you are the only one in the world saying no to fries on the side or trying to be enthusiastic about a new food that you know will be really good for you – but will probably make you want to poop. Say to yourself – I AM PUSHING THROUGH THE CREST OF THE HILL!!
When you start zooming down that hill – you’re not even going to miss those fries. And, when your body has a chance to adjust to the fibre, that new poop-inducing thing you are trying may well become your new favorite comfort food.
Because you will have so much energy, feel so alive, be dropping pounds easy-peasy and glowing with good health. And that momentum is going to carry you through all areas of your life!
If you want to book a one on one consultation with me to talk about exactly what this looks like for you – I would love to talk. This consultation is free. You can see if there is a spot available here:
Want to join a group of like minded people who are at all stages of climbing the hill (and zooming down the other side)?
We’d love to have you join us in the Reboot with Real Foods Facebook Group.