The concept of nutrition affecting our relationships makes sense. If food gives us energy, and that energy affects how we behave, how we connect with others and our overall posture as we move through our days, then it stands to reason that healthy nutrition supports healthy relating and poor nutrition does not.
Sugar cravings is an addiction that undermines our capacity for consistent, balanced energy. Simple carbohydrates are found in most processed foods and cause our blood sugar to spike and crash all day long. Eating proteins with essential amino acids and complex carbohydrates helps to regulate our daily energy pattern. This, in turn, promotes healthy, skillful interactions within our circle of family, friends and colleagues, AND within our own selves.
Food cravings mean that the body has its signals mixed up. When we are exhausted or blue, we have low blood sugar and/or low serotonin, and the body signals the brain that it needs a pick-me-up. This signal causes a sugar or carbohydrate craving.
Serotonin is our basic feel-good hormone. If serotonin is low, we feel sad or depressed. And hormonal imbalance or weak digestion can lead to low serotonin. Unfortunately, sugars and simple carbohydrates release a short burst of serotonin — we feel good for a moment, but soon return to our low-serotonin state — then crave more sugar and simple carbohydrates. It’s a downward spiral.
Here's the GOOD NEWS! Poor nutrition, including sugar cravings, can be overcome. In order to move away from bad habits, we must first acknowledge that our bodies are going to complain initially. They have become accustomed to the sugar. But remember, this too will pass and your body will become accustomed to your new food choices. Your body will begin to crave what it gets used to. If you allow it to move through the transitional complaining period, and slowly introduce the delicious, natural taste of raw fruits, vegetables, and lots of healthy protein like nuts fish, eggs and cheese, your taste buds will adjust accordingly. You will begin to crave the healthier fare and actually become disinterested in the unhealthy food you once craved.
Try this experiment in your own relationship and see if healthier eating results in healthier relating. If “we are what we eat”, then don't our relationships depend on what we eat, too?
A few of my clients have been struggling with Ambivalence. And, for good reason, as this is a normal and necessary part of the change process. Life change isn't something that happens quickly or easily for most of us. It often requires small steps to discern what we really want and whether we are ready to choose it.
The second stage in the continuum of change is Ambivalence. If you have acknowledged that a particular behavior is problematic for you, wish you could change it, but feel uncertain about how to do it, you are in Ambivalence. As you move away from denial toward new awareness, you may linger for a time in Ambivalence as a place to rest before taking action. You are no longer content with the status quo, but are still unsure about what to do next. Congratulations! This is great news, because you are moving forward. It may not feel like it, but awareness brings you closer and allows you time to get ready to be successful.
In Ambivalence, you are being pulled in two opposite directions - your desire to change and your fear of changing. Fear of change is a common experience and may show up in different ways: fear of something unknown can cause insecurity but also excitement; fear of failure can cause lack of confidence but also motivate you to succeed; and, some people fear their choice will not be accepted by their friends or family.
Is is important to not rush, but also to watch out for inertia. As you consider your Ambivalence, try asking yourself these questions:
What would your life be like if you changed?
What are the advantages of the change? Disadvantages of the change?
What strengths do you have that will help you to change?
How important is this change to you?
What would happen if you gave it a trial run?
Having a sounding board, someone to bounce your thoughts and ideas off of, can be very useful. While a friend or family member could fit the bill, you may find that the objectivity and professional experience of a Life Coach provides a broader lens through which to evaluate the decision.
So, don't worry if you're feeling ambivalent about what to do next. You are likely exactly where you should be in the process of your life! Breathe, relax and open yourself to the possibilities that lie before you. You are growing and life is fun!
Certified Health and Lifestyle Coach, Sheryl Melanson, partners with people to transform limiting habits into mindful choices that express their values, create action plans and recalibrate their lifestyle to optimal well-being.