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April 9, 2012 / amberwoodterracechiro

If It’s Important to You, You’ll Find a Way. If Not, You’ll Find an Excuse!

 I can’t remember where I got that quote, but I wrote it down and posted it on my computer.  I see it everyday.  If you are being completely honest, we have all made excuses in order to avoid things that we don’t want to do.  For some people, it’s all about not wanting to give up their current food for the dreaded “healthy food.”   For other people it’s not wanting to get off the couch and go for a walk.  For those who abuse drugs, it’s the same idea; they just happen to abuse something illegal.  The most difficult thing to change in my opinion, however, is a mindset.

I have deep respect for a doctor by the name of James Chestnut.  I suppose you could say that he has helped shape my path as a practicing physician.  I recently bought his “Wellness Paradigm ” DVD in hopes of having a patient viewing at some point.  I learn something new myself every single time I watch it!  Anyway, he hits home a point in that DVD that until a person changes their truth, or idea about something, the habits and actions never really change.  I laugh out loud, literally, when I hear him go through that idea.  I’m not going to quote directly but I’ll deliver the gist:

Take someone who hates exercising and tell them they need to start exercising every morning.  They have heard it a hundred times and know exactly why they need to start moving their body.  However, they don’t directly equate exercise with instant gratification.  So, this is what happens:  “I set my alarm for 5am to go exercise. I hate exercise.  I need to make sure I get up tomorrow morning to start exercising.  God, I hate exercising. But I NEED to start exercising!  AAHHHHH, why does exercise suck so bad if it’s good for me?!” Guess who hit snooze and never made it to one single day of exercise?  You guessed it.

Same exact idea goes for healthy food choices; most people do not directly equate eating bread with causing MS 15 years down the road.  We just don’t think like that!  However, if you can change the mindset about food, exercise, ad positive thinking, the attitudes about those things change and actions ALWAYS follow your personal set of values.  If you guys remember one of my very first posts about new year resolutions, I stated that a lot of members at my gym would be devastated to hear that they had an injury that kept them from working out.  They ALL started somewhere, at some point, NOT wanting to work out.  However, the value set around exercising has changed.  At this point, it has changed so much for many of them that they don’t understand why people despise exercising so much!

I want everyone to think about their favorite food.  Think of how it smells, how awesome it tastes, how you could never give it up.  Now think about your favorite food with the addition of arsenic.  If I put poison in your favorite food, would you want to eat it?  The poison has no taste or texture; therefore, your favorite food still tastes the same, smells the same, gives you the SAME EXACT feeling of “awesomeness” when you eat it!  However, my guess is that many of you would not eat it if I put arsenic in it.  WHY NOT?  It is still your favorite food, the pleasure of consuming it has not changed at all!  However, you now equate your favorite food with something that is not congruent with what you want (assuming you want to live).  I would love to do that experiment in the office!  Put out a bunch of cupcakes, have patients come in, have their eyes light up, go to grab one, and have me inform them that there is poison in them.  They would put it down immediately (I’m assuming).  However, 2 seconds ago, they associated that same food with pleasure. Note: I did not say “Don’t eat that cupcake”…but yet, that person chose not to eat it.  All I did was change the value system of eating the cupcake.  Eating that cupcake now equals something negative as opposed to positive.

This is what I try to accomplish with my health classes and nutrition courses.  If I can educate you and help you change your value system, then your actions change without hesitation.  Someone that would never turn down a cupcake, instantly puts down a cupcake on their own accord.  Seems drastic, but it’s that simple.  I will never let anyone eat “paleo” because Dr. Angela told them to.  People begin eating a certain way under my guidance because they have a goal and see it as a path.  Most of my nutrition patients that go through an individualized program STILL eat that way!  The reason is because I used those 8 weeks to change their values.  Once I changed their values, THEY CHOOSE to eat things congruent to that value set.  Willpower never works.  NEVER EVER.

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