Restrictive vs Freeing

https://youtu.be/IRPlOt6ywT0

It’s Christopher Lawrence with Healthy Transformations Program. How do you guys put up with me? I’m so weird. Stay weird, hashtag, stay weird. Oh man, I was gonna go on this whole tangent about how in my life for a period of time, I used to call the hashtag a hash brown, so hash brown stay weird. But we won’t go there, we’re not gonna talk about that today. What I do wanna talk about today is a word that sometimes people use when they’re trying to change. Oh yeah, Christopher Lawrence, with Healthy Transformations Program .ca. That’s fun, hey? It looks cool. Okay, I’m gonna stop being a weirdo. Okay, yeah, so I wanna talk about two things that are, two words that are really important, and one word that’s actually really key when it comes to eating healthy and sustaining that forever. When people switch their diets to something that’s healthy, sometimes the word that we hear them use, Dr. Breen and myself, sometimes the word that we hear them use is that it’s restrictive. And so maybe, maybe compared to what you’re used to eating, you could have that perspective that it’s restrictive. But, there’s another way of kinda looking at that, which is maybe it’s not restrictive. Maybe what’s restrictive is being overweight and having chronic health issues, having an inflamed body, all things that I’ve experienced myself, and I can tell you, eating the way that I eat now is what produces freedom. Eating the way that I used to eat was restrictive because I was constantly sick, all of the time. And so, you know, you might just consider that. Like, is eating healthy restrictive or is eating healthy freeing? And, you know, I’m not saying that it’s easy but there’s this kinda term, right, which is like tough choice today, easy choice tomorrow, right? Or easy choice for life or tough choice today, easy life tomorrow, maybe. Right, so sometimes we’ve gotta make the tough choice to ourselves.

One of the things that I have to remind myself of is that I’m not so great that I don’t also have to say no to myself. Sometimes I have to reject myself, meaning, you know, I want that bag of chips, I want that donut, I want that piece of cake with icing on it. That’s at least what my heart and brain tell me in that moment, but I know that it’s not what I really want longterm and I don’t want what comes with it. And so sometimes I have to remind myself that, you know, Christopher, you’re an adult and sometimes you’ve gotta say no to yourself just like you have to tell a child. And I think we all kind of have that inner child, especially if you struggle with food. There is a child inside of you that is screaming, all the time for the bad stuff. It’s like I want it and I want it now, and I’m an adult and I can have it, damn it. And that’s a very true statement actually, is that you can have. The question is, do you really want it? You know, when you understand what comes with it, when you understand how inflammation works. Anyway, Christopher Lawrence, healthytransformations.ca. Please reach out to us. Let us know how you’re doing and let us know if you have interest in our program. Lookin’ forward to connecting with you. Take care.

Community / Influencer

https://youtu.be/GeFspTwi5kE

Why am I wearing a parka? Christopher Lawrence with the Healthy Transformations Program. Dr. Breen is not with me, but I bet he’s wondering why I’m wearing a parka indoors. Actually, I’m gonna go hang out with some friends in a few minutes, friends that I really like, who I surround myself with, who are really supportive, and sometimes they challenge me too much. Kyle, if you’re watching this, you’re not a good person. But what does that have to do with Healthy Transformations, weight loss, changing food behaviors, and food related behaviors, and food habits, and that kind of thing? Well, actually, I thought this was a perfect opportunity to do a video, perfect opportunity to do a video, enunciation matters. I thought it was a perfect opportunity to make a video because I was reminded about how important it is to surround yourself with the right community. When we talk about weight loss, reducing inflammation, all of that happens through eating correct food. It’s the eating the correct food sustainably for the rest of your life, that can be a bit of a challenge. So, one of the ways that we do that is we look at all aspects of your environment.

So, what are some of the aspects of environment that we want to, does it look like I’m floating on the ceiling right now? Yeah. Wooo. What are some of the aspects of your environment that you want to pay attention to? I’m just gonna talk about one today, but that one is about community and culture. So, certainly who we hang out with, influences what we eat. If we go out, think about this for a second, if we go out with a group of friends, and the first person orders a salad, the people after that might also order a salad. You know, and that sometimes happens, that sometimes doesn’t. I know that lots of folks have changed their mind about what they’re gonna eat, based off of what somebody else ordered. Where I see this mostly happen is at dessert. If the first person says that they don’t want dessert, mostly everybody else does too. So if you’re like, “I need to be the first person, “cause if everyone else has dessert, “I’m gonna have dessert, so when they come and ask, “I’m gonna say I don’t want any dessert.” And you just kinda cut everybody else off. Chances are, they’re probably not gonna order dessert either. The funny thing is, sometimes we can say no to dessert, but then our friend gets it, they bring two spoons anyway. “I didn’t want dessert, dammit! “Why’d you bring two spoons?” But now I feel compelled to try it, and you know, sugar’s like crack for some of us. Not me. So it can be a little bit challenging to stay away from.

So, the idea is that you surround yourself with people who like to eat healthy, when you can. And you become an influencer and a leader when you’re making choices. And this is one of the key ways that we can adjust our environment. Kinda cool, right? And then you become a little bit of an influencer in a super subtle way, and it can have a massive impact on your friends and family. Folks, Christopher Lawrence, healthytransformations.ca. I don’t know what that means, it’s some symbol that people do. I’m just excited about life! Okay, guys, Christopher Lawrence healthytransformations.ca, we will catch you in the next one. Please do reach out to us if you have any food related questions. Dr. Breen and myself are here to help!

Make The Easy Choice

https://youtu.be/YBJBEONM0us

Hello, team, Christopher Lawrence here with HealthyTransformations.ca. I’m wearing my sweater ’cause it’s a little bit chilly in my house. My spouse likes to keep the temperature at minus 17 in winter and minus 20 in the summer. So I’m cold. But that’s not what we’re here to talk about today. What we’re here to talk about is what I like to call make the easy choice.

So what this is about is when we are faced with a food craving, especially in a cultural situation, the, it’s so easy to give into that. And this isn’t about eating 100% correctly, 100% of the time without making any mistakes ever, forever, for the rest of your life. Although, I have met a couple of people who are pretty close. I’m not one of those people. So what do we do instead when we’re trying to change our food habits and work on behavioral modification for our food, maybe it’s also exercise, anything health-related? We wanna implement something called make the easy choice. So I’ll give an example. During the holidays, during the holidays, sometimes when I’m around family, when I say sometimes, I mean a lot, when I’m around family, I can find it very difficult with all of the spread of food. Like there’s food on the table all the time, nonstop, so it’s really easy to overconsume and get too much of even the right kinds of food. And it’s really easy to overconsume on the kind of food that might be incorrect for my body and my physiology, which would be anything with sugar. You too, just in case you were wondering. So it’s really easy to overconsume on that stuff. But so then, what do you do when you’re in that situation? Well, here’s what I do. It’s really hard for me to make the decision when it’s in front of me and I’m already hungry and it’s sitting there and it still smells good. I mean, I’m not gonna lie. Like, you know, some smells for me, it’s like I have no desire anymore, it smells gross to me. But some smells, they still get me and I want that food, even if I don’t even feel hungry. So where’s the easy choice in that case? Well, in that case, I might actually bring my own food, which I have done before. I’ve got a new salad, which for me is a traditional Christmas salad. It’s got some cranberries in it. It’s very, it’s, I don’t know, it’s just, it’s lovely. And so I might bring some of my own food and say, “That food over there, I’m not allowed to have,” because that’s a statement that works for me. You might also use, “I’m choosing not to have it,” or, “It doesn’t support my health,” or, “It’s not in line with who I wanna be,” or, “It’s not in line with my value system.” That food isn’t for me. This food is for me, right? And so that has helped me before. And even if I can’t bring my own food, even that kinda thinking seems to help.

I also try to fill up with the main meals. So I’ll make sure that it’s like, okay, with the main meal, this will eliminate my need for dessert because I’m gonna make sure that I get everything I need with that. I also play with timers. Like, I’m not gonna eat for 2 1/2 hours. And when that 2 1/2 hours comes up, I’m gonna grab a small or reasonable sized handful of nuts. And those are all easier choices for me than walking in without a plan. So the easy choice in that case is walk in with a plan. Walk in with my own prepared food. Walk in having already selected the kinds of food that I’m gonna eat that day. That’s an easy choice. I gave another example of this in another video where I talked about if I get gas on Friday nights, I am probably going to get a bag of chips on that Friday night. So the easy choice is to get gas on a Thursday morning or a Wednesday evening, some time of day that isn’t a trigger for me. Why are Friday nights a trigger for chips when I’m at the gas station? I don’t know. But they are. So instead of overanalyzing that and freaking out about it and saying, “What’s wrong with my stupid head,” I just say, “You know what, that’s just the way “that I’m built right now.” And I could overanalyze that and try to change it, which would be going against the grain of a habit that’s been there for probably close to 20 or even 30 years. Can you believe that I’m 40? ‘Cause I can’t. And you better not either believe that I’m 40. Anyway. Yeah, so, you know, where’s the easy choice? And the easy choice might be getting in front of where that behavior happens. That’s where the easy choice is.

So I hope that’s super helpful. Oh yeah and one more tip. Sometimes the easy choice for me is actually doing meal prep. If I get all of my meal prep done, you know, the night before or a couple of days before or even for the whole week, which is rare for me, I tend to do it a day or two in advance, but if I get it all done, then that’s the easy choice. And when that food is prepared, I feel compelled to eat it. ‘Cause I’ve got a plan, I don’t want it to go to waste. It’s really hard for me to stray from it actually. So that works for me. It’s an easier choice to come with a plan and prepared food than it is to, you know, kinda walk into my workday maybe, walk into the office and not have a plan for food and kinda just wing it. That is never good news with me. Some of you are perfectly fine with that. Not me. I use it as an excuse to eat garbage. And then I feel like what? Garbage. And then my body hates me because I’m treating it like garbage. Okay, that’s enough of that. Thanks, folks. Hopefully that was helpful. You can check us out, HealthyTransformations.ca.

Still Struggling with Food Cravings: Try These Helpful Tactics

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Cravings. The word alone makes me cringe and feel guilty, just thinking about eating low-nutrient foods. We all have them, and we all have caved to our urges at one time or another. But you don’t have to. While it isn’t easy, everyone can gain more willpower and replace our poor food choices with healthy ones.

The Science of Craving

Every time we give in to a craving, we reinforce the neural pathway to continuing to eat this way. This means, it makes it even more challenging to stay strong and not give in the next time. It’s like any compulsion or addiction, acting or doing the very thing you crave only weakens your willpower the next time you are faced with a craving. In fact, neurologically speaking, fast food isn’t much different than hard drugs.

Another interesting fact about cravings is that our gut bacteria play a significant role with cravings! Recent research shows that what we eat gives our body specific instructions. So, if we feed our body the right high-nutrient foods, you kill the bacteria that are hungry for those “incorrect” foods!

So, What to Do?

Well, there are two schools of thought on dealing with cravings. Both are helpful, but each addresses a different aspect of cravings.

Distraction.

The first is to distract yourself with something else, an activity that takes your attention away, such as, walking, reading, or tidying up. Find something that you enjoy or that requires you to think or move. This will refocus your thoughts and attention to what you are doing, and you will forget about eating. And while you might enjoy watching a bit of TV, I don’t recommend it’s often associated with mindless eating. By dulling your senses, it lowers your defences against cravings. However, distracting yourself from wanting to eat is a short-term strategy. It can be effective at the moment but doesn’t create the lasting results that will help transform your life.

Face Your Cravings

The second school of thought and I think the more effective path is to sit with the discomfort of the craving without running away from it. Avoidance or ‘numbing’ the feeling by busying yourself is an effective band-aid if you need to get through the moment, and I don’t want to discount the importance of that tool. Still, it is essential to face the craving and understand where it comes from. Not only will this strengthen your long-term willpower, but it will also help address and solve the root of those pesky urges for unhealthy foods.

Journal

One way that I find really useful is to journal. I grab a pen and paper as I like the tactical feeling of writing and doing something with my hands, and I jot down the following:

  • What am I noticing about my emotions right now?
  • What am I noticing about my thinking right now? What thoughts am I experiencing?
  • What do I notice in my body? What sensations am I experiencing?
  • What does my intuition tell me? Do a gut check!

Once you are finishing writing these answers down, observe and watch how these things shift and change in your mind. Notice that by not giving in to the craving, that the world, your world, is ok. At first, this will probably feel a bit difficult and uncomfortable, maybe even that it isn’t working. But that’s ok, because each time you sit with your thoughts and cravings, it will become easier to automatically turn those cravings into healthy choices.

In other words, don’t rush through the cravings and avoid them or numb yourself to them. Instead, be with your cravings and make friends. After all, keep your enemies closer, right? The more you face them, the less control they will have over your life.

Plan and Be Prepared

Remember, just because you have a craving, doesn’t mean you need to act on it. I would suggest creating a plan for your cravings. As most people know their ‘trigger’ foods and the typical examples that they crave, it helps to know ahead of time what you plan to do when that craving hits. I LOVE popcorn, so as I know this is a trigger for me, so my plan would be as simple as:

  • When I am craving popcorn, I will meditate for 5 minutes and focus on my breathing. If I am unable to meditate, I will go for a walk and then write for 10 minutes in my journal about what I am feeling.

So your example could be something like:

  • When I am craving {insert food}, I will {fill in blanks with lots of ideas of what you can do, including the suggestions in this post}.

Writing out your plans is more effective than only thinking about them. It doesn’t need to be elaborate, bullet-point works too. Do what works for you!

Lastly, make sure you eat two meals and three snacks a day. There is enough evidence to suggest that if you keep up your eating throughout the day, cravings are more easily curbed.

Additional Resources

If you need a bit of extra support and information, check out these four important questions for even more help understanding the thoughts and behaviours behind mindless eating. Remember, you are not alone, we all experience cravings, and everyone has caved at one point. If you give in, that’s ok. Be kind to yourself and start again. If it helps, journal for 5 to 10 minutes about it to learn from it. No journey is perfect, but we can get stronger with every step we take and learn from.

Christopher James Lawrence is a Co-Founder of the Healthy Transformations Program with Dr. Mike Breen.  He is also the Chief Value Officer and Founder of Change My Life Coaching and Co-Founder of Change My Business Coaching — a fast growing whole-life, leadership and business coaching company, and the only one of it’s kind.  He is also the author of “Go Beyond Passion: Discover Your Dream Job”.  Christopher is a Certified Master Coach Practitioner (CMCP), trainer and facilitator, and a passionate public speaker that truly cares about the success of each and every single person he comes into contact with. You can reach him here.