Saturday, 13 May 2017

7 Days of Soul: Stop the Suck

This is day 1 of a 7 day challenge being led by Alexi Panos -- each day we’ll do a “stretch” -- an exercise in living more soulfully and joyfully.

So, today, we’ve been asked to identify at least one “soul suck” that we’re going to eliminate for the next 7 days -- something that takes us away from our higher selves. I’m going to try for three: two that I know how to eliminate, and just need practice, and one that I’m not sure how to do. Please help me with all three -- hold me accountable on the first two, and I’d love to hear ideas on how to accomplish the third. OK -- here goes!

Soul Suck 1 -- processed food

Less of the top;
more of the bottom

I’ve been on quite a journey with food over the last couple of years, from a place of fear and really destructive eating patterns (restriction and binging) to a place of eating purposefully, mindfully, and joyfully (most of the time anyway!) I have the expert guidance of my dietitian to be thankful for transforming my thinking about food and taking my fear away. I’ve come to really enjoy fresh food, and eating things as close to their natural state as possible, and actually eat very little processed food any more. These days, the processed food that I still consume is usually in the form of protein bars, and the occasional dessert treat.    So, why target processed food this week?     

  • While I no longer think of any food as “good” or “bad”, I know that when I respond to my body’s hunger signals by eating something processed and out of a packet, I’m losing an opportunity to eat something that I know I would enjoy more. So, first, there’s an opportunity cost every time I choose processed over raw or fresh.

  • Second, I have had a couple of really powerful experiences where a life coach has led workshop participants to imagine a future version of ourselves -- one we would like to be -- and to think about how that self lives. When I imagine what that self eats, I see them eating fresh, whole foods, not stuff out of a packet. So ditching the processed food will bring me closer to them and how they live.
  • Third, I have been inspired by a different life coach who teaches the importance of eating purposefully and in alignment with your values. Eating a protein bar serves no purpose that a handful of raw nuts won’t. And a piece of fruit surely fulfils the purpose of “a refreshing treat” just as much as an ice-cream does… and in each case, one is more in line with my current values than the other.
So… no processed food this week! Please remind me if you see me slip!

Soul Suck #2 -- negative talk (without action)

So much for what’s going into my mouth… what about comes out of my mouth?

I don’t think of myself as an overly negative person, but I do know that I could do better. This week, I want to stop saying negative things: about people, about businesses, about politics UNLESS it’s in the context of contributing to a solution, or raising awareness with a view to taking some kind of actual action on an issue.

This one was inspired by one of Alexi’s prompts: that for some people, the “soul suck” they might need to remove for a week might be a person or a particular relationship.

I’m lucky in that I don’t think I have people like that in my life. But it made me turn the challenge around and think: “what role do *I* play in spreading negativity in the world?”

I want to do better. Again, if you hear me doing this, please remind me that I said I wouldn’t!

Soul Suck #3 -- Being critical of my body

This is the one that scares me. I know how to do the other two, but this is the real “stretch” and to be honest, I don’t know what to do here.
I’ve lived most of my life hating the way my body looks. And all the big changes I’ve made to it over the last two years haven’t cured that.

Yes, I’m definitely happier with my appearance than I was, but I discovered that somewhere along the way, my hate became disconnected from objective reality. And, I’ve found new things to be critical of.

So, escaping from a place where I just thought I was too fat, I’m now found a whole heap of new things to be critical of. It’s like the overall amount of criticism hasn’t gone down at all, but becoming leaner has just displaced most of that criticism to other parts of my body (while still thinking that I’m too fat). These are things that had never bothered me before, and consciously, I know that some of them are just completely objectively untrue. There are some fun cognitive distortions at work.

At the very least, I commit to challenging these thoughts this week, and borrowing another technique learned from life coaching: each time one of them surfaces, I will ask myself “Is that true?” and “how do I know?” That should be a starting point at least.

But if you can think of any other way to block or derail these ideas, please help me with suggestions. Has anything worked for you?

No comments:

Post a Comment