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Lifestyle Change (guest post)

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Well today’s post was supposed to be on my juice cleanse, however on one of my favorite websites the post today was entirely too perfect so I decided I would cut and paste it into my blog.   So enjoy!!!

From Crazy Sexy Life

Sharing Your Diet and Lifestyle Changes

by Kim Kleinman

changed priorities ahead sign

Everyone wants to change, but everyone fears it, too. Changing the status quo stretches us and the people around us, and like a rubber band, SNAP! Reaction! You probably have your own issues with change. Wouldn’t it be great if the people around you would help you get past the anxiety that comes with creating a new lifestyle? Of course it would. But what can you do if the people around you aren’t on board?

This is important. Changing your lifestyle can save your life, so take it seriously. Have a serious sit-down with the people in your life whose reactions to your changes are important to you. The most important thing to do here is listen. Answering their questions is fine, but don’t go into the defensive zone, and stay far away from the argument arena. What you are listening for is not so much their opinion about green juice or yoga. You are going to be listening even deeper for what they may be afraid of. Are they worried that you are going to drop your doctors, or that your entire personality will change?

Changing food can have a lot of symbolic meaning. Food and culture are linked. When people talk about diet change, I often hear, “No one in my family eats alfalfa sprouts.” Changing the amount of time you spend on yourself can cause a lot of dust to fly, too. Does it mean you resented your family or friends in the past? Does it mean you don’t care anymore?

After listening, the next step is thinking. Can you address these concerns and reassure everyone? Are you going to have to forge a solo path and hope your friends and family will follow?

Redefining your concept of connectedness may help. An infant’s concept of connectedness is formed around being fed, and the infant needs mommy or daddy in the room to feel safe and secure. Attachment can branch out and take more mature forms that aren’t based on concrete things like food or physical connectedness. It can take the form of being understood, remembered, thought about and cared about.

I overheard a college student complaining about his father’s lack of connection. He said, “My father doesn’t know who my friends are, what classes I’m taking or whether I’m sad or happy.” A college student who is hours away from home can feel if his or her parents are connected by whether he or she is kept in mind. If you need to rethink what forms love can take, you can bring the people around you along. It will be yet another healthy step. So when you head out for a run, you can tell your partner you will be thinking about something special for your alone time later.

When you skip the night out with the girls because you just can’t manage the temptation of the sugary margaritas and the fried mozzarella sticks, you can call the restaurant and tell the waiter to bring a bottle of wine to their table with your compliments. Tell the girls that when you feel like you are on more solid ground, you’ll be able to join them and have salad, as long as they promise to keep the sliders on the other side of the table.

Here are some tips to make the transition easier for you and those you love:

Communicate clearly. Give the people in your life a brief yet clear play-by-play of your moves. You may not know your final destination, but you need to clarify what your journey is. I’ve had times when I’ve emphasized physical fitness, other times dietary changes. Sometimes I revert to having some conventional foods in my diet, and sometimes I’m not willing to make any exceptions to my plan. It’s OK to change, and it’s OK to say, “Remember last week I was all about organic everything? Now I’m taking a break from that. It was too hard. I’m just trying to change as much as I’m comfortable with.”

Tone is everything here. Do you sound serious and resolved? You want to be clear that you take this seriously. However, you also want to make sure you leave some wiggle room. You don’t want have to hide when you eat a hot dog or skip yoga; that will make you feel shame. You are serious about the changes you want, and clear about your own intra-psychic rubber band.

Be ready to agree to disagree. Until now, you may have felt you needed to eat the same foods and do the same things as the people around you. Our connection to family and our culture is often expressed through food or shared activity. However, love and caring can be expressed in many different forms, the most important being talking and acts of caring. So if your partner doesn’t drink green juice, it doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t love you, and if you stop eating green Jell-o fruit salad, it doesn’t mean you’ve lost respect for your family.

Create space to address the concerns of those whose opinions matter. Have you made space in your mind and time in your day to really take in the concerns of the people whose opinions matter to you? Sometimes the people around you can calm down and support your new lifestyle if they feel you have really heard their concerns. You may even be able to address their concerns once you have heard the underlying worries expressed.

Remind everyone how important they are to you and how much you love them. The most typical reason the people around you may resist the changes you want to make is because they worry it means you have changed how you feel about them. Let them know you still love them and think about them. Once you do that, they may not blink an eye when you have a big bowl of lettuce for dinner.

Kim Kleinman is a cancer survivor, mom and green juice drinking yogini who knows understanding how one’s mind works helps people feel empowered. She has been a practicing psychotherapist for 30 years and has worked with hundreds of children, parents and adults who want to change their lives.

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About Erin Brown

I am vivacious, full of spirit and drive and like to dip my toes into everything to at the very least be able to say "I've done that". I live my life to the fullest and have a major passion for health, fitness and nutrition as well as helping others to achieve their goals in health. So read on to get your health fix!

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