A Journey in Self Discipline
In January, I began a journey in self-discipline: I chose to do a three-week fast, followed by a seven-week elimination diet. I learned a few things along the way, and have continued to regulate what I eat on a day-to-day basis. The ultimate outcome is that I feel a lot better, and I can tell when I have eaten something to which my body is sensitive. The side benefits are that I lost weight, and I’m not as tired all the time.
I have talked with several people who told me they need to get themselves mentally prepared before beginning a new eating plan. This wasn’t the case for me – I decided I would do the fast, and I did it. I made a plan for what I would eat over the course of the three weeks, and stocked the house with allowable foods. I made it through the three weeks without cheating. I will say there were a few moments where it was really tough, and I just wanted it to be over; but I stayed the course. I had support from family members who were also fasting, and this made a big difference. Those first few weeks were the most challenging; but then it seemed to get easier.
Following the three-week fast I started the seven-week elimination diet. This diet eliminated some of the foods I had been eating on the fast, and added some foods that I was not allowed on the fast. Once again, I made a weekly menu and had support from family members. Were there days when I wanted a nice juicy hamburger or a chocolate chip cookie? Sure – but I knew I could make it, so I didn’t give in to the temptation. As each week progressed I found it easier and learned more about my food sensitivities. Knowing how my body functions best has been very helpful.
Three of the biggest things I learned from this journey were that once I set my mind to something, I can accomplish it; having the support of family and friends makes a world of difference; and making a plan ahead of time makes it easier to stay on track.
Psyching yourself up before daunting tasks is common for many people. I do believe that we need to be in the right frame of mind before beginning large tasks if we want them to succeed. We have all had those days when we have a big project that needs to be accomplished, but just are not in the right place mentally. Those are the days where everything that could go wrong usually does. We have also experienced days where large tasks don’t seem so overwhelming because of the positive outlook we have. This cycle is part of life, but sometimes you can’t wait for the right frame of mind to accomplish something. Isn’t it easier when you see things from a positive perspective? I know it makes a big difference for me: Whether starting a new way of eating or tackling a home improvement project, my attitude plays a large part in the success of the task.
When faced with life’s challenges, knowing you have the support of family and friends can make all the difference. Big problems suddenly become smaller and more manageable when you have someone by your side. Asking for the support you need, can be difficult; but not having that encouragement can be even worse. Just knowing that someone believes in you can change your whole perspective, and provide you with the motivation to keep going. It is so important to find a support system when facing a large task. I know I couldn’t have done it without my supporters.
How many times have you heard, “You need to make a plan and stick with it”? I do think that having a plan can be very helpful. I also think it is a good idea not to be so rigid with a plan that it deters you from making progress. Having a plan should lay the groundwork for your journey, but not stop you from getting to your destination. For me, having a plan of the meals I would be eating over the course of the month was really helpful in staying on track; but it was also flexible when I needed it to be. When you are facing a challenge, a plan can provide a sense of calm to have for addressing the task. This allows you to know if you are on track, but also provides enough leeway that you can makes changes as needed. Setting off blindly can sometimes make the task seem more daunting than it needs to be.
Facing a challenge can seem insurmountable; but having a positive frame of mind, the support of others, and a flexible plan can make the task more achievable. Each journey begins with the first step – what will be your first step?