We talked about the layers of change. Kathy started by asking us how many of us had drivers' licenses...everyone raised their hands. And then how many times on a daily basis we thought about the fact that we are licensed drivers...none. Finally she asked us to compare that to the time when we were working on becoming insured drivers...every day? every second? every bit of our then 16-year-old brains were absorbed with getting that card and who we would be when we had it. Something which is now part of our identity that we take for granted, we had to work on and focus on at one point.
So we talked about how to translate this concept to weight-loss and healthy living.We did this by talking about 5 layers of change- going from external to internal. Environment, behavior, capability, belief, and core.
- ENVIRONMENT: This is where you begin to change. You can't change who you are or what you do overnight, BUT you can decide who you want to be and put yourself in the correct environment. For me, this has meant ridding my kitchen of unhealthy triggers, but providing healthy and appealing alternatives (orgainic baked fries) so that I don't go find another environment (aka fast food). If you're living with some one while trying to make a life change (food or not) the other person may not want/need to change. In this case (like me trying to loose weight and Matt not) I have my snacks and environment defined and separate from his. You will start to thrive in your new environment.
- BEHAVIORS: As you spend some time in your new environment, new habits start to form. Instead of reaching for the chips, you grab fruit, or maybe you still grab the chips, but since you put your scale in a visible place, you measure a serving size that is appropriate to your needs instead of chillin on the couch with the whole bag. Your behaviors will change.
- CAPABILITIES: As you start to see your behavior change, you find that you're capable of a lot more than you thought you were. You can work a full day and still be healthy when you get home! You can study all night and make it out for a run in the morning! You can be the savy girl who spends her time talking at parties and not (ahem) being anchored to the buffet. If you're not to this point yet- don't worry, just focus on 1 and 2 now and 3 takes no work. promise. I never thought that I would be able to know portion sizes or estimate calories in all kinds of foods and I certainly never thought I'd do it second nature and every day. You will be capable of more than you think.
- BELIEFS: Not only will you understand that you are capable of loosing 20...30..40..100lbs, but you'll start to believe that you are no longer the person you once were. You aren't controlled by food, your schedule doesn't own your life and energy but you decide what you do, you are an empowered person who understands your emotions and how to cope with them. You will believe you are the person you envisioned.
- CORE: After realizing and going through each of these layers (sometimes more than once) you will look around and realize that you are the person you set out to be. Along your path, you may go through the layers of change several times- sometimes with small victories- and sometimes to your final destination. I'm not where I want to be, but I have absorbed many healthy habits into my personality already. I want to go to the gym regularly and I feel weird if I don't, being knowledgeable about my food is part of who I am now. I have changed. You will be the person you set out to be.
Two quotes I've heard several times in the meetings that never get old:
"If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got."
"Don't sacrifice what you want for what you want right now."
Get a vision of what you want and make changes until you get there. You can do it!