Transforming Your Habits to Transform Your Health Part 14

There’s a difference in the feeling of pleasure, or euphoria, versus the feeling of wellbeing.

When I talk about this, for the sake of this blog, I’m substantially simplifying these concepts.

For a more in-depth explanation, watch our video series and read our book, Authentic Health.

Pleasure vs. Wellbeing

You have a region in your brain known as the reward center. It’s supposed to orient our behaviors around activities that promote our survival, such as eating and reproduction. There are many different activities and substances that stimulate our reward system. When they do, we have strong feelings of motivation and energy (from a concurrent stress response). If we experience the culmination of the reward response, the result is a brief period of pleasure. It is described as a feeling of euphoria.

woman laughing feeling euphoric pleasure

This system works fine when the behaviors and substances that stimulate it are not unnaturally concentrated or experienced at a high frequency. This system directs us to behaviors that promote our survival. However, this system does not work well, nor is it adapted to, an environment in which the triggers are super-concentrated and readily available.

Because the system helps us survive, it is designed to override our higher mind, or conscious controlled behavior.

In addition, it overrides internal, non-conscious, regulatory functions that balance our behaviors.

If we experience the culmination of the reward response, the result is a brief period of pleasure. It is described as a feeling of euphoria.

When Pleasure Goes Bad

What’s an example? Binge-eating.

There are certain flavors in foods, such as sugar, fat, salt, and meaty flavors, or glutamate, that are powerful triggers of our reward system.

When we experience these flavors, our brain turns off conscious control of eating and overrides normal satiety function which causes us to binge eat. That’s because these flavors are associated with nutrients that helped us survive, but they were not always readily available to us.

Food manufacturers have taken advantage of this.

Now they make super-concentrated flavors in foods that have minimal fiber or nutrients in them. The American marketplace is manipulating your reward system and making you feel like it’s your fault that you can’t control yourself – when in actuality – it’s biology you can’t control.

This feeling is not sustainable, and it’s not real. For the moment, it feels good, but you quickly develop tolerance and soon you feel no pleasure at all. You just feel a little less bad when you binge eat, or smoke, or drink, or whatever it may be.

A giant spread of food including tacos and pizza and dip and chips provides pleasure

For the moment, it feels good, but you quickly develop tolerance and soon you feel no pleasure at all.

Awareness Rather than Blame

We blame ourselves for this, but we shouldn’t.

Yes, we’re making a choice, but we’re not really. Ultimately, we do have to make the choice to walk away altogether. If you’re susceptible to those specific triggers and you’re exposed, you will not be able to control your behavior.

Genetics play a part. Not everybody is susceptible to every one of those flavors, nor is everyone susceptible to nicotine, alcohol, or opiate addiction. But we’re all susceptible to some form of addiction, whether it be through entertainment, cell phones, video games, gambling, binge eating, drugs, alcohol, or many other things that trigger the reward system.

You have to understand what you’re dealing with.

Our reward system is meant to work in balance, over the course of time when we enjoy good food, and when we enjoy activities that promote our long-term survival. What we’re really supposed to experience afterward is a feeling of wellbeing. That’s a different area of the mind.

Woman in front of slot machines getting pleasure

I want you to think about what triggers your reward system.

What can’t you control when you’re exposed to it?

Willpower, while important, is not the primary way we control these responses. I describe this more thoroughly in the book, and in our other resources. I think this teaching is very effective and helpful.

We’re up against something we don’t understand, but that something understands us, and it’s taking advantage of the situation. It’s very important to wake up to this. In our next post, we’ll discuss how to cultivate wellbeing.


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Eating Behaviors and the Brain Part 1

Frequently, when I’m seeing patients who have health issues that are strongly influenced by their eating behaviors, they will reflect how they just need more willpower so they can make the changes that will help them to be healthy. While it’s true that willpower is involved in any change, I think they’re misunderstanding how eating behaviors are actually regulated.

We overestimate how much conscious control we have over our eating behaviors. I want to help people to understand this issue, so I’m creating a series of blog posts. It’s that important. Because if you don’t know what you’re dealing with, then you can’t possibly make the changes you hope to.

Where Do Eating Behaviors Originate?

We tend to think that we choose our eating behaviors, that we choose according to our own preferences. However, our conscious control of eating actually has minimal influence over our eating behaviors. Our eating behaviors are largely determined by central nervous system signals involving our reward system and satiation control, as well as hormonal signaling influencing our energy balance.

Most people, when it comes to hunger and eating behavior do not know what they’re actually dealing with. These posts hope to answer that question and empower the readers to be able to take back control of their eating behavior. I find so many people addressing this area from a perspective of shame, self-doubt, and guilt. Additionally, they tend to view willpower as an issue of character, and if they can’t control their eating behaviors, then they must be deficient in their character.

Man with chips, soda, and burger

People who are dealing with chronic obesity and metabolic diseases feel very badly about themselves for how their eating behavior contributes to these diseases, but ultimately, they should not.

You can finally choose foods that nourish you, and support your good health, and give you energy.

Most of the influencers of eating behavior occurred before we were at an age of conscious choice. Therefore, our eating behaviors are based on conditioned patterns in our brain that are beyond the reach of conscious control. What we call our preferences are often eating habits that were established before we even knew how to form a preference. Our focus is for all of our preferences to become healthy.

Be Empowered to Make Changes

I hope this series will help many people who are confused by their current situation regarding eating and weight. This is meant to be encouraging, to help you feel better about yourself, and to give you the tools you need so you can finally choose according to your preferences. You can finally choose foods that nourish you, and support your good health, and give you energy. You can finally, forever, walk away from the foods that actually make you sick.

Healthy salads with mixed greens

Stick with this series and pay close attention to what we teach. There’s a lot of depth behind what I’m teaching, but I’m going to try and keep it simple. Everything I’m teaching is based on solid science and credible studies. I believe this will be enlightening for you and empowering.

Are you searching for a more integrated approach to healthcare? That’s what Health Shepherds delivers. If you have questions about a more personalized path to your wellbeing, contact us. You also can like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram.

Transforming Your Habits to Transform Your Health Part 13

We talk about living in the present in our book, Authentic Health, and we talk about it in our video series. I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but it’s incredibly important. There’s a reason why it’s talked about so much.

Forget about the Past and the Future

Most of us have trouble being in the moment. We tend not to be aware of the present moment because we’re lost in the past or the future. For some individuals, this can be potentially positive, meaning they’re constantly thinking about all the beautiful things they’ve experienced or considering their beautiful future.

However, most people are ruminating on the past in a way that’s not positive and most of us are thinking about the future from a perspective of fear. Society impresses this upon us through all the news cycles and social media pop-ups. It keeps us in a state of constant alarm, which is terrible for our health. We talk about this in our stress and fear series, and we teach ways to reduce stress responses.

It’s important to recognize that life happens in the present moment, and you’re designed to be present in this moment. It’s the only way to fully optimize awareness and focus, and the power to make choices. Because if you’re not aware in the present moment, then you’re non-conscious. If you’re non-conscious, then you’re not going to make any choices according to your highest desire. You’re going to do whatever you’ve done before through habit.

Conscious and Present Mindfulness

We’re about making conscious choices to become our healthiest self, which absolutely demands awareness in the present moment. We have to leave the past behind and stop carrying it around with us as though it was a backpack full of rocks weighing us down. We have to let go of our fears of the future.

This is often referred to as mindfulness. Mindfulness is very powerful, and there are a lot of different ways to practice mindfulness. Meditation happens to be a very effective one. You want to, frequently throughout the day, reorient yourself to the present moment. Perhaps you set an alarm that every hour reminds you to orient yourself to the present moment. You can get to a point where you virtually live all your time completely aware and alive in the present moment, and that is a joyous state of being.

Handwritten mindfulness note

You have to put the past behind you and let it go. Focus on this moment and what’s right before you. A simple thing to do is to stop and examine your own thoughts and feelings. What are you thinking about? What are you feeling? Is it from the past? Is it rooted in the future? Bring yourself back to the present moment, take a few deep breaths, look around, find something pleasant, and remind yourself that you’re fine and that you’re alive right now. Keep orienting yourself to the present moment. Do not give it away. Because THIS is where life is lived.

Doctor’s Recommendation

Put away the smartphones and computers when you can. Turn off the television, and be alive in the present moment. Take in your surroundings. Contemplate beauty. Enjoy the feeling of breathing, stretching, and experiencing your own body. Practice this regularly. You must be in the present to make your own choices. As you know from our teachings thus far in the series, being able to make your own choices according to your desires is a crucial skill in becoming your healthiest self.

Present moment living is imperative. You have to learn how to do this. It’s not hard, but it must be done. For more information about this, see our additional resources at https://healthshepherds.com or our video series.

Transforming Your Habits to Transform Your Health Part 12

I want to pause and emphasize a specific mindset—the mindset of gratitude. I think most people are aware of the power of gratitude. The problem is we fail to utilize that power to our own benefit. Gratitude is a very dynamic thinking and feeling state that we can learn to harness for our betterment. It increases a sense of well-being, and well-being gives us the power to overcome cravings and make choices according to our highest desires.

Thinking vs. Feeling Gratitude

Learning how to immerse yourself in the feeling of gratitude has many benefits. Being thankful cultivates positive emotions and feelings. When fully immersed in the feeling of gratitude, it’s virtually impossible to feel fearful, anxious, judgmental, angry, or any other negative emotion. Negative emotions deplete our willpower and make it harder to resist the cravings for addictive foods and substances that steal our health from us.

Now, this is the important part: There’s a difference between thinking gratitude and feeling gratitude. It’s the feeling that is persuasive, but you have to start with the thinking. You have to begin to think about what you’re grateful for.

Man sitting in a barn looking out to the dessert and meditating on gratitude.

When fully immersed in the feeling of gratitude, it’s virtually impossible to feel fearful, anxious, judgmental, angry, or any other negative emotion.

When you first start thinking about what you’re grateful for, there’s a bit of a wrestling match that takes place in your brain. Whatever pre-existing negative emotions you were experiencing will continue to impact how you feel while you begin to think about what you’re grateful for. There’ll be a period where you could go in either direction. You could sink back into judgment, anger, self-pity, or some other negative state. Or instead, you could continue to meditate on your gratitude.

The longer you immerse yourself in the thinking of gratitude, the more likely you’ll experience the feeling that comes with it. That’s a much more powerful state of being.

The Practice of Gratitude

I recommend that you begin to keep a gratitude journal where you write down everything you’re thankful for. You can do this in a few minutes a day. Write down anything you’re thankful for, from your past, what you envision in your future, or in your present moment. You should write these down in as much detail as possible, especially when dealing with past memory. You can begin to use this as an easy entry to the feeling state of gratitude. Every day, after you wake up, if you could take a few minutes and just begin to experience the feeling state of gratitude, you will start with a better mindset.

Wake Up to Gratitude

Try to start each day, after you come into conscious awareness, by beginning to contemplate and meditate on all the things that you’re thankful for. Try not to look at your cell phone, or turn on the news, or do any other distracting activities. I promise this will serve you well, and help you get control of your thoughts. Anytime you find yourself feeling bad, meditate on what you’re thankful for until you feel grateful because it’s so much nicer to feel good than to feel bad, and you do have power over this.

Negative emotions deplete our willpower and make it harder to resist the cravings for addictive foods and substances that steal our health from us.

Gratitude is one of the easiest and most effective ways to get this power over your thought life, health, and wellbeing. Don’t miss the opportunity. Practice gratitude.

If you have questions about a more personalized and integrated approach to your wellbeing, contact us. You also can like Health Shepherds on Facebook and follow us on Instagram.

I had a patient come in who is fairly healthy, but trying to lose weight and feel better. She has a few conditions that will improve with lifestyle modifications. In an effort to make positive changes, she recently attended a local structured dietary course that’s been funded partly by grant money. I’m a fan of this program and I consider it valuable to our community. It’s getting individuals involved in the conversation about chronic diseases and lifestyle. However, this individual is now struggling with the idea that a plant-based whole food diet is the best possible diet, and she feels guilty if she does not strictly follow this approach.

Now I know that those who are teaching the course understand that not everyone is able to completely adopt this diet. However, because of the way it is taught, the participants often believe that this is the best possible diet and that straying from it is a step backward in their nutritional approach. They are not really provided with all of the potential benefits that an omnivorous diet may provide. The omnivorous diet I am describing would definitely have a strong foundation of plant-based foods. But it would also include pasture-raised poultry, grass-fed beef, and especially foods such as pasture-raised eggs and wild-caught fish that are rich in essential amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids and good sources of protein.

Eggs and toast and salad omnivore diet

Diet, Conflict, and What to Eat

My patient was conflicted because she was having trouble adopting this diet for several reasons. One was the time it took to shop and prepare foods which is a skill she has not acquired yet. Two, she was not used to the textures and flavors associated with her new diet. Three, it wasn’t doing a good job of controlling her appetite at the time.

I believe that plant-based whole food diets when properly designed, help control appetite because of the fiber and nutrients contained in these foods. So I like plant-based whole food diets. They are a great option for many people. I have adjusted my own diet in that direction. However, based on my genetic profile and gut microbiome analysis, I don’t tolerate grains or legumes very well. I wish I did. I wish I could enjoy all the health benefits of properly prepared beans, but it’s just not a food that fits with my ancestry and genetic blueprint. So I have to focus my plant-based whole food diet on cruciferous vegetables, leafy greens, mushrooms, tubers, and other varieties of vegetables.

She was very conflicted because she felt like this was the diet she needed to follow, but she was really having trouble, and it was affecting her overall feeling of wellbeing every day. It was causing her to excessively ruminate about eating. So we stopped and we looked at her specific issues and how we could help her succeed.

The Diet + Health Connection

She does not have, at this point, any evidence of diabetes or insulin resistance, so I don’t think that carbohydrate tolerance is an issue for her. My patient does need to lose a little weight and is at risk of metabolic syndrome in the future, but does not have it at this time. She would like to feel better and lose some weight, but we have time to help her adjust to an individualized approach to eating that will support her goals for her health.

Her past preferences were traditionally a meat and potato diet. She has historically eaten a lot of processed starches and prefers these foods. We examined food textures and flavors, and a way of incorporating more plant-based whole foods into her diet based on her specific tolerances, and her ability to prepare those foods in a way that is nutritious for her. We discussed the role that processed foods play in weight gain and chronic diseases. The importance of consuming nutrients for her to feel good and emphasis on the sources of her foods over the specific macronutrients, or whether the foods were plant or animal-based, was discussed.

Hand reaching for yellow and red peppers

Obstacles, Challenges, and Solutions

Now, one of her challenges is that she has difficulty chewing. She has issues with her jaw and teeth, and the increased need for chewing associated with her new diet was uncomfortable for her. I suggested continuing to increase her plant-based whole food consumption, but also adding a food based supplement to provide nutrients while reducing the volume of food she needs to eat. I like Dr. Cowan’s Garden Products. His team grows their own vegetables in nutrient-rich soil free of any additives or chemicals, properly cooks the ones that need to be cooked, and then reduces them to powders that retain the nutrients and some of the fiber from the original plants. There’s a whole variety of various plant-based powders, that when added to other foods, will give you the nutrient density of those plant-based foods, and a little bit of the fiber.

We were able to reduce her intake of kale by having her braise it and take kale powder. This eliminated her need to chew it. We were able to find similar solutions for other types of produce – it just required some creativity to find solutions. This was a relief to her, and she’s now a fan of these types of products.

Grilled salmon on top of fresh salad

Next, we examined her desire to eat animal-based foods. We discussed continuing to include these foods but focusing on reducing the portions she consumed, and perhaps, not having animal protein at every meal. We slowly tilted her diet towards wild-caught fish and pasture-raised eggs, and then showed her some ways of putting this together with plant-based whole foods plus some of Dr. Cowan’s powders. This set her up to prepare really delicious meals that would satisfy her, and also give her the nutrients she needs.

Open to Change

She became excited about this approach and felt it was something she could do in a sustainable manner. We had to help her get past some incorrect beliefs about food, such as eggs containing too much cholesterol. When I explained to her the nutrient density of the egg white and yolk, she was able to add eggs back to her diet and feel good about it.

We’re going to follow up and discuss her success and the next steps she should take to evolve her diet. She may end up on a plant-based whole food diet. It could be the best diet for her, and it could be something she could follow. But she didn’t need to get there right away. We just needed to get more plant-based whole foods into her diet for the nutrient value, and then find ways to source the other foods that are satisfying to her.

Ultimately, the first step this patient needed to take was to become mindful of eating and intentional about the sources of her food. Those are 2 of the 3 pillars of healthy eating we emphasize in our resources that apply to any healthy eating paradigm.

I would point to works like Deep Nutrition by Catherine Shanahan M.D. and the works from organizations like the Weston-Price Foundation to better understand ancestral diets and the roles animal products can play in human health.

Fresh chicken fajitas

Doctor’s Summary

I’m a big believer that the best diet for you is a diet that is sustainable, pleasurable, and honors your ancestry and your genetics.

All diets that support good health have common elements and they’re well explained in my book, Authentic Health. They eliminate fake foods, processed foods, and added sugars. These diets restore a high-value relationship to food as a source of nutrients and life for you. They eliminate nutrient deficiencies, control hunger, and catalyze physical activity. These diets all balance feeding and fasting. They have the same principles.

Don’t get attached to one philosophy. Please see our Precision Nutrition document file, where there are ample documents with plenty of evidence-based studies that demonstrate these principles are effective and sustainable. Don’t let anybody convince you that you have to follow one specific diet.

Please visit us at Health Shepherds, review our resources, and let them sink into your mind and find the strategy that works for you. If you need more help with this, contact our office and schedule an appointment, or again, read the book, Authentic Health, or look at some of our additional materials.

Transforming Your Habits to Transform Your Health Part 11

Mindset is a broad topic that includes many concepts that are rooted in the mind. For this article, I’m focusing on mindset as a basic thinking orientation about life. What I’m talking about is whether you are open and growth-minded, or whether you’re fixed or close-minded. There’s a great book called Mindset: Changing the Way You Think to Fulfill Your Potential, written by Carol S. Dweck, PhD. We cite this work in our book, Authentic Health, and we give a brief description of these ideas.

A growth mindset is always thinking about how to grow stronger, and better, and more content in life. It is open to new information, and to reexamining beliefs that no longer serve the individual.

What is a Closed Mindset?

If you have a closed mindset, if you are in a knowing mode versus a learning mode, if your life is oriented to only serving yourself and not others, then you’re just not going to succeed on this transformative quest we’ve started.

What is a Growth Mindset?

In order to succeed, you need a growth mindset.

You have to have a growth mindset that is in a learning mode and is focused on service to others. This is the path of contentment, and this is the path towards your best health.

A growth mindset is open to new information, tends not to judge oneself or others in a negative way, and does not view life through a lens of success or failure but instead by simply learning and growth.

Group of friends with arms around each other open to each other

A growth mindset does not get upset when it sees others performing better at certain tasks than we can. It celebrates their accomplishments and delights in the fact that human beings are so capable of great things.

Generally speaking, when you’re in a growth mode, and you’re open, and you’re living in service to others, you’ll feel good regardless of circumstances.

A growth mindset is always thinking about how to grow stronger, and better, and more content in life. It is open to new information, and to reexamining beliefs that no longer serve the individual.

Where Does Mindset Come From?

Your mindset has genetic underpinnings, but also strong nurturing underpinnings. If your mindset is closed and judgmental, then you can change that. It’s challenging because it’s a hardwired system of neural networks in your brain. But you can create new networks that support an open mindset. Your feelings will provide you clues about which mindset is controlling your thoughts.

Generally speaking, when you’re in a growth mode, and you’re open, and you’re living in service to others, you’ll feel good regardless of circumstances. When you’re in a closed state, and self-absorbed, generally speaking, you will find that you don’t feel as good.

Rather, that you wrestle with negative emotions.

How Do I Change?

We want you to feel good. That’s why we encourage you to adopt a growth mindset. You have to be open and ready to learn. You have to be ready to discard beliefs and thoughts that don’t serve you and you have to be ready to serve your fellow human beings on their own journeys.

View your own efforts as though you are simply making progress on a long-term quest. Do not judge yourself from the standpoint of succeeding or failing. You are simply taking the next best step and learning from the results. Be a curious observer and not a critic. Be a friend to yourself. Let negative thinking go.

If you want to understand these concepts better, you can read our book and watch our video series. I also encourage you every day to cultivate a mindset that is open and growth-oriented and non-judgmental. I promise you won’t regret this.

Nutritional agnosticism is the philosophy that different people have different nutritional needs. Not only that, but that specific nutritional needs change from season to season and year to year. This makes sense when you consider the span of human ancestry and the development of our minds and bodies.

We should listen to our internal wisdom and let our bodies dictate the nourishment and diet we deliver it.

There is no one best diet for everybody all of the time. There are a few basic principles that undergird all healthy nutritional approaches, but otherwise, there are many different approaches that provide the health we are seeking. Everyone has innumerable variables that influence the best diet for them at any given time. However, despite the many variables, the process of identifying your best diet is not that hard. Your body will teach you if you are able to interpret the signals it provides you. We should listen to our internal wisdom and let our bodies dictate the nourishment and diet we deliver it.

Bowl of rice and Asian vegetables.

Precision Nutrition

You’ll notice if you review our nutritional resources on the Health Shepherds website, that we have a lot of documents produced by a company called Precision Nutrition. There’s a reason why we have so many of their resources. As a student of theirs, I have participated in their nutritional coaching classes, used their textbook, and employed their research.

I believe they are one of the most evidence-based nutritional institutes in existence today. Precision Nutrition considers the evidence without pre-existing biases. Their whole focus is on what approaches to nutrition help people become their healthiest selves.

They study concepts such as ketogenic diets, fasting approaches, portion control, genetics, gut microbiome, and energy balance. Precision Nutrition presents their data in an agnostic manner.

Their overall approach to reshaping individual nutrition habits for the purposes of maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most logical and well-articulated approaches. It’s very consistent with the core components of my specific teaching in which we look at the role of nutrition in the following ways:

  • Provides us with energy
  • Is comprehensive and eliminates nutritional deficiencies
  • Catalyzes physical activity
  • Supports healthy weight and healthy energy balance
  • Promotes stewardship of the planet, animals, and one another

Various types of healthy toasts with hummus cucumber avocado radishes

Individual Approach to Eating

I am a nutritional agnostic. I do not have an emotional attachment to any one method of eating. I’m only attached to what works best for each individual. I frequently stress that your approach must be individualized. It must take into account the individual variables that impact you—genetics, gut microbiome, personal finances, and access to resources. Your social environment and cultural and spiritual beliefs also must be taken into account.

All of these things impact your best nutritional approach, but your best nutritional approach will provide adequate nutrients and energy, support healthy weight, support overall health, and hopefully involve consideration of the environment, animals, and of your fellow human beings.

I stress certain aspects of nutrition, such as balancing feeding and fasting because I have witnessed how effective this is. But I can use whatever approach works, whether that’s a gradual reshaping of overall nutritional approach or a complete overhaul of someone’s dietary habits.

Healthy breakfast with orange juice and fruit

When you’re looking for evidence, studies, and analytical approaches to big topics, I recommend the Precision Nutrition documents. I believe that their research and conclusions are solid, and I agree with the vast majority of their teaching. When I am working with a client, I may have some occasional nuanced differences from the basic Precision Nutrition approach, but that primarily involves smaller details based on specific goals for that individual. Precision Nutrition focuses on effective population-based approaches and their approach is excellent. When it comes to individuals, we still have to customize their diet to their situation and goals.

Takeaway

I think it’s important that we remain agnostic about nutrition, and that we remain open and objective about what approach works best for us. So consider that as you review our materials, and as you experiment with different approaches to nutrition that allow you to enjoy eating while supporting your health and your healthiest weight.

If you’d like to know more about nutrition agnosticism, please contact us. There is a simple and understandable truth about eating and health. We want to make it easy for you. Join us at Health Shepherds.

Transforming Your Habits to Transform Your Health Part 10

External resistance refers to the forces outside of you that create challenges to your quest for your best health. External resistance can arise from your environment, your social and family support structures, as well as the modern marketplace of goods and services that attempts to sell you products that can keep you trapped in poor health. You must recognize these factors and the roles they play in your journey to authentic health.

Your Environment

Regarding your environment, this is an obvious point. If your issue is binge eating on junk food, then you have to make sure there is no junk food in your home, your car, or in your immediate workplace. You need to minimize your exposure to whatever habits sabotage your health.

There are a lot of tips and tricks for getting this done, but you cannot continue to expose yourself to the goods or services that are taking your health from you and expect to succeed on your quest for health. You must take control of your personal environment.

You’ll Need Support

Another form of resistance comes from the people with whom you spend your time. Friends and family can mean well, but they can often be negative influencers of change. Oftentimes, people will resist your change to improve your health. It’s not that they intentionally want you to be sick, it’s just that your change threatens them in some way.

When you undertake a worthy quest, such as the quest for your best health, you should hope that friends and family would come alongside and support you.

You have to keep this impersonal. This is about you and your decisions. It’s not about them. When you undertake a worthy quest, such as the quest for your best health, you should hope that friends and family would come alongside and support you. You need to surround yourself with people who speak good things into you, who speak confidence and courage and encouragement to you. You need to surround yourself with people who will help you succeed on your quest.

Man and woman embracing.

If some of your friends and family speak negatively about what you’re trying to do, whether that’s telling you that you cannot do it, or you shouldn’t do it, then you need to minimize your exposure to these suggestions. You have to redirect conversations, or just avoid conversations with them altogether. I know this can be challenging, and you don’t have to be rude about it, but ultimately this quest is too important to allow others to dissuade you from undertaking it. It’s very important to surround yourself with those who believe in you and speak positively to you.

The Role of the Marketplace

At this time, the general marketplace of goods and services will resist the change you’re trying to make. This resistance is because the current status quo is to sell forms of entertainment, drugs and alcohol, pharmaceuticals, and foods that trigger your reward system and keep you enslaved to the habits and behaviors that are making you sick. Many people are profiting from this.

We should all use our marketplace leverage to insist on goods and services that promote our health and the health of our children and our families and our communities.

Now it’s not true across the entire marketplace. There are many companies out there who are actively promoting goods and services in an ethical way that actually promote your good health. We should support them. Yes, their products are more expensive, but it’s because they’re actually healthy for us.

In the end, the marketplace is pragmatic. It will go where consumers demand that it goes. We should all use our marketplace leverage to insist on goods and services that promote our health and the health of our children and our families and our communities.

Status Quo

I’ll get off my soapbox and get back to the main topic, external resistance. The current status quo will strongly resist your change. Seductive advertising will pop up everywhere to try and keep you in your current habits. The current marketplace wants you to keep doing what you’re doing, and keep buying what they’re selling.

This quest has opposition, but it is worthy. So be prepared. Clean up your environment. Have it be supportive for you. Associate with those who support you. Understand the current marketplace and its role in forming your habits and creating your experience of health.

Family meal with healthy food.

Change How You Engage

You may have to change some ways that you engage with the current culture like turning off the television. You may have to turn off the computers and social media. Just unplug and find some protected space so that addictive foods, various drugs, alcohol, and addictive forms of entertainment aren’t placed in your consciousness all of the time, tempting you to go back to your old habits.

Once you have set yourself free from the habits that are stealing your health, you won’t have to be as ruthless about this. Once you have your freedom, you’ll see it for what it is, and it really won’t tempt you anymore. I am speaking the truth about this. Many people believe they can never be free from the habits that are making them sick. But I have seen this freedom claimed over and over again in my clinic.

Just unplug and find some protected space so that addictive foods, various drugs, alcohol, and addictive forms of entertainment aren’t placed in your consciousness all of the time, tempting you to go back to your old habits.

As we’ve learned, resistance is an active force. You have to be aware of it, and you have to be prepared for it. Overcoming internal and external resistance is part of what makes this quest worthy. You will be able to do it provided you have a true heart’s desire and commitment to the path of authentic health.

At Health Shepherds, we understand the importance and difficulties related to changing habits. If you have questions about how to get started on this path, contact us. You also can like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram.