- Don’t wait for rock bottom
- ONE action that will spark your turning point
- A huge lesson to learn from National Geographic documentaries
Turning points have always fascinated me.
How did Brad Pitt go from dressing up as a chicken for an El Pollo Loco Restaurant, to being a Hollywood A-Lister?
What got Meghan Markle out of a car she could only enter from the trunk, to jetting around in a baby blue jaguar with Prince Harry?
The avocado originated between 7000 and 5000 B.C. Why did it take so many centuries for this fruit to become famous? (As evidenced on Instagram by the volume of posts about avocado toast.)
Cabbage Patch Kids were originally hand-quilted by a 21-year-old art student and sold at craft fairs. What factors turned these adorable adoptees into one of the longest running doll franchises in America?
My turning point
I struggled with my weight for years. It wasn’t until I hit rock bottom that I finally asked for help.
Until then I believed that a strong person could do it on their own. It actually became more important to me to PROVE I could stick to my diet perfectly than to lose weight. I was SURE my only problem was willpower.
But after years of trying everything-I-could-think-of to be “more determined” I ran out of ideas. Without a new plan I suddenly had a moment to pause. And that’s when I realized that I’d neglected all the activities I cared about—sports, school and anything social—due to my preoccupation with dieting.
Suddenly I felt completely lost.
That’s when I walked to my university’s Student Health Services and asked to speak to a doctor. I didn’t realize that opening up to a person I trusted would be my turning point.
What my turning point taught me
My turning point taught me many things.
You can't do it alone. As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people's ideas are often better than your own.— Amy Poehler, Harvard Commencement Speech, 2011
But the most important lesson I learned is that being strong isn’t about doing it on your own.
A STRONG person asks for help.
As soon as I spoke to a doctor a whole world of information opened up to me. I started to understand what was going on, could learn from other people’s experiences and patchwork a recovery plan.
Information is knowledge and knowledge is power.
My turning point also taught me…
By speaking to a doctor I learned that a lack of willpower was NOT my problem.
I struggled with my weight because I didn’t understand what healthy eating and healthy exercise look like. After years of listening to the diet industry I thought healthy eating was low-fat, processed food—like diet coke and rice cakes!
I was wrong.
And I learned that I have an underlying issue, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). OCD makes it hard for me to move on from one task to the next unless it’s done p-e-r-f-e-c-t-l-y. In other words, if I thought I ate one bite too many, I’d feel anxious until I punished myself for making this mistake (like I’d force myself to skip an activity that was important to me) and then I’d restart my diet. Whereas someone without OCD would just move along with the day and in doing so, realize an extra bite is NO BIG DEAL.
Asking for help interrupted my downward spiral because it gave me the food, exercise and mental health information I didn’t even know I needed! It’s important to get help from someone on the outside who can look in.
My turning point has many other benefits
I got thinking about my turning point this week because I joined The Healthy Butcher’s 28-Day Health Challenge.
(So happy COFFEE isn’t part of this challenge!)
As soon as I signed up, it reminded me that by connecting with people you:
- Build in accountability, which keeps you motivated
- Learn from others
- Have more fun; its great to be part of something
If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
— African proverb.
If you want to go quickly sounds like a crash diet.
If you want to go far sounds like building healthy eating and exercise habits. Then the changes are lasting.
I LOVE the buddy system. A friend of mine, who’s been in recovery for Alcohol Use Disorder (sober) for nearly a decade, calls this: Staying close to the pack.
She first heard this concept when a young guy spoke at an AA Meeting:
You know those National Geographic documentaries? Where there is a herd of gazelles being chased by a pack of lions, and when you watch, you know that the one who is going to be killed is the one running on the side? … That’s the addict who won’t make it. Stay close to the pack or you’ll get eaten.
— Story shared at an AA Meeting
Being together is instinctive. It’s part of our nature. When I work my dog and 2 cats (sleep!) surrounding me. I love being part of a pack. And so do they.
Both these little guys were in at emergency clinic to donate blood and looking for foster homes. As it turned out neither were suitable to be donors due to medical issues. So they became available for adoption. Coconut and Gunther hardly know each other but they already really LOVE each other.
How can you Stay Close to the Pack with your weight-loss goals?
Whether you want to lose weight, read more or you’re experiencing something for the first time, like being a mom or overcoming an illness, connecting with another person or a whole herd, will help you do it better.
Here’s some ideas.
A. Want to exercise more?
Set a time with a friend so it’s part of your weekly routine.
It could be going for a walk during lunch, signing up for a soccer team or just phoning each other one day each week to report on your physical activity.
B. Want to eat more balanced meals made of whole foods?
Organize a group to either cook big batches of whole food meals to swap, or meet regularly to cook a meal together. It could be once a week or once a month. Either way it gets you used to eating ROUGHLY balanced meals made MOSTLY of whole foods and you can share favourite recipes. By the end of the year you’ll have a go-to list of meals compiled by people you love.
C. Stuck in a rut you just can’t get out of?
Talk to someone you trust. Visit your family doctor or go to a walk-in clinic if you feel more comfortable being anonymous. (I think it was easier for me to talk to a doctor when I was away at university. I SHOULDN’T have been ashamed, but at the time I was too confused to understand what was going on.)
Write down what a typical day is like and any questions you have BEFORE going to your appointment.
If your concerns aren’t given the same respect in which you’ve presented them, visit another doctor.
D. Have a list of things you want to improve on?
Speak to your friends, family or colleagues and do a month-long challenge together.
A month-long challenge can spark a turning point
Turn some healthy choices into habits!
This challenge is the first I’ve participated in. Challenges work because:
i) Working within a set time period helps you give-new-things-a-go without feeling overwhelmed by the idea of having to do them FOREVER.
ii) Getting points for activities you accomplish helps you build on successes.
iii) Focusing on what you CAN DO is a mindset that helps you reach goals. It’s important to be flexible! Whereas trying to stick to a list p-e-r-f-e-c-t-l-y sets you up to fail.
Flossing would be a great addition to this list! Your gum health affects your heart health.
Love that the Healthy Butcher’s 28-Day Health Challenge focuses on:
I also LOVE The Healthy Butcher because their food and practices are ethical.
Part of this challenge is posting a home-cooked meal on Instagram.
Check out my posts @the10principles to see examples of the ROUGHLY balanced meals made MOSTLY of whole foods that help you reach and maintain a healthy weight.
Please note: I’m NOT a food photographer 🙂
Make Today Count
Don’t wait to hit rock bottom before you reach a turning point.
Connect with someone today.
Think of one person who has similar goals or who you trust to open up to.
Build healthy eating and exercise habits. A healthy weight will follow.
Your turning point is a phone call, email, text or cup of coffee away. Choose someone to join you in a mission or to lend an ear. Start small. Sign up for my newsletter below and you’ll receive one of the BEST strategies I learned. It took me 10 years to figure it out but I can send it to you TODAY. When you get it read it with a friend. Then together you can try out this easy but POWERFUL weight-loss method.
Your turning point starts when you connect with another person.
Do you have a turning point story? Even if it’s asking for help at hardware store?!
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Sharing what I learned makes the 10 years I STRUGGLED worth it