Sunday, 28 October 2012

Fighting the Flinch

This weekend I attended a conference and met many amazing people there. I love attending events like that where many talented and wonderful people get together to share ideas and learn from one another. I came away from the conference physically tired, but uplifted and inspired.

In the past attending something like this would have filled me with a small measure of fear because I would not have control over my food. By that I mean that I firstly would not be able to stick to my diet, and secondly  there would be tempting foods there to entice me into 'falling of the wagon.' So one of two things would happen, I would either be tense and stressed because I was denying myself the tasty treats offered or I would be disgusted because I would find myself over indulging in those same sweet treats.

As a reformed sugar addict I approached the whole event in a different way. The conference had my attention, not the food. When snacks and meals were provided, I ate what I could and left what I didn't eat. There was no struggle, there was no fuss and no stress. What had changed? I had made a Meta decision to choose foods that would keep me out of the sugar cycle. So the "can I eat this or that?" dilemma was no longer a big deal for me. If it fits in with the group of foods that benefit and give my body fuel and nourishment then it is a "yes" and if it is a food that is a "empty calorie but tastes good" food, I don't really bother with it. Why is it so easy now? Simply because eating this way is liberating, I am free of the sugar cycle and I am not going back there.

Back when I was coming to terms with the fact that I was a sugar addict, I compared how I thought and acted around food to the way a skinny, healthy person acted around food and I determined I wanted to learn from them. I watched how people with no weight problems ate and it was fascinating. They ate slower, they picked their food apart and they ate only what appealed to them. They left behind what they did not need. Now coming from the 'clean your plate as fast as you can' club, that behavior fascinated me.

Fast forward to the conference and I had a lunch break with a lady who was sharing her story of losing 15 pounds and we discussed the reasons for it. We joked that part of the reason was that she was always talking and networking with people and so that slowed down her eating and she ended up not eating as much. Of course I knew there had to be more than that so I asked a few more questions. Like me, she is a mom of two kids and is also a "clean eater" and she told me something interesting.

She said that people just assume she comes by her figure and health without trying. She let me know that she goes to gym and works out. Then she said, "I don't love working out" and then she explained that that she does it to be healthy, not because she loves it.We talked more about making healthy choices for ourselves and for our families. We talked about nurturing our hearts and spirits first and foremost and out of that comes a healthy body. Time was short and so we did a not of chatting until the time came for us to get back to the next session at the conference and I looked down at her plate and mine and they were identical. We had eaten all the veggies, the meat and left the pita.
Yipeee! I looked down and realised that have started eating just like a healthy person!

As I thought about our conversation I realized that she had overcome her "flinch"and she works out even thought her first instinct is to not workout. In the same way it can be a struggle to get outside as the weather changes or exercise because the environment for exercise is more uncomfortable. Who wants to get out and run in the cold rain? Who WANTS to go and swim for 90 minutes when there is a foot of snow outside? Our instinct is to flinch and shy away from the discomfort. Yes afterwards we are glad we did it, but how do we deal with the "I don't want to" instinct of your body is so strong.

One thing that really helped me overcome that knee jerk instinct was reading a book by fellow Canadian Julien Smith. It is called "The Flinch" You can download the book for free via Amazon by clicking here. Funny enough, after reading it ( and you will know what I mean once you read it) I told him about my experience of finding it really hard to dive into the water at the start of my swimming training sessions. His told me, not in these exact words, that he had interviewed and observed many athletes in his research for the book. If you have a few hours and want to understand more, read it. It is inspiring and motivation and helps to understand how we think when faced with the instinct to flinch.

If you have never heard of what the sugar cycle is, here is a diagram of what I mean:


How do you deal with your flinch instincts when it comes to exercise?
I'd love to hear from you. Email me or comment below.

By Melony Teague

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Melony Teague a freelance writer and columnist who lives in Canada with her husband and two young children.
Founder of "Secrets of Body Transformation from the Inside Out" 
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