On 02 January 2015 I had an epiphany of sorts when, almost as if a light had come on, I made a major decision to change my life. At the time I was in the midst of a personal crisis, that had been loaded on top of several other crises. I was barely able to keep breathing enough to plough through each day, let alone make a major decision. Despite that I made the biggest decision that I had made for a long time and that was the decision to take back control of my life. My life. My responsibility.
That may sound like a simple and logical thing to do. However, as I had been swept along for many years working, rearing children, and coping with life events and catastrophes, it sometimes felt I was being pulled with no control. So the decision was crucial for me. And even though the decision appeared sudden, I had spent the previous year working on strategies, that had followed years of planning things, trying things, and reaching dead ends that often left me feeling I was hopeless. Some of the ‘I am hopeless’ thoughts had included attempts to improve my health (especially trying to lose weight) and constantly ‘failing’.
My weight gain had been gradual at first, then accelerated in a peak period of trauma after which I had been unable to lose weight, no matter how hard I tried. Yet all those years of thinking things through and trying things that didn’t work brought me to a point where everything came together in my head that made a whole lot of sense. I knew in an instant I wanted to change and I knew exactly what I must do to make that change.
Eight years before I had read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey. Finding it inspirational, I had used it for a while until my life fell apart and I fell into a quagmire of dealing with crisis after crisis. But on that day in January four years ago – the day of my epiphany – I picked the book up again.
The first habit he discusses in his book is to be pro-active and not to blame your genetics, your circumstances or your environment for where you are today. Like an astonishing truth regarding my personal life situation (that it was up to me to take my life in a better direction), it applied equally to my diet and health.
I had parents who were both overweight/obese; who both suffered hypertension; and had both became physically inactive from middle age. My father suffered a heart attack and died from a stroke at age 49. My mother had been a third generation Type 2 diabetic. It would be easy to fall into the trap of blaming my genes.
With traumatic events that resembled a train wreck; dealing with emotional and practical aftermaths on a daily basis; with life so busy there was no time to think – it would be easy to blame my circumstances.
With the food industry marketing tasty foods readily available; social trends pushing consumption of foods and beverages I didn’t need; and life events begging me to celebrate with treats and more – it would be easy to blame my environment.
Where would that leave me?
I knew the answer to that question. It would leave me totally out of control with my health being swept along in a tidal wave of destruction and me being unable to swim.
That was how it was. But four years ago, I thought that here must be another way.
While I needed to acknowledge the tremendous pull of in-built conditioning within me that would be tough to break; and I needed to be aware of the influences around me; I did not need to be determined by them, I did not have to be controlled by them.
I can do better. I will do better. There is a solution.
And it was in that moment I realised …
The solution was me. I am the solution.
To Be Continued …
Following my series My Food History – this is a series on My Food-Health from 2013.
Disclaimer: Nothing in this article or on this website should be taken as medical or dietary advice. Anyone reading any information provided within should seek advice from their own medical practitioner for any issue, disease, illness or health-related problem they may have. Always seek your own advice from a medical practitioner or dietitian before changing your own diet.