During my recovery I have made several major changes in lifestyle. Most of these have been done gradually, as when you have very little energy it’s hard to change anything.
I have been reflecting on how I have made these changes and realised that when I’m successful I focus on what I am increasing or moving towards, not what I am decreasing or moving away from. Here’s a couple of examples to illustrate what I mean:
Increase rest and decrease activity
I focused on increasing my rest by agreeing a rest schedule with my Occupational Therapist and over the coming weeks my focus was on ensuring I rested at the times we had agreed. To do this I had to stop whatever my activity was at that time and go and rest (at that time I used to lie on my bed to rest). This naturally meant I decreased my activity, but I didn’t think about that aspect.
Increase vegetables and decrease processed food
I have made many changes to my diet. You can view my foods to eat more of and foods to eat less of lists. Whist there does need to be some awareness of what you are trying not to eat it is much better to focus on adding in the foods you want to increase.Since we have a finite appetite this will naturally lead to a decrease in other foods (the processed stuff we want to move away from).
With this focus I can think about eating the foods that nourish my body and help it to heal, which makes me feel good about myself, rather than focusing on the foods I can’t eat and feeling deprived and negative about the changes.
I personally don’t ban any foods, I haven’t been diagnosed with a food allergy/intolerance. So therefore if I want to eat a certain food I can. However, the more I stick to the foods that are good for me, the better I feel and the less I want to eat the foods that I’m trying to avoid.
If you’re struggling to make a change try focusing on the positive aspect of the change – know what you are moving towards and focus on that rather than what you are moving away from.