By Dietitian Jill Place AKA The Queen of Leaky Gut
I know that I explained how to set up your health self-experiment in my last blog, EXPERIMENT Your Way to Health. But I’d like to take it one step further now and give you step-by-step directions about how to do that.
To begin, I don’t think that you should set up a self-experiment, especially one that strikes some negative or fearful chords within you, until you explore what I call a “Heart-Reason” for doing it in the first place.
What’s a Health Self-Experiment Heart-Reason?
Let’s not confuse “reason” with “purpose”. A purpose is a contemplated or realized accomplishment, like writing a book or losing 50 pounds. A reason, however, is a deep, unerring trajectory towards your ultimate sense and sensibility of being around that purpose. I also call it “The POWERFUL Why”.
It’s the “why” that makes sense of the “what”. If that sounds a little Woo-Woo … it kinda is. Because it’s about finding that inner a-ha to propel you forward towards a resonance with your purpose. And it’s impossible to accomplish your chosen purpose successfully without it.
Finding My Own Heart-Reason
I’ll use myself as an example here. My recent health self-experiment purpose was to lose weight. I’ve tried a trillion times (as have you, I’m sure) to do it … all of them unsuccessful.
But I’m turning 74 this month. And my stamina and joints (although half the people I saw at the market today stiffly, slowly shuffled around while I effortlessly pirouetted the perimeter [a bit of an exaggeration]) aren’t what they used to be. But … now that I’ve shared it … I know that doesn’t strum a resonant enough chord in my heart.
A much deeper heart-reason is that I don’t feel totally in my skin. Even though I’ve done a ton of mental and spiritual work on myself.
NOW I know why I’m hiding in this 50 pounds … a bulbous bulk to keep me from being desirable to men among other things. I also realize that this bulk was something I used to wield power … but I don’t think I need it to reign royal now. After all … I AM The Good Gut Queen …
OH … wow … that summoned up a heavenly-humming entire choir of angels! I’m tearing up a bit … and I think I just found my heart-reason for losing weight. I just don’t want to feel this way ANYMORE … another good reason to take action!
How to Find Your Heart-Reason
A little reality check here … and this AIN’T Woo-Woo. A reason isn’t discovered … it’s created. So let’s create it …..
Think of it as something that resides deeply within you … where do you live with it? What do you want you life to look like? I know that I see mine as 50 pounds (or a weight I can finally live with after I come out of hiding) lighter … the operative word being lighter.
I just want to live the rest of my life with this lightness and resulting joy. I want to stop hiding too … I’m good at that … I was an actress for many years … I’m good at being someone else.
Here are some ways to find your own heart-reason …
Step One … Be Brutally Honest with Yourself
Did you see how I first distracted myself when I figuring out my reason for losing weight? And went off on a tangent with the slowly shuffling people in the market?
Those reasons suck as bad as wanting to lose weight to look good for an event … no matter how important the event is. And you COULD go on this way your entire life never hitting on the REAL reason for want to do something life-changing.
So cut the sh-t and figure out your powerful WHY for whatever health self-experiment purpose you have in mind. Think of the reason not as a gentle shift but as a rousing rebellion against a life lulled by myriad screens and the dull destiny of genetics and environment.
You have to look beyond the obvious and the mundane and really find that revolutionary reason that will make your life rich and worth living. Oh … and a little hint … you’ll know when you get there when the feelings start flowing.
A way to do this is to:
Step Two: Question Yourself
To start, you might want to get a pen and paper (or journal) and write answers to the following from my article, Magic Pill Mindset BEGONE! …
- What do I want to change about my health?
- What am I willing to do in order to get what I want?
- How much work, time, and effort am I willing to put in every day?
That’s a good beginning. Now go deeper and ask yourself …
- What makes me come alive?
- How do I add the greatest value to whatever I do?
- How will I measure that my life has been well-lived?
THEN ask about your reason for whatever purpose you’d like to explore (i.e. lose weight, get healthy, cure yourself of an autoimmune disease, etc.)
- What do I want to do to make my life better?
- Why do I want to do that?
- Is that true? If not, why do I want to do that?
- Is that true? If not, why do I want to do that? …
Continue in this way until the angels (or whoever you picture) start singing ( or whatever they do). Or until you answer “yes” to “Is that true?”. Then do yourself a favor and …
Step Three: Visualize What You Want …
Once you have a hint about what your Heart-Reason is, it helps if you also visualize it. If you don’t know what that is, all you have to do is to find a quiet place, sit or lie down, close your eyes, and see (or feel … some people don’t visualize well) a scene where all your dreams come true around this particular purpose and reason.
Here are the elements of a good visualization …
- Have a clear idea of what you want (your purpose)
- Describe it in great detail (write it out, record it, and play it back)
- Start visualizing and feel the feelings (ask yourself … what would I feel if this was true now … the reason)
- Do it every day (take some time to do this and allow joyful feelings to flow freely)
- Persevere (it takes time to create what you want … don’t give up!)
Step Four: Write Out Your Heart-Reason
Years ago, when I was teaching acting, I taught a very successful class in actor-branding. I intuitively felt (there are my feelings again … running wild!) that it was the right thing to do. But I didn’t expect what happened next!
The whole purpose of the eight-hour workshop was to define in just the right words an actor’s essence … not only what they were good at acting-wise but what deep soul-self they manifested. In other words, they were finding a reason for their purpose … acting.
But I made them be very specific in their wording. One part of the final statement they wrote was the brand (one was “Sophisticated Samurai with Ex-Acting Edge” … the purpose) and the other was a deeply-felt statement of why they wanted to act (the reason).
Even in a room of 10-15 incredibly supportive actors, one woman … who had just played Gertrude to some big star’s Hamlet on Broadway (i.e. The Actor’s Mecca) almost bolted from the room.
I stood in front of her. “Don’t leave NOW!” I blockaded … then bellowed “WHY DO YOU WANT TO ACT???” Startled, she blurted … “to strip the mask away”. My body and voice relaxed … “You got it … sit down!” Even the successful actress was so frightened to state her reason that she was willing to desert herself.
Why am I telling you this? To caution you not to desert yourself when finding a reason for your health self-experiment …
The What-Happened-Next …
Because, if you hang in there … no matter how painful it might be, the “what happened next” will be nothing short of stupendous. The “Sophisticated Samurai” got a 6-hour BBC miniseries in which he played a samurai. And almost everyone in that first workshop got acting work soon afterwards … even those who had never had a professional job.
There’s magic in them-there words. So … play with yours until you express exactly what you want … then …