By Dietitian Jill Place
I think I will trademark the term “Gut-for-You” … it just popped into my brand-new Ebook “Nine Fave GOOD GUT Recipes” (coming in next week’s article). Then I thought … Let’s Make it a GUT-FOR-YOU 2023!
Let me back up and explain. About 15 years ago when I was still coaching acting, I went to a training about starting the New Year right.
And here’s what happened! I had more students than I could handle, started a very successful branding for actors workshop, and was asked to film an 8-hour masterclass using my own unique technique. All in one year!
And … not only that … my private dietitian practice took off. And I was almost to the point … with both businesses … that I didn’t have to depend upon outside consulting anymore. My dream goal!
I never did this end-of-the-year inventory again. And … right now … about 90% of my income comes from outside consulting.
So … I thought … since we’re on the brink of 2023 AND my 5-Day GOOD GUT Challenge … why don’t I offer YOU a similar experience.
We’re going to start this week with some general ideas about how to change. And end this week with a quiz to evaluate your readiness for change adapted from one of my fave books, Changing for Good.
Next week, I’ll give you some exercises about how to bring about A GUT-FOR-YOU 2023 if you’re ready for it. But today let’s let’s start with ideas like …
Let Your Deep Desires Guide You
It’s all well and good to have a New Year’s resolution. But if you don’t identify the deep reason for doing it you’re heading for overwhelm and failure … even if you map out and prioritize it in your life.
Some call it “The Powerful Why”. I’ve also called it a “Heart-Reason” in my article, Setting Up YOUR Health Self-Experiment.
But I think that Bob Wright has the best explanation in his book, Transformed! …
the key to setting ourselves up for change was first to list our goals. Then we should examine each goal and ask ourselves why we want it and what we hope it will do for us. To figure this out, we use the “so that” approach. We say to ourselves, “I want this goal SO THAT____.” Then, we keep digging in until we discover the deeper yearning underneath our goal.
You can do this by processing your goal or resolution through a series of questions, which I’ll share with you in the next article.
Make a Decision to Change … with Joy
This sounds obvious but is probably the hardest part of this journey. Because you have to stay motivated through the ups and downs of change.
Trust me … and you probably already know what I’m going to say as I know you’ve experienced this before … that you’ll get frustrated and want to return to status quo. No matter how painful and debilitating the status quo is.
Because that’s what we’re wired to do. To feel safe.
But finding your joy about your decision to change is really important. Because … as you also know if you’ve ever tried to lose weight … that white-knuckling a diet plan filled with foods we really don’t want just doesn’t cut it.
Finding joy leads to an inner aliveness that releases emotions and allows us to be in the moment. And that’s the state we should live our lives in …
I know … I thank my acting training every day for allowing me to connect with my emotions in the moment. Recently, my sister accused me of thinking about something else when she shared a thought with me.
Now my sister isn’t a great communicator. We grew up in a house where no one listened … they just talked AT each other.
I had to unlearn that communication style to become an actor … and a counselor. In response, I spontaneously blurted out, “I don’t do that … I live in the moment. And respond that way.”
Living in the moment and feeling emotions as they happen has given me a platform to find my joy and aliveness. There are other tools to accomplish this … such as mindfulness. I’ll explore some of them in the next article.
Choose One GUT-FOR-YOU Thing …
It’s human nature to charge in and try to make a bunch of life changes all at once. WRONG ANSWER!
It’s hard enough to do one thing right, let alone a bunch. When you start to juggle, you start by throwing one ball in the air. And … when you master that … add another … and then another.
So … if you start this process by listing a bunch of goals or resolutions for the coming year … which is probably a good place to begin … choose one to work on first. If changing your diet is your goal, and if you’re interested in healing your gut, my GOOD GUT Challenge beginning January 13th might pop to the top of the list.
It’s an easy choice because there’s a framework to follow and definite things to do. But … if you decide on something else to begin with … then clearly define HOW you’re going to make it happen.
For example, if you decide to start the year exercising you have to figure out a framework for yourself … what will I do (Pilates, yoga, running, a combination, etc.) … how will I do it (class, online, personal trainer) … and when will I do it (morning, evening, daily, three times a week, etc.). Then, you have to schedule it!
I use a written schedule pad (I’m old-school … but you can schedule it on your phone, in your Google calendar, or wherever else you schedule). I also note it in my morning journaling.
And also talk exercise up in my journal (or explore WHY it’s so difficult to me) as something I want to do as it’s not my fave thing. I’m still working on it.
Because I have other “balls in the air” … eating well … doing mindfulness … and purposeful work that I love. So I have to work at juggling another (can I do four?).
But … before all that can happen … you have to figure out if you’re ready for change. Here’s a little quiz adapted from one of my all-time fave books, Changing for Good geared to find out if you are ready for a GUT-FOR-YOU 2023.
Let’s make it a GUT-FOR-YOU 2023 Quiz Instructions
SELF-CHANGE IS INEVITABLE. But to do it well, it’s important that you know that IT’S A PROCESS. And that preparing for change is just as valuable as doing it. . To see exactly where you’re at on your way to whatever goal you set for yourself, I’ve divided the process into six distinct phases—CHANGE-STEPS. Which one are you at?
So close your eyes now and picture a huge boulder on top of an icy hill. Frozen to the ground and impossible to budge. Here’s where we start. See it? Now take this little quiz to find out how ready you are to HEAL YOUR GUT FOR BETTER HEALTH.
You’re sitting atop that hill like the icy boulder and, in human terms, most likely denying that a change is even needed in the first place. Most “Frozen” people are powerless to change anything without help.
I like to think of this Change-Step as “I ain’t got a problem … nowhere, no how!” And if you’re the one trying to get a “Frozen” person to alter their behavior, you may even hear, “YOU’RE the one with the problem. Not me.”
The sun comes out and starts to melt the ice around you but you’re still stuck up there on that hill. In human terms, you’re aware of your goals and may have some idea about how to get there, but you don’t want to start just yet.
This is the time to learn as much as you can about available strategies to make whatever goal you’re thinking about happen. You might also want to ask yourself some key questions, like “Should I?”
The ice is now totally thawed, but you’re still stuck up there. In human terms, you’re planning to make some changes very soon, but you’re still not totally sure you want to yet. This is a great time to gather more confidence about the information you’ve selected so that you can take action.
And perhaps also gather people around you to help you make the change … family, friends, and even professionals. Taking small steps to test the waters might also be appropriate at this step. “I think I might…” best describes this CHANGE-STEP.
HOORAY! You’re finally rolling down the hill. But you may hit bumps and shallow spots along the way that may steer you off course. As well as deep crevices that may even return you to the beginning of this process.
You may also only be willing to move in small ways. Or your hill may have a gentle slope and, as a result, the journey may be long and slow. But remember that small actions DO also lead to big wins. What’s a more appropriate label for this step than “CHAARRGE!”?
You’ve rolled past the potholes and hazards and are continuing freely down the hill. It can be either a gentle or steep slope—whatever feels comfortable to you. Or you may also start out slow but want to go faster at some point.
I’d also suggest that you commit to maintaining the gains you’ve made during the “Moving” step, as well as finding coping mechanisms to prevent little slips and big faux-pas that may flip you all the way back to previous CHANGE-STEPS. One way to think of this step is “OK, this is good!”
You have no doubt that you can continue whatever goals you’ve been working toward without backsliding into old behaviors. If you’ve never had issues about food before, this stage may be possible.
Most of the time, however, you may have to be aware of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors about food that may trip you up your entire life. But don’t fret; it does get easier. A good way to define this step is “I’m a-livin’ it and a-lovin’ it!”
The GUT-FOR-YOU 2023 Quiz
Simply choose one answer (number) for each of the 10 questions below and follow the instructions at the end of the quiz to identify your CHANGE-STEP. The one thing I ask is that you be honest with yourself to get the most valid results about how you feel about healing your gut.
- I would feel healthier if I ate to heal my gut.
- I feel fine right now.
- I don’t feel well—I have digestive, mood, skin or other health problems.
- I’ve read about eating to heal my gut and might do it in a few months.
- I’m trying to eat to heal my gut and having some success with it.
- I’m so happy I ate to heal my gut because I feel great!
- I don’t have time to eat to heal my gut.
- I’m fine the way I am.
- I’m too busy to do anything else right now but it sounds interesting.
- I’m considering it but need to figure out how to make time for it.
- I’m making eating for healing my gut a priority in my life.
- Eating for healing my gut was easier than I thought and I do it all the time.
- I would have to stop eating the things I love if I ate to heal my gut.
- I’ll never stop eating my favorite foods.
- I might consider giving up some of the foods I love to feel healthier.
- I’m going to give up some foods I love very soon to feel healthier.
- I’ve given up some of the foods I love and it wasn’t as hard as I thought.
- I love the foods I now eat and mostly don’t miss those I used to eat.
- The people in my life wouldn’t like it at all if I ate to heal my gut.
- I’d never do anything to make the people in my life unhappy with me.
- I might consider changing the way I eat if people in my life were okay with it.
- I’m thinking of eating to heal my gut even if people in my life don’t like it.
- I’m eating to heal my gut and the people in my life will have to get used to it.
- I’ve eaten to heal my gut for some time now and the people in my life are OK with it.
- I would love myself more if I ate to heal my gut.
- I’m fine with the way I am right now.
- I might like myself more if I ate to heal my gut.
- I like the idea of eating to heal my gut and I will do it soon.
- I feel happy and in control because I’m now eating to heal my gut.
- I love everything about eating to heal my gut including myself.
- I can’t change my life to eat to heal my gut.
- I’m fine doing exactly what I’m doing.
- I’m thinking about changing things in my life but I’m not sure right now.
- I’m reading up about eating to heal my gut and think it might change my life.
- I’m changing my life by eating to heal my gut.
- I’ve totally changed my life by eating to heal my gut.
- I would obsess less about food if I ate to heal my gut.
- I can’t see myself not obsessing about food anytime soon.
- I’m considering that eating to heal my gut may stop my obsession about food.
- I’m trying out eating to heal my gut and it seems to decrease my obsession about food sometimes.
- I’m eating to heal my gut most of the time and feel less obsessive about food.
- Eating to heal my gut has pretty much ended my obsession with certain foods.
- There is some benefit from eating the way I do.
- I’m totally OK with eating the way I do.
- I’m seeing that changing to a GUT-FOR-YOU lifestyle may be more beneficial that how I’m eating now.
- I’m seeing that the benefit from eating the way I do may not be right for me and considering other options, including eating to heal my gut.
- I’m eating to heal my gut and seeing that it may benefit me more than how I’m currently eating.
- I now see that eating to heal my gut is better than eating the way I once did.
- The people in my life benefit from the way I eat now.
- I can’t see changing how I eat because of the other people in my life.
- I’m considering eating to heal my gut but worried that the people in my life may not like it.
- I’m going to eat to heal my gut soon and have talked about it with the people in my life.
- I’m eating to heal my gut but still concerned about the way people in my life may feel about it.
- I’m eating to heal my gut and don’t care how people in my life feel about it.
- I would have to work really hard to eat to heal my gut.
- Working hard isn’t my thing.
- I’m thinking about eating to heal my gut even if I have to work really hard.
- I’m going to eat to heal my gut soon even if it may be hard.
- I’m eating to heal my gut now and it’s been hard but I’m okay with that.
- I’ve been eating to heal my gut for some time now and it wasn’t as hard as I thought.
OK … here’s how you score this. Tally up your points in this way:
1 point for every “1”
2 points for every “2”
3 points for every “3”
4 points for every “4”
5 points for every “5”
And here’s the way you determine your CHANGE-STEP. If your score is:
10 … you’re FROZEN!
11-20 … you’re THAWING
21-32 … you’re WARMING
33-40 … you’re MOVING
41-49 … you’re FLOWING
50 … you’re FREE!
If there’s one thing to know about the human body; it’s this: the human body has a ringmaster. This ringmaster controls your digestion, your immunity, your brain, your weight, your health and even your happiness. This ringmaster is the gut ~