October 3, 2017
If you view a change in diet as something you “get to” do, as opposed to something you “have to” do, you’ll be much more likely to one, stick with it and truly feel the benefits, and two, enjoy yourself as you go through the process. Here’s what I mean…
I once had a patient who had an eating problem. He had some serious health issues, and he was in and out of the hospital pretty regularly. But what triggered these episodes was his habit of going out and eating so much he’d end up on a ventilator by the end of the night. He would eat so much that he could no longer breathe on his own.
I remember one instance where he was in the hospital for a few weeks. We were attempting to get his symptoms alleviated enough for him to go back out and live his life. He was making progress, and finally, he was discharged.
Not two nights later, I saw him again. At a local steakhouse. When I made my rounds the next morning, I was not surprised to see he was back.
It’s All About Perspective
It’s a sad case, but it’s not an isolated one. Many Americans are stuck in a pattern of this kind of self-destruction. It’s not only limited to diet, of course, but the whole idea of eating ourselves into an early grave is alarming to me.
Because, for one, we know which foods are bad for us. It’s not a mystery. A 20-ounce steak served with butter, a deep-fried onion dipped in fatty batter, and a loaded baked potato? That’s not good for you and you know it.
Secondly, part of what makes those foods so bad for you is that they cause inflammation inside the body. And these staples of the Standard American Diet— aptly shortened to SAD— aren’t just bad for your heart, or your arteries, or your liver. They’re also terrible for your mental health. A recent study showed that out of a group of 120 women, the ones who ate more meat and refined grains and drank more soda were far more likely to be depressed a decade later.
This vicious cycle is one reason why the the SAD diet persists. You eat it, it makes you physically and mentally sick, and to alleviate that feeling, you eat more.
And the crazy part? This state of affairs is what “normal” looks like. It’s how most people eat. And it’s impossible to be happy when what you’re eating is making you actively depressed.
So How Do You Break the Cycle?
This might sound a little overly simplistic, but what I’m about to say is true.
Happiness, at its core, is about perspective. It’s a choice.
You can be eating a huge steak and get a lot of pleasure out of it. But you could also eat a stick of celery and, depending on how you view your life and health, be equally happy. Or, more likely, even happier.
If you view a change in diet as something you “get to” do, as opposed to something you “have to” do, you’ll be much more likely to one, stick with it and truly feel the benefits, and two, enjoy yourself as you go through the process.
Now, the patient I referenced up top was probably in a spot where it was going to take a lot more work than the average person on his end to shift his view of life. He didn’t get that way overnight, after all. But you’re probably in a much better place. And just changing the angle at which you look at things can have a massive impact on both your health and your happiness.
Learn more about breaking the cycle in your life in this video!