It can be so easy to forget where we have come from. A 100 years ago we were born and died in a twelve-mile radius and for most of us traveling far was something we never got to do, we just walked everywhere. Our primary focus was on learning what everyone else did, if we did the same we would still be alive like them, it’s our survival mechanism innately part of who we are. The survival mechanism we have is so amazing it has made us the most over populated species on the planet. But when this same instinct becomes unbalanced they can run havoc in our lives. If you have read the blog Down The Rabbit Hole you will be quite aware that we didn’t want to stand out, as it often became an issue if we did. Doing what we were told was normal and choice not often an option. If we were born near the sea we had better get used to all things that this lifestyle brought with it, learn to love eating fish and to swim otherwise life would be a challenge and we wouldn’t live long.
Now we get to make choices and we don’t need to follow in our parent’s footsteps. If we don’t like the sea we move, or if we don’t like fish we can choose absolutely anything we desire within reason. But being very honest, for many of us, how lucky are we to have shelter, warmth, safety and food and we can choose to live our lives the way we want too? I know that there are many people that don’t have the privileges our life style gives us, in some parts of the world people would chop of their right arm to live our lives. But it is time we appreciate this and start taking action so we can find the control we need to be the best versions of ourselves.
Children grow up in their parents and peers image, I am sure all of you have noticed how children copy our behaviours, they are constantly looking around to find how they should be living, thinking and feeling. Many schools of psychology feel that as people we have learned and embedded all of our beliefs, life habits, hopes, fears and dreams by the time we got to the age of six. Yes, that right just six, not many of us knew our own minds at age six, so how many of our choices are truly ours or are they the things we learned from the people we grew up with? Are we resisting change because we are too afraid to leave the comfort zone of our learned and developed beliefs. For many of us we are stuck like a record on repeat not able to break free from the past beliefs and if we do for a while, we can’t seem to make permanent changes. The last blog Choose Lasting Change hopefully gave you a new view on this and hopefully more strength to change, by stepping out of denial and being honest with ourselves. If we’re not in control then we need to stop trying to pretend that we are or could be, and instead embody zero tolerance to whatever it is we are addicted to- whether its food, worries, drinking or any bad habit.
Take a moment and think about our parent’s lives; were they serial worriers, eaters, drinkers? Can you see a pattern that is similar to how you are? Are you just living your parents lives? Now is the time to make choices for you and to take control of your life. Let us now look at the bigger picture, as we don’t just live in solitude with our parents the world around us has an impact on us too. We go to people houses, schools, nurseries, we have friends we play with and they have parents, we have aunt’s uncles, grandparent’s. Ok let’s stop there, you’re getting the picture, all these people in our lives influence who we are and the habits we live with today.
Now let’s widen the net, nearly all of us as children watched TV, read books, played games, heard stories and all of these had an impact on us as well. Our minds are full of all of these influences. Finally, we have our genetic emotions and pre-dispositions, these have been passed on to us. When you think about it, that’s so many influences and so far, none of them have been your choices. Let’s take a moment to look at the world view! Today we are going to look at food and eating, but you can transpose these principles into any habit.
We have spent millions of years living on this planet and to do this we have had to search for food and water to survive. If we don’t have water to drink then we only have a few days to live. Food we can live without for longer, maybe three weeks but long-term lack of food can cause nutrient deficiencies and dangerous side effects. Let’s look at 100 years ago, prior to that we had to fight to find food and water to survive. Of course, unless we were a king, queen, wealthy or influential, which of course most of us weren’t. Until the early 1900’s, for a woman to have extra weight on her body was a symbol of beauty and fertility, for men, weight meant power. For both sexes, excess weight signified good health and wealth. This was only a 100 years ago and millions of years of history are embedded in our genetic emotions.
Mauritania is one of the few African countries where, on average, girls receive more food than boys. Obesity is so revered among Mauritania’s white Moor Arab population that the young girls are sometimes force-fed to obtain a desired weight and the government has described this activity as “life-threatening”. The BBC reported that this had been going on for centuries and now only around one in 10 girls are treated this way but it is still happening. The treatment has its roots in extra weight being seen as a sign of wealth – if a girl was thin she was considered poor, and would not be respected. It was so important that some girls were sent to ‘fat farms’ from as young as 7 to be fattened up, most of them do eat, but those that were deemed as slim are forced too ear by the people running these places and their parents.
The survival instinct is our biggest driver and the impulse to eat is so we can be strong and survive. If we are struggling with our weight and have issues with food, we are just confused by all these mixed messages running through our unconscious mind. Of course, we consciously understand that we shouldn’t eat too much unhealthy food or that we are not going to run out of food so we don’t need to store it up in our bodies. But, our bad habits and beliefs are getting in the way of making rational choices over food. If this wasn’t bad enough then came along sugar about 8,000 years ago. In the medieval times sugar was very expensive and considered a fine spice, traded like gold and reserved for the wealthy. 2,000 years ago we learnt how to manufacture cane sugar and it started to become cheaper, making the choice of having sugar possible for the poor and not just the elite. In the 18th Century sugar consumption increased by 20 times as the trade boomed and history can even define this time. Historians and archaeologists date remains by their teeth and as soon as sugar was prevalent in our society we had massive amounts of tooth decay. For millions of years we lived with a healthy diet of lots of vegetables, pulses, grains, fruit, with small amounts of meat and dairy. This diet must have been great for us as it has kept us alive for millions of years, we know now this makes us super healthy eating this way. Now we are quite aware of how addictive sugar is, for some people say it’s as addictive as cocaine. Fast forward to today and sugar is everywhere and production is still increasing. In 2017 BBC researchers says the sugar and sweeteners market is worth 97.2 billion dollars, wow that is one massive figure!
Since 1975 obesity in the world has nearly tripled! In 2016, 1.9 billion adults were overweight and 650 million were obese. It’s not surprising that obesity kills more people that malnutrition. Which is a staggering figure, imagine if we could all learn to eat what we truly needed and share the food with the people who don’t have enough. I know that’s a bit out there and doesn’t seem in reach, but if we all try then over time as a population we could transform the world.
It’s crazy isn’t, In England Diet drugs started in the 1800’s and in the 1920’s calorie counting started, specialists back in the day also recommended reading aloud and sprinkling the body with hot sand to sweat out fat. From the 1960’s onwards, group slimming began with weight watchers, fad foods and diets have continued since then. The diet industry is expected to be worth 206.4 billion by 2019 these figures seem hard to comprehend. I think even harder to understand is despite all of this 64% of people are overweight and this figure is still rapidly rising, in this crazy battle to search for a quick fix when do we finally stop and say it’s not working?
Now is the time to say, stop its not working let’s get real and get back to a natural healthy life style and forget the dieting. Just plenty of vegetables, fruit, nuts, pulses, grains and a limited amount of meat and dairy. No more fads, no more quick fixes, eat less and move more, your body will feel healthier and naturally lose weight.
You might be saying how do I fix this, but just think about it all as habits and addictions, with most of our learned and developed habits coming from the people around us. It’s time to empower yourself with your own choices, making new beliefs and habits be the person you want to be.
Always remember this ……These are not yours habits …..it’s time to let them go and choose something new and healthy. It’s not been truly making you happy or you wouldn’t be reading this, you can change.
Like any habit we learn it, so it can be unlearned. We are constantly learning new habits, as children we learn the most, some are of course more ingrained than other but it’s still just a habit. We learn to move, walk, talk and many more things, we don’t stop in our childhood many of us learn to drive its complicated and seems hard at first but over time we master it. We have control the food is not being forced down our throats we can say no we don’t need to follow the crowd to stay safe. The first steps are getting out of denial, finding healthy easy options you can replace the unhealthy choices by, give up chocolate and say hello to strawberries it takes more calories to digest them than there is in them. That’s a win, win situation and they taste great too.
We maybe haven’t had the help and the tools we need to help us change. Read Choose lasting change again and let’s start changing. Plus, next week looks further down this crazy rabbit hole of addictions with downloads becoming available for you too in the next few weeks too.
Thanks for dropping by Sara x