There is an analogy I used for healthy living called the healthy bank account. In a bank account, we can add money in, or take it out. If we take more out than we put in we have no money for anything and go into debt. Health is the same. Healthy behaviours like eating well, exercise, meditation, laughing with our friends, sleeping good amounts are deposits, whereas eating crap food, under or oversleeping, being inactive or being anxious are withdrawals. The more healthy deposits we make the stronger our healthy bank accounts and health overall. Pretty simple.
But the beauty of this analogy is it demonstrates that if we have been making lots of healthy deposits and building that bank account up there is nothing wrong with withdrawing from that health account every now and then. So it allows us flexibility, like perhaps going out one night with friends and eating pizza and wine. It’s ok, it is not a failure. Life never fits a plan and it is inevitable you will come across a period in your life when you will be taking out more withdrawals but this is not a failure so don’t beat yourself up over it. The key is to make sure when you withdraw from your health account you put in twice as much and do it quickly.
Hence is not about being constantly perfect but rather to as quickly as possible deposit health actions again and learn from our challenges. So if you have a bad meal that’s ok, but as quickly as possible like that next meal – get back onto the horse and make it a healthy one. This allows us flexibility in our lives, and importantly we can accept the ups and downs that naturally occur in life and removes this notion of failure. Be flexible, know your priorities and make sure your actions overall, your net effect, is in a healthy direction.
In fact, those who allow themselves some flexibility are more likely to succeed in the long term. Studies have shown that people who maintain weight loss incorporated a new eating style but to avoid feelings of deprivation and restricting themselves they did not completely restrict their intake of so-called “problem foods”. Compared to people who are more likely to regain weight are those who are overly strict and do not permit themselves any of their favourite foods.
The second part of flexibility is realising there are many paths to the same goal. I am being 100% truthful when I say that some people seem to lose weight much better when they cut out meat and eat more whole grains and plant food, and some people when they reduce their carbohydrates. I will discuss all this in much more detail in future videos, but keep an open mind, be flexible, and perhaps you will need to trial a few different varieties over your journey.
The third part of flexibility is the flexibility of your mind and attitude. As I said in principle 5 – If things don’t change, then things won’t change. Part of this change process is that you will have new insights and these should be welcomed, not resisted. Perhaps you will have insight into the types of foods that work for you and make you feel better, so welcome that. Perhaps you will have insights into your own resistance to change something for no good reason, like “I must have milk in my coffee, that is the way it is” or “I am always alone, no one helps me” – these cognitive patterns are inherited and often empty, meaning the only reason they continue is we have held onto them for some reason that often serves us in some way, perhaps it defines us, or someone once found it funny or attractive, or it allowed you to avoid something. And now you are aware, you have the opportunity to challenge that mental conditioning from your past and grow into a new you. So – we have to be flexible of mind as well.