Monday
Jul282014

What do you lie about? 

What do you lie about? No seriously, what do you lie about? Maybe I should be a little bit more specific about what I’m asking here. I’m not looking for the big lies that people tell, such as fraud or living a double life with 2 families (although if you do have such lies maybe you do need to have a think about things). The lies I’m trying to identify are those lies that people tell because they are embarrassed about certain behaviours that they have.

It’s when you tell your friends that you only drink once or twice a week when you know that you are actually going through a bottle of wine every night, or you lie about how much fast food you have to your partner or, you hide chocolate in the house which you eat when no one else is around. Do you have any of these types of lies in your life?  

If you have read my articles for a while now you will know that my one weakness in life is Coke Zero, it’s the one temptation I have where I have no stop point once I start. Due to this I’ve determined that it’s best to not allow it to be an option for me in my day to day life. I do however allow myself one day a week where I can have it but other than that I have come to realise that it is best for me to stay away from Coke Zero because I will consume unhealthy levels. 

I had an experience a while ago, before I had put these boundaries around my consumption, where I was drinking Coke Zero every day, I would drink at least 1.5 litres but often up to 3 litres. I knew that I was being unhealthy and that it wasn’t good for me on a physical level but I also felt that I was weak on a mental level because I knew that I should stop. My partner Jo is very accepting of my behaviours but I knew that she would be concerned if she knew that I was drinking that much, so I found myself starting to hide this from her. I would make sure there was no evidence of my coke drinking by removing the bottles as soon as they were finished and I’d drink it at times of the day when Jo wasn’t around. I was slightly embarrassed of my behaviour which lead me to lying to Jo. Although it wasn’t straight out lying to her face, as she didn’t know it was a problem, my behaviour of hiding this from her was allowing me to remove the concern that I know she would bring to the situation. 

This went on for a couple of weeks and once I became aware of my dishonesty I knew I had to address it, not just because I didn’t want to be dishonest to Jo but I knew I needed to head towards healthier behaviours and so I set my new boundaries and got back to a place that I like to be within myself.  

Hiding unhealthy behaviours from those around us can come at a huge cost, there’s the obvious health cost and the sense that you are losing yourself due to your dishonesty but there’s also the fact that you aren’t allowing those who can help you be there for you in a  supportive way. It’s understandable why we feel embarrassed, we feel like we are letting others down and we like to paint the best picture of ourselves to the world - what would they think if they found out about this side of us?

If you know you are hiding certain behaviours from those around you maybe it’s time for you to address it, it could be an area of your life that you need to work on. The first step my be opening up about what you have been doing and from there you can get support, develop good strategies to move forward, and then start the work on improving in this area. 

Ultimately you’ll achieve a healthier place for yourself but more importantly you’ll be living in a way where you can be true to be yourself and your world, a place where you don’t need to hide anything.

 

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Friday
Jul182014

My little let downs

I’m a lucky man, there are many reasons why I think I’m lucky but one of the main reasons is that my lovely partner Jo loves cooking. This is a match made in heaven because I love eating. Every night I have a meal that to me is like restaurant quality, even when Jo quickly whips something up she delivers a better meal than what I could put together on my best day in the kitchen. Although you could count on one hand the number of dinners I have cooked for us in the years we have lived together, I do have a role in our daily meal schedule.  

Since we both work from home it’s my job to make lunch and although my lunch repertoire isn’t huge I can deliver a pretty mean wrap. Each day at around 12pm I stop what I’m doing and make our lunch. If you ask me what is on the menu I think of what I see on my plate; there’s a healthy wrap filled with a mix of fresh salad ingredients, an orange and a couple of biscuits. While that is a true representation of what is on my plate it isn’t actually an entirely true representation of what I’m eating at lunchtime. You see, I recently discovered that I’m a ‘food preparation eater’ which means that when I’m making our lunch I spend the whole 15mins picking at the food that I’m using to make the meal. I’ll have an extra slice of cheese, a couple of bits of tomato, extra ham and pick at the other ingredients as I work my way through making lunch. If I were to be completely honest I probably add an extra quarter to the amount of food that I have on my plate when I sit down to eat my lunch.  

My lunchtime preparation eating habits are what I like to call my ‘little let downs’, these are the times in my day where I am adding unnecessary eating in ways that aren’t accounted for. Often with ‘little let downs’ we don’t even realise we are doing it, it is almost a subconscious practice that happens when we are mid-task and if you asked me what I have for lunch I would most likely only acknowledge the food on the plate. It’s not because I am trying to hide it or lie about it, I just don’t see it happening when I’m doing it. 

I think this happens to many of us and occurs a lot in our day to day eating. It’s the food we eat when we are preparing a meal, the snack we grab when we come home from work or the candy bar we grab when we are at the petrol station or waiting in line at the supermarket and while we may not account for these, they can make up a decent component of our daily food intake.  

Are someone who struggles with your weight? It might be a good idea to see if you can identify if you have any ‘little let downs’ in your day which could be playing a negative role in your weight management. Many people can identify these occurring between 3 to 5 times a day and if we think back to my lunch example I was adding around 25% more extra food to my meal, if you times that by 3 or 5 - that is a lot of additional food in a daily diet. 

For the person who wants to lose weight or who finds it hard to keep in a healthy weight range that they are happy with, learning to identify little let downs and then planning ways to remove them could be a big step in getting to a healthy place with eating. A great tool to use is a food diary as these identify the times when these little let downs sneak in.  

There is so much information on weight loss out there, so many different approaches and theories, it can become very confusing to decipher and determine what the best approach is for you. Looking at your little let downs and spending time removing them from your day to day diet could be a great place to start and you may find that after you have identified and removed them, weight management could become a much easier thing to do. 

 

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Friday
Jul112014

Where do you go during your emotionally challenging times? 

One of the best things you can have in life is a friend who comes to you to talk about hard topics when they feel it is needed, they come from a place of caring, insight and support. These are the people who will pull you up on an area where they know you are letting yourself down or they will help you to see a side of yourself that you hadn’t seen in the past, they care about you and can communicate their thoughts in a supportive way and become very important people to have around. 

A few years ago one of my very good friends did just this, they came to me and gave me insight into an area about myself to which I was blind. We were having a conversation about how I dealt with tough times, he said ‘what’s interesting about you Bevan is that when you are faced with emotionally tough situations you push everything away, you close off to your world in a way that hurts yourself and pushes those who can support you away’. I’d never seen this behaviour in myself but once his words hit my ears I knew that he was absolutely correct and looking back I could see that in emotionally challenging times how my behaviour ultimately lead to me struggling for longer and pushing away those important people.

My friend’s insight made me realise this was an area I needed to work on and the question I explored to do this was ‘what are healthy ways for me to deal with the emotional times?’.

Within my different roles, people share a lot about themselves and I’m fortunate to gain a massive insight into their lives. Over time I have learnt a huge amount about how we all deal with different situations but one of the biggest observations I’ve made is that many of us have terrible strategies when it comes to dealing with emotionally challenging times. Many of us head towards self destructive behaviours and often in extreme ways, it’s the person who instantly thinks about having a drink when the going gets tough or the person who uses food for comfort or more extreme behaviours like cutting or violence. 

Emotionally driven times can lead towards an unhealthy place not only for an individual but also for those people around them. Think about yourself, when you are faced with an emotionally driven time where do you go to, either internally or externally, to deal with the situation? Think back to the last time you were faced with this, how did you deal with it? If you go to a self destructive, unhealthy place what affects does this have on your life and your relationships with those around you? Does it ultimately lead to you hurting yourself and others in some way? 

It’s a pity that we aren’t taught in school how to deal with emotionally challenging times, it’s seems that often we learn this behaviour when we are very young and reacting to a difficult situation in a way that is not necessarily the best way. The good news is that it is something you can change, you can develop your behaviour in a way which enables you to better cope with hard times.

Exercise, creative outlets, communication with the right type of person, meditation and reflective planning are a few ways to deal with these times. If you know that you use destructive behaviours when you are emotional it’s definitely worth putting your energy into developing some of the method. Ultimately you want to develop a multi-angle approach so for example when faced with a tough time you could go for a walk, talk to your understanding friend, write your thoughts down and remove pressures from other areas of your life. 

The other area we need to develop is recognising when we are heading towards this place. We need to become great at knowing when we are heading down the destructive path and then use triggers to activate healthier behaviours. If previously you thought to yourself ‘everything’s getting on top of me, I need a drink’, you could recognise that this very thought is a trigger and it’s time to implement your healthy strategies. 

Life is not always easy, we are all faced with challenges, some of which can be extremely hard to get through and whilst we all have our own ways that we deal with them if we can have healthy  strategies that create a place that doesn’t hurt us or those around us, we can actually become stronger for it.

 

If you enjoy my pieces you can get them emailed to you when I put them on the internet. This way you won't have to come back to my website to check when a new piece is out. Don't worry I won't spam you. If you want to join up just put your details in here: