A few weeks ago, I had my first colonoscopy.
(In case you’re tempted to not click on “Read More,” I promise not to go into the gory details and I promise you that there’s a point to this story.)
Since I turned 50 last fall, it was time to bite the bullet and schedule it. I don’t know if there’s anyone out there that’s excited to get one – and I was certainly one of them – but I had some interesting revelations as a result of it.
I wasn’t allowed to eat anything the day prior, and I wasn’t allowed to drink alcohol – only clear liquids. When the nurse gave me these instructions, my immediate reaction was, “Oh my God, I’m going to be starving.” And the prospect of spending the day – an almost certainly hectic one – without eating one bite of food and not having a glass of wine to look forward to at the end of it made me panic.
But, since it was a necessary, potentially life-saving medical procedure, I had no choice. So I trotted down to the Rite Aid and picked up my truly hideous prep beverage and prepared myself for the worst. (No, people are not exaggerating – it’s disgusting.)
Going all day without eating in an effort to lose weight is the dead last thing I’d advise any of my clients to do. It creates massive resistance to try and use that much willpower. And when it runs out, you’d probably binge on whatever was in front of you – and feel like a total failure.
However, this is exactly what I did. I didn’t eat one bite of food all day long. And it wasn’t difficult in the slightest – because of how I was looking at it.
First of all, I didn’t have to use willpower. My doctor told me I wasn’t allowed to eat – so I didn’t. Second, because my not eating was imperative for the success of the procedure, I didn’t think of what I was doing as starving myself. In fact, I was going a full day without food in order to support my health.
These shifts in perspective not only made it simple to accomplish something I normally would have found tremendously challenging, but it also gave me a complete reset – one that I badly needed.
During the last three months, I’d gotten into a major rut with my habits . . . and especially my thoughts. And the no-eating colonoscopy experience gave me the energy I needed to jolt me out of my complacency and get a fresh start.
Our surroundings reinforce our habits, and since our day-to-day lives change very little – a 9-to-5 job, carpool lines, and errand running – it feels that much more challenging to start doing things differently. And when you try and fail over and over again, you gradually start to get the feeling that nothing will ever change.
So if this is how you feel right now (and we’ve all been there), what you need is a reset. Here are three ways to get one:
Clean it up. Spend a day in your kitchen, de-cluttering, cleaning out your fridge, and sanitizing shelves. Throw out anything you don’t need – and be ruthless! A kitchen packed to the gills with stuff you don’t need – like those serving dishes you got as wedding gifts fifteen years ago and the jars of jelly and hot sauce you might use “one day” – creates mental weight. And mental weight creates physical weight.
Then spend the next day restocking it with the equipment you need to eat healthy. Get a juicer. Buy a mandolin to make zucchini noodles. Invest in some good knives. Get a beautiful cookbook to inspire you to cook more often. Your environment has a massive influence on what you do, so set it up to work for you rather than against you. (I have a guide to help you do all this. Get it here.)
Take a road trip. Speaking of your environment, it’s important for you to get out of it once in a while. Getting away from your home, where you tend to do the same things, day after day, is a very effective way to start the process of changing your thoughts and habits. Being in a completely different environment removes all the noise and helps you see things differently.
I recommend going away alone, if you can make that happen and you feel comfortable doing it. In our hectic worlds, we’re rarely by ourselves, so we never get time to assess and process how we feel and reflect on what we’re going through. Having a different perspective – literally – can be exactly what you need to reset yourself.
If you can’t take a trip alone, take the day off and drive to the closest city or town. Wander around a park or do some shopping. Sit in a café with your journal, write down how you feel and what you’re struggling with, and make a detailed plan of changes you want to make.
Take care. There couldn’t be a better way to push the reset button than to have a day devoted to caring for yourself.
Spending years on end, dieting and failing, puts your inner critic on full blast. And most of our negative thoughts are about how much we hate our bodies and the way we look. Taking time to pamper yourself makes you feel peaceful about yourself and loving toward your body.
No women I know spend nearly enough time in self-care – if they do it at all. We spend most of our days caring for others and rarely doing anything for ourselves. Take a day and reset not only your body but, most importantly, your thoughts.
Change starts in the mind. And a change in perspective is exactly what you need to get the ball rolling.
What one thing could you do today to give yourself a reset? Is there another strategy you can think of to jumpstart the change process? Leave a comment and let me know.
Thoughts are a powerful force that can either keep you stuck or transform you into a completely different person. You’re capable of more than you think, and change isn’t as out of reach as you imagine it to be. All you need is a reset to see it clearly.
Fortunately, you don’t have to get a colonoscopy to do it!