From the First Grocery Shop until now, it has been over six weeks of becoming a vegan. Woo, go me!
This is quite a long time for me. But, this time, I’ve consciously gone more deeply and asked myself: Why am I seeking a lasting change to my diet–as opposed to superficially following dieting “rules”?
For a long time, I’ve lived in the words, “tomorrow, tomorrow…” but I’ve come to realize I don’t need to reach a fictitious “I’ve made it!” perfect, healthy place, or even wait another moment, to start feeling good about myself.
This post shows the simple mindset shifts I’ve used to reach 6 weeks–and beyond!
Mindset Shift Part 1: Uncovering my limiting beliefs and hold awareness of them.
In the past when I reached for that sugary chocolate bar, I’d always focus on the action and outcome (bloatedness, weight gain, bad skin, etc.), thinking this is what made me unhealthy (not to mention the cursing afterward).
What I needed to be asking myself is WHY am I taking these unhealthy actions in the first place?
In spending so much time focusing on changing behaviors, I was facing an uphill struggle. Rather, I needed to focus on changing my beliefs in order to create a new identity for myself.
The word IDENTITY is key because it must become someone that I am, rather than something that I am doing.
When my first grocery shopped arrived, I stepped back and noticed my thoughts. I realized I was a little bit embarrassed. Through internal observation, I could examine my embarrassment with curiosity.
I watched the delivery guy stack an endless array of nuts, fruit, and veggies onto the kitchen table, believing he would be forming an opinion our lifestyle and home:
“Too much money to burn”
It’s incredible! These are thoughts that I was thinking. ME. About myself. And what I’m doing.
What the delivery man was thinking was completely irrelevant. It was clear to me that I have a vast array of stereotypes and lingering, limiting beliefs that I need to smash if I want to flourish at this.
It’s very easy to project thoughts in the moment into a reason to falter in the future. But these beliefs are not real. If I let them fester subconsciously, they will slowly take hold of me.
In the spirit of living in my Truth, these are my limiting beliefs around shifting to healthy, whole foods:
–I’m worried that if I slip even once, people won’t take me seriously and will make fun of me.
–I’m nervous that I won’t follow through, and this new way of eating will be just another fad for me.
–I’m not sure how strict I will eventually be, and I don’t want to profess to be something now that might change later.
–I know from past experience that once I fall off the cart with an endeavour–even ONCE–I usually throw my hands up in the air and say, “forget it.”
–Being healthy is a great reward for this commitment. Do I deserve that?
–I’m worried my family will judge me and be saddened that I’m trying something different.
From these limiting beliefs, I can observe my core beliefs:
1. I’m afraid to fail.
2. I’m don’t believe I deserve a healthy, happy body.
3. I’m afraid of rejection from my peers and loved ones.
Those are my beliefs. That’s my pattern. But most importantly: it doesn’t matter. They are just thoughts, nothing to be scared of. They’re still there, but they will erode over time if I just observe them.
Digging deeper, uncovering these beliefs, and observing them compassionately is so much more empowering and effective for the continued quest for health than mindlessly plowing on.
Mindset Shift Part 2: Understand why I am switching to a plant-based lifestyle.
What am I doing this for? What is my end goal?
It’s simple: my reason (or reasons) for doing this new healthy lifestyle must be greater than my reasons for not doing it.
For me, I want to feel fabulous inside and glow on the outside, feeling a sense of confidence from that bouncy feeling of being healthy. But most of all, I want to be congruent. I want my inner self to know that the wellness of the body is crucial to having a healthy and balanced mind, and I feel a deeper sense of duty to show my lovely readers the same.
So for just a few moments every day, I shut my eyes and really sit with the image of my “whys.” If I feel I’m slipping back into my old habits, then I redress the balance and meditate for longer on my “whys,” so they feature more brightly in my mind’s eye than my old lifestyle. The right actions will follow.
I have been doing this every single day, and each day it becomes a little more natural and effortless. Slowly, it’s becoming my new identity precisely because I’m shifting my belief system.
One caveat: I’m making this sound easy; it can be easy, but mostly it takes time, investment, and effort to really look at your internal self.
You have built up a habit of a lifetime, and your subconscious mind, well, it really doesn’t care about your aspirations and goals; it wants to keep you as you are because you’re alive, so something must have been working so far.
Your subconscious mind has a tendency to say to you: “Hey! Why are you rocking the boat?! Get back in your box!”, and we shrink away from that feeling, returning to our old behaviors. That little voice ultimately thinks it’s trying to help us by keeping the status quo, but your conscious mind knows better. We need to compassionately let the subconscious mind know:
“Don’t worry: I got this.”
Will I still be a vegan 5 years from now, 2 years from now? I don’t know.
What I do know is that there’s no guarantee on health, now, tomorrow, or ever.
I can only ever take action to better my well-being at the moment I am standing in.
I tell myself: Made the wrong choice? No problem, that moment is gone. Look inside, choose again.
Living a wholesome, healthy, life starts…
Also by Jen: Turning Vegan in 2016: The First Grocery Shop
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Photos: Yanko Peyankov via Unsplash, Jen Francis