“Just Do Better” Doesn’t Work

Oct 31, 2021 | blog

I wish I had a dollar for every time 11 year old son, Cash, said “candy corn” to me this week. I love Halloween for the costumes and colors and the excitement of being out and about trick or treating, but this “holiday” represents so much of what is messed up with our society and food. 
That same child mentioned above is getting another colonoscopy (he had one last year) for issues with ulcerative colitis. He’s in what’s called a flare right now. He’s not in pain (or at least he doesn’t complain), but let’s just say it’s not ok for someone to lose blood like this during a normal biological process.  
The medical doctor says there’s no need to change his diet because the only scientific proof we have available to course correct is a prescription. This is so frustrating, not only because I’ve studied nutrition, but we all know the feeling of eating something and then feeling like crap. #commonsense
Yes, there’s a genetic link as this condition runs in our family, but I know without a doubt – like I would stand in front of train with utter fist-shaking conviction – that what we eat influences our health.  
We all know this on a theoretical level, right? We know that what we eat can make us overweight and sick. But yet, it’s so hard to implement the daily change. 
And yet more important than ever. For Cash and for you…
Just Do Better
So you’re lying in bed at the end of the day thinking about what you ate and then say to yourself, tomorrow I’ll do better. Because you know what you’re supposed to eat, but in the moment, you don’t actually do that. 
Or you say, if someone tells me exactly what I should eat, I’ll do it! But then you get that detailed healthy meal plan and don’t follow it or maybe pick and choose what’s seems natural. But you tried, right?? It was just a really busy time or some of the recipes looked too complicated. 
Perhaps you’ve done a restrictive diet or cleanse and stopped eating your favorites for a month or more. Then it’s over and maybe the first week you sustain it, but then there’s a party or an event and you just want to partake a little. Next thing you know, a few weeks have gone by and the “progress” you made has gone bye bye. 
“I’ll just do better.” you tell yourself. It’s chastising and kind of ugly.  

How come this cycle happens? I’ll tell you a couple reasons below!
You’re Not on an Island

It’s really interesting to me as a health coach how many of my clients think that it’s their personality flaws that are the only things contributing to making change or not following through on themselves. I know I’ve ranted about this before, but we are BOMBARDED with unhealthy foods all day long, every day. 
How does Cash even know about candy corn??? We think we’re making decisions based on our own free will and yes, it’s true, you are ultimately responsible for your own wellbeing, however we are influenced by the world around us. 
Our outside world has drastically, dramatically changed in the last 40 years. Processed food didn’t exist like this before the 1980s. The rise in chronic disease and obesity correlates to increased consumption of packaged/processed food, sugary beverages and less real food. 
Our palettes are way out of whack because real food can’t compete with what has been manufactured for addiction. It takes more work to eat healthy because not only do we have to make the effort to cook and plan, but we also must mentally overcome the outside influences that are everywhere. 
But I know we can do it! I see it happen for my people! Create your own island — one that is 80% real food and 20% other. This is doable! 
What Do You Believe? 
Sometimes we need to learn new things, like how there’s so many other options besides vegetable oil to cook with. Once you sauté your vegetables in healthy ghee (aka clarified butter), you’ll never want canola oil again! There are so many recipes available for snacks that provide some nutrients, rather than out of whack fat-sugar-carb ratios. If you need ideas, join my Facebook group Creating a Joyful Life. 
But, Laura, I know what to do, I just don’t seem to be able to be consistent. Ah, well perhaps it’s not about the practical stuff. Maybe you have a lack of belief.  
I’d like to thank Henry Ford for this quote: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”
Do you believe you can lose weight? Yes or No
No qualifiers, no buts, no if I only. 
What do you believe (not what what you THINK)? Drop into yourself and ask now! Get to the deep down. Your answer might scare you. But you must face what’s hard/scary/true in order for change to happen or you’re living in limbo, yelling at yourself to do better as you have another cookie or skip a workout. 
Do you believe you can so no to overeating Halloween candy? 
Who cares about a couple almond joys here or there? A few candy corn? Do you feel out of control? Is it All or Nothing because once you start, you’ll eat All. The. Things. And then hate yourself afterword.
If you don’t have belief, you don’t have self-trust.
You must believe in yourself for you to prioritize yourself.
I believe in you. 
I see it for you. 
I know what you want is possible. 
You can eat and trust yourself. 
Think about an area where you do believe in yourself. Maybe as a parent or in your job. Can you feel the difference inside? Confident, full of self-trust, motivated. 
I know it’s hard to believe in something without evidence of it being true in the past. But this is the trick – first you have to believe. Then you act. Then you have evidence. Then it becomes a way of life. 
Do you believe you can lose weight? Yes or No
If you’re answer is no and you want help, reach out and talk to me about health coaching. It’s perfectly reasonable to want a companion and guide with something like this. On that theoretical level, it’s easy – eat real foods, exercise, sleep, and manage stress. But in real life, it’s freaking hard to do by yourself. You can ask for help and support here.
What’s your metric and how do you want to feel? 
A tool I use for clients is to set both a feelings goal and a metric goal. We think we make decisions based on facts, but really we’re emotionally beings and typically respond to most situations based on how the outcome is going to make us feel. 
I like to set goals this way, so we can track but also recognize success internally. 
#1 What would be your metric of success for Halloween candy? 
Eating one piece a day? One every other day? None? You can make a plan for it. Put those minis in a baggie with a label for each day/time you want one. Enjoy it when you have it. Keep reading for some more tips.
#2 After the next week is over how do you want to feel? 
Confident? Disciplined? Energized? 

Next time you go to eat something and you’re doing that little argument with yourself “mm, that’ll be yummy!” and the other voice, “but you don’t really want that.” Stop, take a breath and ask yourself “Will eating this make me feel confident?” Insert the feeling that would make you feel the best. 
Focus on that feeling, not on the momentary pleasure your brain is raging at you to experience. This isn’t willpower per se, this is about concentrating on how you want to feel and what you want for the longterm.  
You’ve got this! 
Quick Tips for Halloween Candy

  • Keep it out of line of site, no bowls of candy on the counter
  • Make a plan ahead of time
  • Ask what would success look like to you?
    • what does that mean from a numbers perspective?
    • how do you want to feel?
  • Have an alternative handy
  • Be aware of what’s happening when you’re eating; self-coach and stay in touch with what you want instead of falling into an eating fog
  • Believe in yourself  

As for Cash, I have more to learn about what it’s like to live with ulcerative colitis. I believe deep down I can and will take care of him beyond what I already know about healthy eating. I don’t care what his medical doctor says, I know there’s a relationship between food and our bodies (and our minds, too). It’s why I do what I do!! My whole purpose in life is so for you to be able to eat with joy, love your body and be full of energy! ?
May you believe in yourself. May you call BS on candy corn being the best thing ever. May you prioritize your wellbeing.
Many hugs,

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