Thursday, August 18, 2011

Change your world one step at a time

Do you have a bad habit that you would like to change? Experts divide a
person’s readiness for change into six groups:

1. “I don’t want to change” (Precontemplation)
2. “I might consider changing” (Contemplation)
3. “I’m planning on how to change” (Preparation)
4. “I’ve changed” (Making the break)
5. “I don’t want to go back to the way I was ” (Maintenance)
6. “I’m thoroughly changed” (Transformation)

Understanding one’s readiness greatly increases the chance for success
and each stage requires a different approach.

In stage 1, before one is really ready to change you might ask
yourself, “If I were to stop, why would I? Common answers include “To
save money” or “To be a better influence on my kids”. Such “what if”
questions plant the seeds for future change.

In Stage 2, one is ready to think about change. Collecting all the facts is
helpful at this stage. Comparing the gap between one’s principles and
one’s actions can generate motivation.

In stage 3, when planning one’s strategy for change it is helpful to be
inspired by others’ who have kicked your habit. Learning from your
own previous attempts is also key. Let your friends know your plans
and elicit help along the way. Create a rallying cry. For instance “This
Christmas I will once again be a size 10!”

When you are actually ready to start a change, make sure you are
prepared. Spur of the moment action plans are unlikely to succeed. Set
the stage for success by developing and sticking to your comprehensive

Stage 5, the maintenance stage, requires vigilance. Overconfidence is
the biggest cause of slipping up. For example, learn to celebrate in new
ways - even if it means avoiding your previous drinking buddies. Like a
boy scout, be prepared. If you slip, get right back on your plan. Don’t get
derailed for good.

Tackling an addiction can be the most difficult obstacle one ever faces -
but freedom when one succeeds is ever so sweet.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

We all live in a nanny submarine

Healthy Yuma 2011 is a community effort to help those opting for healthier lifestyle choices. This raises some concerns.

Is this a “nanny state” effort? Is this a misguided project trying to exert excessive control over people’s lives? Shouldn’t we let everyone come to their own conclusions? After all, don’t people already know what foods are healthy?

Unfortunately we already live in a “nanny” state. Government strongly influences what we eat through billions of dollars of direct and indirect agriculture subsidies. Less than 5% of that money goes to the most healthy, highly nutritious foods, while the rest goes to less healthy food or pure junk.

You can see the result of this subsidy imbalance everywhere. Our employee break rooms are toxic food dumps while our celebrations are sugar on top of sugar. Our daily food routines overcome our natural tendency to be fit and healthy, leaving us fighting those extra pounds of fat.

So our current governmental nanny is alive and well, supporting a food
environment where our kids are addicted to soda and salty snacks even before they are out of diapers. Our nanny has revolutionized our children’s diseases as well. Thirty years ago hypertension and high cholesterol was rare. Doctors even needed to rename adult onset diabetes as Type II diabetes because it is now a disease of kids, too.

The Beatle’s Yellow Submarine artfully sketches the benefits when we are in balance with our priorities:

As we live a life of ease,
Every one of us has all we need,
Sky of blue, and sea of green,
In our yellow submarine.

Societies are so immersed in their culture that it is easy to forget its profound
influence. It is time to reconsider ours.

As we live a life diseased,
Every one of us consumed in need,
Feeling blue, and feeling green,
In our nanny submarine.