It seems like when I am following the diet I know is best for me, the paleo diet, I seem to make better decisions in all areas of my life. I’m motivated to stick to my work out routine, I have more energy, and my self-esteem is higher. My depression stays manageable. My weight stays consistent.
The opposite is also true.
When I get on the merry go round of sugar, dairy, and gluten free grains and snacks I start making bad decisions in other areas of my life. It feels easier to skip the gym, get up later, have another drink and so on. I start eating more and more bad food slowly and then I can’t get my pants on comfortably and I realize I need to stop! Before I know it, my depression is back full force and it feels like I have to climb a mountain to get back on track.
I once heard someone say if you feed the good dog it gets a bigger appetite and you crave more and more good. Start feeding the bad dog instead, and the bad dog gets bigger and bigger. It feels harder to go back to the good.
Maybe this is because I have a black and white personality at times, but it’s what I know is true for me.
I’m done trying to change my core self.
I understand certain aspects of me will not change now as a 38-year-old women. I need to take what I have learned and work with it instead of trying to fight it. Fighting against who you are takes a toll and creates unnecessary anxiety. Its ok to be you!
Even if YOU are not a consistent, grey area, controlled patient person. If you are this person, you might find it easier to switch between feeding the good and the bad, balance comes naturally for you. I often think life would be easier this way, but it’s just not who I am.
They key is to understand your personality and work with yourself. Love yourself where you are and find ways to accommodate your intrinsic being to find your own place of peace and balance, whatever that may look like in your life.
What I have learned about me is that everything good starts with what I put in my body consistently. Spirituality, self-love, relationships, career – they all naturally flow when I am feeding my body consistently what it needs to thrive.
Do I love myself enough to parent myself and say no to the bad dog most of the time?
Let’s face it, feeding the good dog all the time and ignoring the roaring loud bark can be HARD. Doing good hurts at times. Sometimes the bad dog does NOT stop barking! You know if you just throw a pint of ice cream and a beer down his throat he will shut up! For a little while, until the next day when he wakes up stronger than before you fed him in the first place. Now he wants to be fed even more!
Feeding the bad or feeding the good? Both create pain. Feeding the good will not always bring immediate relief.
You will feel the pain of the good in the moment, when you really want to do that thing you know you shouldn’t. You will might have cravings, feel anxious, agitated, maybe sad you can’t have what you want. It will hurt, for a little bit.
The beauty in this type of pain is it creates momentum. You get stronger and stronger and it gets easier to resist the bad next time. Your self-confidence rises and you feel proud of yourself. You realize you have what it takes to change other areas of your life.
You start to overcome. Your goals come to fruition!
If you feed the bad, you will get immediate relief! The dog immediately stops barking, but then slowly traps you into making more bad decisions. You will feel pain later on. Slowly you might feel hopeless, trapped, frustrated. Like a failure. You might think you will never reach your goals. The bad feelings start to outnumber the moments of relief.
I have to ask myself as I struggle between the two more often than I wished.
Was it worth it?
Times of failure can be used as reflection to starve the bad dog!
Which dog are you feeding today?
Melissa is the Author of Healing Through the Pain How I overcame Interstitial Cystitis. She writes about health (physical, emotional and spiritual) from a vulnerable place, after overcoming her own challenges and healing Interstitial Cystitis. She is passionate about helping women realize their ability to make changes and move forward from difficult situations in their lives.
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