Whether you’ve made the decision to jump on board with the Elimination Diet this month or still haven’t made up your mind, this post is for you.
There’s a old Taoist joke that runs, “Change is the only constant in the world.”
Change it seems is the only thing we can truly count on in this world. Don’t like the weather? Stick around it’ll change. Don’t like our current political climate? Give it some time, it’ll change too.
Nothing is static forever.
Which is funny because most of us don’t like change all that much. Change is unpredictable, it’s chaotic and sometimes violent. We tend to favor predictable, stable and safe.
It’s not our fault. We’re subject, just like everything else, to Change’s opposite, the yin to it’s yang, Homeostasis.
Homeostasis is the tendency to keep everything just like it is and, just as Change is not always bad or negative, Homeostasis is not always good or positive. In fact it is just at the moment when we embrace Change and try to use it’s energies for something positive in our lives that Homeostasis steps up and shows it’s ugly face.
As you embark on this month of a new way of eating at some point Homeostasis will make itself known. You’ll see it in your cravings for the very foods you swore off this month. You’ll see it in the unintentional sabotage of yourself and your friends,
“Aww, come on. One beer won’t hurt.”
“Really? Your diet will be wrecked by just one cookie? Isn’t that a little extreme?”
“Are you sure this diet is healthy?”
Fear not, dear friends. There is hope. George Leonard in his book, Mastery, outlines five tools you can use to help deal with Homeostasis and maintain your resolve and commitment to yourself.
1. Be aware of the way Homeostasis works. This is the big one. Expect resistance. It’s nothing personal it’s just how the Universe works.
Every thing has it’s opposite. In order for the tendency to change to exist the tendency not to change must exist as well. Use this knowledge to support your goals. Just because you have cravings doesn’t mean you are weak. Just because others, consciously or unconsciously, question your methods doesn’t mean they mean you harm. It’s just Homeostasis at work.
2. Be willing to negotiate with your resistance to change. Ultimately the answer is not giving in or bulling through. Obviously, giving in won’t work. Sometimes not so obviously, neither will bulling through. Bulling through, more often than not just depletes your energies and makes you much more likely to just give up and give in.
Negotiation, however, let’s you navigate the competing needs of your desire for Change and Homeostasis. In the case of the Elimination Diet, for most of us sugar and sugar cravings are going to be the biggest bear. I found caramelized onions to be a tremendous boon. By taking advantage of a simple cooking technique and the naturally occurring sugars in onions I was able to provide a savory sweet that accompanied many of my meals and satisfied my sweet tooth cravings.
3. Develop a support system. Fortunately you already have such a system already in place. Make use of the various supports we at Agoge Fitness Systems offer. Use the Agoge Fitness Systems fanpage on Facebook to voice your concerns and support others. Take advantage of the friendships you’ve made with other Agoge members, share strategies, recipes and support. Check out the FAQ and other resources over at Whole9 and gnolls.org.
And most importantly, use me. Having spent the last six months deeply immersed in this style of eating I’m well acquainted with the ins and outs of this challenge. Send me an email or text, call, or catch me before or after class. I created this challenge because I’ve seen first hand how helpful it can be. Put my knowledge and experience to work for you.
4. Follow a regular practice. In the midst of change consistency can be a great comfort. Keep coming to the gym on a regular basis. In the first week or so you may find your energy levels are somewhat diminished. Come to the gym anyway. You may need to alter your workout, but coming to the gym exposes you to the consistency of your practice and the support of your friends.
If you’re doing this on your own, maintain some sort of consistent practice, exercise, meditation, whatever. The consistency of the practice can bolster your spirit and help you find the resolve in times of difficulty.
5. Dedicate yourself to lifelong learning. The more we embrace change the more comfortable we become with it. Constantly learning, constantly returning yourself to that beginner’s place, that place of “I don’t know, but I’m willing to find out” leads to an incredible resilience. We maintain that childlike plasticity allowing ourselves to bend and fold as change dictates without the cracks and breaks that rigid resistance so often endures.
In terms of our Challenge, Whole9 and Gnolls.org are two excellent resource for information concerning a Paleo style diet, including information on cholesterol, healthy fats, gluten intolerance and the role of food in inflammation. Once the challenge is over and you’re experimenting with adding foods back into your diet, check out the Weston A. Price Foundation and their studies on traditional cultures and their approaches to food and eating.
The Elimination Diet Challenge is a challenge, but it need not be a month long exercise in deprivation and endurance. We’ll be sharing tips, recipes and instructional videos all month long to help you on your way.
To our perfect imperfection,