Mindset: Why do we fight against it? What if it isn’t your fault!
By: Christine Marshall Hersom
According to dictionary.com, mindset is “a fixed attitude, disposition, or mood. Also, an intention or inclination.”
What is the mindset you brought forward from your youth? Do you have a specific attitude, disposition, mood, intention or inclination about your family being physically active? Was anybody on a continuous diet? Did anybody tell you that you needed to eat less or that you were too heavy? Maybe it was the opposite.
One of the historical memories in my life was always being told I needed to eat more. My family always slid more food at me. When pushing food didn’t work, I was bribed with sweets. Everyone knew I loved sweets. Their behavior towards me, and ultimately how I felt about myself, affected me for decades.
My dad was always on a diet in the Spring. He said he needed to shed the “Winter” weight he had gained. Because he was the “figurehead” in the house, we all dieted along with him. I began to really look forward to that “Spring Shed” because we began eating the foods I loved like salads, fruit, and veggie sticks. Because I was a very active child with lightening metabolism, I got “away with” consuming food pushed at me, and taking on my dad’s black and white behavior of consuming healthy and unhealthy foods and large portions for half the year.
This entire mindset subconsciously came with me: eat what you want, how much you want, and the caloric highs and lows are not an issue. As I slid into adulthood, the responsibilities of college, the professional world, marriage and raising a family chipped away at my exercise time even in the Spring and Summer. With each responsibility I carried, I gave up more and more “active” time. While my mindset was to be healthy, my behaviors suggested otherwise. I started sleeping less, set my creativity aside, exercised less all in the name to allow more time for my family members’ needs. While most meals were homemade, they were “growing up on a dairy farm” meals with high portions of meat, potatoes, bread, vegetables.
Overtime, I have learned I act like a Bear (a story about sleep cycles for another time). With my bear-like behavior and family history, I was destined for an unhealthy life: 1) hibernation history from my dad 2) true hatred for the cold 3) exercise for play 4) eat the same foods. This formula took its toll AND FAST.
In the Winter, I continued to stay inside, read, listen to music, wear snuggly clothes, eat comfort foods, and barely exercise. Along would come Spring, I would shed the snuggly clothes, get outside, and begin my consumption of salads, fruit, veggie sticks, and fish. Spring and Summer – I felt great.
This year, I was a cast member on a transformation coaching docuseries Coach Peggy Real Time docuseries. Coach had us fill out our Family Wellness History & Habits Mindset worksheets. The concept is to go back so you can figure out where you have come, where you are and how you might want to get rid of, rewire or create new habits to live a healthy life. This approach quickly uncovered how I had mimicked many of my family’s thoughts, behaviors and beliefs around food and exercise. When I put hand to paper, it was clear.
It is absolutely fascinating what we carry forward from our youth. Healthy or unhealthy, we do not realize how much what we see and hear ultimately become what we then do and say. As an adult, I was spending every Winter as a “couch potato” knowing that Spring would get me out of the cold and out of the unhealthy habits. I would soon be outside watching the world blossom, being active, and “dieting”. We subconsciously carry forward thoughts, behaviors and values. Much of it perceived. The key is determining if you want that framework to be yours? I truly believed I ate fairly well, and thought I was active “enough”. Enter Coach Peggy. She made my Mindset clear in a literal sense. I learned that I control my Mindset. I can design how I operate. This whole concept was interesting to me. I determined I wanted a Mindset with a positive attitude, confidence, security and safety. I wanted to be surrounded by people who made me feel happy and respected. I wanted to respect myself. The most difficult part was taking responsibility and making changes.
I was now “in the know.” No more excuses. When you know what makes you unhealthy, you are responsible for changing it. No one else. If Mindset is the whole thought, behavior and value system, I needed an overhaul. “Life” excuses could no longer take over. Just because I “believed” I was living healthy…because I was still alive…didn’t make it reality.
After 15 years of putting others first and doing little for myself, the 50 pounds needed to come off. I was sick of being out of shape, not being flexible, not sleeping, and consuming blood pressure and anxiety medications. I had no idea how to get started again. I simply knew I wanted to have fun, exercise, and needed mental stimulation. I didn’t want quick fixes – I wanted a healthy lifestyle.
After completing these worksheets, I knew it was time to move on and rewire the family history. I determined what unhealthy habits I wanted to burn and leave behind, what habits I wanted to rewire a bit and bring forward, and I will continue to create new habits into my future.
My entire life I laughed that my Dad dieting every Spring. It seemed like a lot of work. However, 50 years later, it what was I doing? Living a healthy lifestyle six months out of the year does not work. A “diet” never fixes anything long term. And you cannot take “time off” or a vacation from wellness.
It was eye opening how much our past affects our present and our future even when it comes to health and wellness habits. And more importantly when it comes to Mindset. I challenge you to look back. Instead of “wanting” to eat healthy day after day – year after year, do it. Don’t make excuses that you are too busy to move every day, do it. Eat a salad every day. Avoid desserts more often than not. You don’t have to run a marathon just dance a little, take the stairs, spin a hula hoop. If you want to write again, just like I did than do it!
You can teach an old dog a new trick. Figure out what your true mindset is, where it came from, and rewire it.
Once I discovered this pattern, I began to see Spring and Summer meant more than just crawling out of the bear den preparing to diet and get warm again. I realized I could feel better all year long by eating healthier and moving more. I had never connected my love for physical activity and nutritious food from my past as being the ingredients to feeling healthy in my future – “year around.”
I am taking control of my Mindset. I am making it happen. And that is exactly what I will continue to do.
by: Christine Marshall Hersom
Email: Christine at firstname.lastname@example.org
All Things Wellness, LLC
Click on the video below for a short clip from Coach Peggy regarding the “What has your family and friends done to you?” Family Wellness History & Habit: Mindset