Working With Your “Healthy Rebel”

Have you ever decided you were going to make a change in how you eat or how active you are and you make a plan and set your goals and… you don’t follow through with it? If the answer is yes… it means you’re human.  But wouldn’t you like to be able to stick with something for once?

I Don’t Want To…

If we’re going to be really honest, (let’s!) how many of us would rather eat a salad of healthy greens over fast food? The plain truth is that when you are trying to make a healthy change in your life, even if you want to, and even if you know it’s going to either be good for you or feel good eventually, change and doing things differently doesn’t feel good at first.  You will absolutely resist it.

…And You Can’t Make Me!

The idea that you have to do something that you don’t want to do or don’t like harkens back to the time you were a toddler and trying out the sentence “No!”  This is the birth of the “healthy rebel” inside of you, that doesn’t want to be controlled by anyone and wants to “do it myself!”  So even if you want to eat healthier or start an exercise program, the healthy rebel in you will detect discomfort and discipline and say “You can’t make me!”

You Need a Good Guard Dog

It’s good to have a healthy rebel inside each of us, protecting us from ever being told what to do by others. The healthy rebel is like a guard dog, keeping out those who would seek to control us and make us conform to their will. But when we are the one who wants to make the healthy change, the rebel can start acting like a guard dog who indiscriminately keeps out friends and family, in addition to dangerous strangers. There is no good judgment used.

Your guard dog is no longer protecting you. Your guard dog is now the one causing you harm.

Get Your Dog Under Control

If your dog was biting all your friends who came to your front door, and you couldn’t get him under control, you wouldn’t have many friends coming around anymore, at the very least. If you don’t get your healthy rebel to step aside so you can follow a food plan or exercise plan without thinking you’re being controlled or punished, then you won’t be able to make positive changes.

“I Got This!”

What do you do? Tell your healthy rebel that you appreciate its efforts to protect you from feeling controlled, but that you are actually the one who wants to follow this new regimen to see if it helps you… not some mean outsider trying to harm you.

Tell your healthy rebel “I got this. I’ll let you know if I need your help.” That level of confidence might just allow your healthy rebel to relax and sit back while you make some healthy change!

DrAnita Sanz, PhD, Psychologist

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