I have realized three groups of people normally make up any audience I speak to. The first group are people who already know the basics of healthy eating, another who do not know and a third who think they know. However, what all these groups have in common is that they are unable to practice what they believe is helpful. It is my firm belief that being unable to practice what you believe to be true is no better than acquiring the knowledge in the first place. The adage, “as good be an addled egg as an idle bird”, is expressive enough.
It is important to know that the learning cycle is not complete until it is applied. To enable us apply whatever we learn, it is important to consider these three steps. I put them in the abbreviation – MSG.
M – Make up your mind: a number of people, especially those who approach the medical personnel after a presentation are close to meeting their goal but may just have the biggest hurdle to jump. Often they believe the information is true and are certain it will work, but they just aren’t ready to make a decision to try it. Some of them may be information savvy and others focus on the required commitment and refuse to even mentally decide to start. One sure way of being able to put into practice a good health behavior is to make a decision to start. Making a decision precedes making a commitment. You cannot make a commitment when you haven’t made a decision.
S – Start immediately at a convenient pace. I have personally made some decisions and shelved them for about half a year. Most times we are able to procrastinate habitually because we deferred the very start of a habit to a later date. Not to sound metaphysical but it appears there is a force that drives us to a point of decision and this same force is required to carry us through implementation. Procrastination only puts us at a place when the desire has waned and we may have to rely on some more mental strength to put it into practice. My advice, start when the desire is ‘hot’, no matter how inconvenient it may be to start, looking for the very one reason to start and start. But a little caution. Start at your own pace. I know people who when the desire is hot hit the gym for 2 hours and then days later aren’t able to keep up. The problem is that they went ahead of themselves to do something that is not sustainable. Start with something you could bear to do for a very long time and start now.
G – Get a Support system: lastly I will like to appeal to the well-known adage, “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go with someone”. There are times when the bed will feel soft and the dawn will feel cool and you may need the encouragement of another person to get you out of your bed to keep up with your commitment. There’s no saint among us and we all have our moments. Just in case you have not support. No friend. No small group. Keeping to a commitment for long is less guaranteed. Getting a support system, an accountability partner or joining a small group – keep fit club etc., or a professional to guide and monitor your progress is invaluable.
There may not be a one size fits all answer, however I believe in most cases these three steps will ensure we complete the learning cycle by successfully putting into practice what we learn about health and diet.
Carroll K. Owu
*Carroll K. Owu is registered dietician.
AS ALWAYS LAUGH OFTEN, ENSURE HYGIENE, WALK AND PRAY EVERYDAY AND REMEMBER IT’S A PRICELESS GIFT TO KNOW YOUR NUMBERS (blood sugar, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, BMI)
*Dr. Kojo Essel is a medical doctor, holds an MBA and is ISSA certified in exercise therapy, fitness nutrition and corrective exercise.
Thought for the week – “There is no perfect time to start a healthy lifestyle. Start NOW and make small changes daily.”