Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Drastic vs. Subtle Change

In my years of health issues, I've learned something very valuable.

"Drastic, extreme changes are easier for people to handle than subtle nuances that contain change."

Reason:  A subtle change is too close to normal.  It is easy for a person to gloss over the change, justify a non-compliance, or just flat out ignore it as it bores deeper into a problem, than make an adjustment to accomodate. 

Take hearing loss as an example (a topic near and dear to me).  There are over 28 million people in the US who admit to having hearing changes that impact their comprehension, but 25 % actually get hearing aids or do something about the loss. (  Why? many reasons, but the biggest is denial.  People want to be normal.  If they had good hearing before, they want to believe that is still with them.  People will go out of their way to strive for "normal" even when making small concessions, like hearing aids, would make "normal" be much closer and remove some of the guess work communication they are doing to "play" at being the image they hold in their minds of themselves.

In my case, I lost my hearing completely.  This required hearing aids, then surgery to receive cochlear implants to get sound impulses through to my brain.  There was no choice but to accept the change.  I couldn't hear and no amount of "playing normal" would mask that attempt.  Smiling and nodding can get you in a peck o' trouble...let me tell ya'!  But, did change occur?  Did I take the change and run with it?  Yes.  I've found this to be true with most people who are face with drastic situations, be it a cancer diagnosis, losing a relationship that means more to them than not changing, or  on the downside, choosing an addiction over all other important issues in their lives...drastic=change...for go or not so good (in the addiction scenario).

When it comes to the experiment, drastic=change.  When there are so many things that can no longer be, it is much easier than saying no to one thing.  Low carb?  You have to say no to sugar, flour, many grains, and high carb foods.  You have to say NO to a select slice of what you "normally" eat.  Since we strive for "normal", we regret the loss of normality. 

Since it is a small step away from normal, 80% of a diet is the same and the 20% change small enough that justification becomes easier.  Breaking off a food plan is only 20% wrong, in place of 100% wrong.  For instance, that big ol' Dagwood Bumstead sandwich has 4 layers of bread, but LOOK at all the meat and cheese and low carb stuff!  So it's easy to say, "Just this once." or "It's a special occasion."  or "I'll peel away the bread."  But, when it arrived that bread looks so good...just one bite, just one triangle, awww...just have the other 1/2 of the sandwich as it was "meant to be"!  And, the plan is broke because the change was a smaller percentage.  What was craved was only 20% "wrong", not 100% wrong.

With adopting Raw Food eating, the change is so extensive that, personally, it seems easier to say NO to things.  Why?  Because the NO is NO on so many levels.  No to cooking.  No to combiniations of food types.  No to process.  No to type of food.  One "just this once" is not just the pizza crust, it's the whole kit and kaboodle from top to bottom. 

It may seem all the "NO"ing is negative, but it's all in how you perceive it.  Victoria Boutenko has a great prespective statement about being grateful for things in "12 Steps to Raw Foods".  This example is applied when faced with a food that is not raw, but remembered fondly.
"That smell is oddly familiar.  Wow, pizza.  I had alot of it in my life!  More than one could dream of.  Now it's time to take care of my health.  Yeah, health is my priorty now.  All these people eating pizzas will be delighted to discover a healthy diet in their time.  I am grateful that I am on a healthy diet already.  I do feel alot better.  I am so glad that I will not have to be sick again.  In only fifteen minutes I will be home.  What do I have in my fridge?  Those Hass avocados I bought yeasterday should be perfectly ripe today.  It will only take a couple of minutes to prepare guacamole with lemon, tomatoes and jalapenos.  Uh, my mouth is watering!  I have fresh romaine lettuce, tomatoes, and a giant organic mago that will be so yummy and nourishing.  Oh, I am looking foward to my raw dinner that will leave me feeling light and wonderful.  I greatly appreciate what the raw-food diet is giving my body and mind.  How fortunate I am!  What a blessing life is."
Ok,'s a bit extreme, but the bits in there about never wanting to be sick again,  gaining back health, and knowing that the nutrition is very good in what I'm eating is much better than stuffing my gullet full of resentment that I can't have conventional pizza or a conventional donut.  I just have to be more plan-ful. 

Next thoughts...Time and the justication that Raw is too time consuming (sneak peek:  If you've watched or read "Julie and Julia", my question to you is how long does it take to make Duck en Croute, the featured as the last dish in the movie?  Answer in the next post.)

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