Last week I wrote a blog post. I had it all ready to go and then our ‘host’ did some work on the server. Turns out some sites ended up being compromised. By the time it was ready to post for Wednesday morning, everything I had written, had vanished.
Sometimes trying to recreate what was initially inspired in the moment loses its momentum. A lethargy sets in. A ‘What’s the point’ attitude prevails.
Seems a lot of us get stuck in that place and in particular when it comes to our health. In fact those who are either 51 or 65 years of age are the ones who go to the doctor most frequently. In part it has to do with our social network often showing up with significant health concerns at those ages which spurs us on to investigate our own health status. And also retirement is another big milestone, which creates an impetus for change.
There are 5 stages to changing behaviour and Dr. Alex Lickerman outlines them succinctly in this Psychology Today article from 2009.
This week I’m turning over my post to the wisdom Dr. Lickerman offers. With the New Year fast approaching, many of you may be thinking there is a point to recreating your health and well-being. Here are some stages you may find yourself in along this journey.
- Precontemplation. In this stage, we’ve either literally never thought about needing to change a particular behavior or we’ve never thought about it seriously. We’re usually quite happy with our current stable of habits (if we weren’t, we wouldn’t have them in the first place).
- Contemplation. Here we’ve begun to actively think about the need to change a behavior, to fully wrap our minds around the idea. This stage can last anywhere from a moment—to an entire lifetime.
- Determination. In this stage, we begin preparing ourselves mentally and often physically for action. The smoker may throw out all her cigarettes. The couch potato may join a gym. We pick quit days. We schedule start days.
- Action. And then we start. We wake up and take a power walk. Or go to the gym. Or stop smoking.
- Maintenance. This is continuing abstinence from smoking. Continuing to get to the gym every day. Continuing to control your intake of calories. Because initiating a new behavior usually seems like the hardest part of the process of change, we often fail to adequately prepare for the final phase of Maintenance. Yet without a doubt, maintaining a new behavior is the most challenging part of any behavior change. Maintaining new behaviors…is to be happy! Which is why it’s so hard to maintain new behaviors.
Dr. Lickerman adds at final stage to this model – Relapse.
The final stage of any process leading to behavior change is one extremely difficult to avoid: relapse. Though it may sometimes be inevitable, if you train yourself to view relapse as only one more stage in the process of change rather than as a failure, you’re much more likely to be able to quickly return to your desired behavior. Alternatively, when you allow yourself to view relapse as a complete failure, that assessment typically becomes self-fulfilling.
Just because you fell off the diet wagon during a holiday doesn’t mean you’re doomed to return permanently to poor eating habits—unless you think you are and allow yourself to become discouraged, in which case you will. Long term weight gain or loss, it turns out, isn’t correlated to calorie intake on any one day but rather to calorie intake over a period of time, which essentially means if you overeat here or there on a few days only, it won’t actually affect your long-term ability to lose weight.
The same is true, in fact, with any behavior you want to change. Never let a few days, or even weeks, of falling back into bad habits discourage you from fighting to reestablish the good habits you want. Always remember: none of us was born with any habits at all. They were all learned, and can all, therefore, be unlearned. The question is: how badly do YOU really want to change?
Seed Pate Nori Crackers
Two weeks ago I provided a seed pate recipe. When I was making it this week again, I made some changes and then decided to create a Nori Cracker. If you have been eating a live plant-based diet for some time, or even if you are new to it, you may be missing the flavour of ‘fish’. This cracker is definitely fishy because of the raw nori sheets. They may not be the most attractive looking crackers, but I love the flavour. Very full bodied and satisfying and a very easy way to make a cracker in your dehydrator.
Place the following into a food processor and blend until smooth. I then also placed the whole mixture into the blender afterwards to smooth it out even more.
- 1 cup soaked sunflower seeds (soak for 4 hours)
- 1 Tbsp chickpea miso (or other miso if you have it)
- 1 lemon – squeezed (possibly more if you prefer it more lemony)
- Tamari to taste
- 1 tsp onion powder
- Cayenne to taste
Put the mixture into a bowl and stir in some finely chopped celery (1-2 stalks). Spread the mixture on one nori sheet to the edges. Place a second nori sheet on top. Trim the edges where there is no filling. Cut into cracker size shapes. Place on a mesh dehydrator sheet. Dehydrate for up to 12 hours at 105 degrees. The crackers will taste fishy and be slightly tough in texture due to the texture of raw nori (which you can buy at most health food stores).