“Curiosity—asking questions—isn’t just a way of understanding the world. It’s a way of changing it.”

Clearly I am on a mission to overhaul my life.  I feel like I have the opportunity to have a mid-life crisis about two decades ahead of my peers, and you know what, that’s pretty awesome.  Maybe I shouldn’t call it a crisis, and since I am only 31, it’s not exactly midlife, at least I hope not. 

One of the indicators that I am “discovering the application of [my] greatness”, according to Psychology Today, is my desire to balance my physical health and my mental health, so when Shay of Contagiously Healthy popped up on one of my expat groups encouraging us to join her 5 day “Break-Up with Sugar” Challenge, I figured 5 days, just about my attention span. Why not?

Admittedly, I thought this one was a lot easier for me than the yoga challenge. After being on burnout leave for a couple weeks, my body seemed to naturally dispense of its need for any kind of sugar and by the time the challenge started, the only added sugar I was having was in my homemade Turmeric Latte (yes, sometimes I judge myself).

So naturally, I thought I had this one in the bag. Turns out, not so much. Between the election and meetings about when I would be going back to the office, I fell pretty hard. You know what?  Shay never batted an eye when any of us faltered and quickly reminded us that we were building habits and habits take time, but the key was being conscious of those choices. There was no judgement from her. Just the encouragement to brush it off and keep making health choices. I was filled with judgement, however, and that judgement quickly turned into a cookie or a glass of wine.

Frequently, I have the knowledge. I have the tools. I have the tribe. What I lack is the expertise to help me pull it all together. Someone who is really an expert, in this case nutrition, who I can lean on for support or guidance to link it all together. Why is it that asking for help is so daunting? And why is accepting that gift seemingly onerous? Would I have cheated if I had reached out and said I am having a rough day, what do you recommend? Why did I somehow think that being perfect and emotionally restrained were more important than gaining more knowledge and inadvertently showing my vulnerability by asking for support?

When one of my friends needs something, I am the first to encourage them to reach out. It doesn’t matter if it is a hole in the wall or a hole in your heart. I might not be much help with spackling and dry wall, but if you need some Ben and Jerry’s and a hug or a bottle of wine and some laughs, I will be the first one there. I wouldn't have it any other way.

But why is it so hard to receive help and nothing short of daunting to ask for it? I wish I had the answer, though admittedly over the past couple of months, I have (very) slowly started accepting help and support and have even asked on a couple occasions. You know what? It’s amazing. Like mind blowing. It turns out that when I asked for help, I my tribe reached far beyond my wildest expectations.

So I may have fallen off the “Break-Up with Sugar” challenge, but I learned that the deliberate choices we make turn into habits. It doesn’t matter whether it is food or asking for help.

For those of you who are interested in overhauling how you feel, starting with your nutrition, Shay will be starting her group “cleanse” (read nutritional habit revamp) in January. If you are looking to changel your eating habits, please check out her website. It’s virtual, so it doesn’t matter if you are in the Netherlands or not. This woman has a serious gift and is an amazing coach. There is no doubt that she has a personal connection with each of her clients and her personal experiences make working with her even more powerful. Curious? Go check out her website. Ask for help. I dare you. 


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