I believe in mind over matter.
I don’t believe “you are what you eat”, (although I do understand that diet can affect my emotions and energy, and those things can impact how I feel about myself.)
That’s why I bless my food. It’s not a religious thing; I just believe that how we think about what we consume affects our health. There are stories about enlightened people dropping acid and not feeling anything. I imagine that’s because their head is already residing full-time where an acid trip might take you and I for a few hours.
I attribute turning my metabolism around and continually dropping weight in my late twenties and early 30s to the book ‘The Only Diet There Is’ by Sondra Ray. This book allowed me to change the way I thought about food and my body. I didn’t change what I ate, I changed my relationship to it. I stopped demonizing food. Whatever I eat, whether it’s a Milky Way bar or a vegan meal, I thank its source and affirm that it will turn to health and beauty in my body.
That said, full disclosure, I am in no way ready to give up my sugar addiction, and perhaps I’m just rationalizing a bit. I do practice harm reduction, because it doesn’t work for me to swear things off completely. From a young age, I was raised to experience sugar as a reward and a celebration.
For me, sugar is associated with almost every happy childhood memory.
The not so happy memories were sugar-free.
I won’t deny that what we eat affects how we feel and think. There’s plenty of science out there that attests to that. There may come a time when I have to practice stricter harm reduction, but what I would like to see is more studies on is my personal experience and that of others: that being how what I feel about what I eat has a molecular impact on its biological effects.
Now on to you. What are you hard on yourself about because you believe you’re being ‘self-destructive’?
Chances are there are behaviors resulting in things about yourself that you reject. My advice is to make friends with those behaviors and things.
Positive thinking raises your energy. It’s cyclical, actually. Good energy raises the quality of your thinking. And vise versa ad infinitum. Good thinking/Good energy is what allows us to reframe problems into possibilities or at least make problems right-sized instead of interpreting them as the harbingers of doom. I won’t get into the neuroscience and theories of Positive Psychology, but the evidence is out there.
Self-acceptance and empathy isn’t an abdication of responsibility, it’s a place to start if you want to live a life of sustainable happiness. It is the bedrock of good, consistent energy. By that I don’t mean that your energy will always be high. Your energy may be high, or it may be low, but if you love yourself, you can roll with it.
You don’t have to be super-charged all the time. You just have to show up.
Self-acceptance helps you sleep at night. It allows you to coach yourself to do better, rather than tear yourself down.
Before you try to implement any change or impose an ambitious new regime of ‘self-improvement’, check in with yourself. Ask: Am I doing this because I don’t think I’m good enough, or because I’m up for the challenge of building on how great I am already? If it’s the later, you’ve got a shot at success with the thing.
If not, and you think you need to be fixed, you’re probably going to perpetuate the same self-fulfilling prophecy of ‘see? I’m just not good enough’ over and over.
Work on raising the quality of your thoughts about yourself. Your energy will follow. Or go for a run, and see how good you feel.
Mind/body or body/mind….It works in either direction.