You know what to say to the paleo skeptics. You’ve stopped apologizing and you’re adept at disengaging.
But what if you value the relationship with your critic? Or you live around them constantly?
Negative energy can be a real problem because it hits us in our weak spots. It can make us vulnerable to temptation, slow our progress, or worse, cause us to lose sight of our goals altogether.
What can we do to deal with this problem and keep ourselves focused when facing fear, cynicism and doubt? How do we let the judgement roll off us like water off a duck’s back?
Here are nine sure-fire ways to deflect the critics and the ‘downers’ in your life. Paleo skeptics, be damned!
1. Get in your ‘paleo zone’. Just quietly and calmly, focus inward and carry on. Imagine a wall separating yourself from those around you. I have a friend who imagines herself wearing an invisible raincoat deflecting the barbs and attack she has to deal with during her day like spots of rain. Get in the zone and work on your eating habits, your preparations, your rituals.
2. Find yourself a self-soothing ritual. When these difficult moments occur and you get anxious or riled up, find something to go do until you calm down. I would go lock myself in my van and listen to music. You could go to the bathroom for a few moments. Read a book. Take a short walk. This is an important life-skill and it must not involve food.
3. Avoid people who scrutinize your eating. Try not to eat with them if possible. If your co-workers are dubious, eat lunch somewhere else. Walk to a park and eat there for example. Always be on the look out for opportunities to avoid your saboteurs and connect with your supporters.
4. Focus on building paleo skills. At the beginning of your paleo journey, if you tell yourself you will only eat paleo, then you eat pizza and birthday cake at a party, you will feel a failure and appear a flake. But in the beginning, the reality is that going paleo is really about developing the skills and knowledge necessary to live paleo in a world where you are the odd one out. The focus should not be on losing x number of pounds, how many reps you do, what your pant size is. Instead set a broad goal like wanting to be the mom who runs around with her kids and work on acquiring paleo knowledge and skills – such as how to shop the perimeter of the store, practicing saying ‘No thank you” to doughnuts, or finding the restaurants that don’t derail you. By focusing on the big picture and accepting your own learning process, you will tolerate imperfection in yourself, and others’ criticism will matter less.
5. Undertake a cost/benefit analysis. If your husband‘s favorite aunt has baked a pie especially for you and won’t accept any attempts at declining, you have several options. Weighing these up and making a decision takes skill and practice, and planning. They concern the context of your situation (for example, is the pie just for you or is it for several people?) as well as the relationship between the two of you. Make a decision based on your assessment of the situation and move on but know that people become attuned to changes in behavior over time and that with preparation, you can moderate and even avoid this situation in future.
6. Find a paleo buddy. Preferably more than one. Join a mastermind group, go on a forum. Have someone to reach out to when you need a like-minded soul. Gather these people in advance so they are there when you need them. Don’t wait, anticipate. Have someone or somewhere to go to, when you need support or to simply feel normal.
7. Keep your goals constantly in mind. Write them down. Review them at least once daily. Refer to them at difficult times. You can write them on index cards and carry one in your waistband to pull out when you’re wavering. Post others around the house or at your desk. Make them your screensaver. Create a paleo inspiration board on Pinterest. Keep wafting those goals in front of you so they stay front and center.
8. Role play or mentally rehearse what you will say and do if you receive criticism. Say it out loud and practice it. Use your paleo buddies for help with this.
9. Keep a paleo journal. Journal your feelings and write them out. Ask yourself questions as you write. Keep writing and wait for your subconscious to answer those questions for you. Remember there is a wealth of information embedded in your brain – a product of millions of years of evolution and survival training. Let it come out and solve your problems.
Do you have a situation where you have to deflect criticism constantly? What ideas do you use to protect yourself and focus your energy? Let us know in the comments!
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