My daughter was three years old.
On a holiday morning, I made her pancakes.
From that day onwards, she would not have anything for breakfast but pancakes.
She somehow became obsessed with them and would cry, whine and would refuse to eat anything but the pancakes.
I would feel guilty for saying ‘NO’ but on many occasions, it would be a major stretch for me to accommodate her request.
I think I made the mistake of caving into her requests because I have always taken pride in my cooking skills and felt so much guilt when I would say no.
I started to realize that I just don’t want to make pancakes and that this was a boundaries issue.
So I pushed past the guilt and told my daughter I wouldn’t cook pancakes anymore. She could choose her breakfast from the options available on the day and would get pancakes on Sundays.
Of course, she had a lot of strong feelings about that. But remarkably quickly, she became engrossed in picking the best (tastiest) choice from what was available when she got hungry.
It’s like I set her free.
She started getting creative with mixing the options available for her to eat, and that didn’t stop with breakfast time. It gradually extended to everything she ate. Both at home and outdoors.
I am sharing this story because I was thrilled by my discovery of how to set a boundary and give my child back agency in her own exploratory journey.
It came as such a huge relief for me.
There’s not a single jot of ease that comes with creating boundaries and holding them, which is why so many of us might succumb to the funkiness of before.
When things have always been a certain way, and then we try to change that, we’re going against the tide, creating new habits, having to communicate differently and being willing to not meet other people’s expectations of us.
This comes up A LOT with my clients when they embark on their weight loss journeys.
They dread the idea of having to cook certain foods that their family might not enjoy.
Saying ‘NO’ to food when they are not hungry.
Having to make healthier choices when everyone else might be eating burgers, fries, chocolate éclairs and more.
If you’re a people pleaser like I have been, you might tend to override that feeling of saying ‘NO’ and even feel more guilty about it.
Well, I should want to eat with friends.
I should want to enjoy myself with my family when outdoors.
What’s the matter with me?
Whilst these new boundaries of ours have often been a long time coming, yet they’ll probably come as a surprise to those who benefitted from us having none.
When you think about it, it’s quite brutal.
The going ‘against’, the awkwardness that we could feel in expressing the why’s, the choosing of our needs when that mightn’t be something we’ve ever done and the steadfastness needed when we might get wheedled and needled to change our minds.
In the same way, a sea defence needs to be strong enough to withhold the stormiest seas, the walls of our home fortified enough to withstand any weather front, and we need to find the inner strength to hold tight to the boundaries that we’ve deemed to be the healthy ones for us, the ones that clearly and openly communicate our limits.
The very act of making a change depletes our brain’s executive functions, and when you add the repeated communication and assertion required to remain firm, you can see why this stuff gets tricky.
This is where self-care comes into play. Some helpful strategies are:
- creating space to re-fortify and recalibrate
- choosing different modes of communication when people aren’t hearing you
- being willing to up stand the consequences when people continue to obliterate your boundaries
- giving yourself space from the people/things which you feel you’re coming up against
- having a handy list of your why’s to remind yourself when it gets tiring
- remembering the gain from having these boundaries, whether that be more personal time, more inner peace, healthier relationships, being treated with more respect
- making sure you’re prioritizing resources for the things that top you up energetically, cognitively, emotionally, physically and more.
It is an ever-encroaching world which demands that we do this and do that.
It can be easy to get swept away by those demands and to feel as though we don’t have any control over our days and ways.
Our lack of boundaries often suits someone or something more than they work for us.
In fact, our lack of boundaries actively works against who we are – going against the very grain of our identities, values and limits – it’s no wonder we feel so lost, diluted, unsure, and adrift when you think about it.
You’re not here, to suit everyone, you’re here to do what’s right and best for you and, in turn, teach so many others how to do the same by leading the way.
How you go about your days and ways should be a reflection of who you truly are, what you really need, and the things which properly bliss you up.
Anytime you feel scared to ruffle some feathers, remind yourself what matters more, maintaining the status quo or fulfilling the dreams you were born to realize?
In the sea of ‘diets’ that promise quick results that you’ve tried and failed over and over and over again, do you feel the need to have a weight loss program that would offer sustainable weight loss?
A program that strives to help you create the health you desire while helping you live a fulfilled life on your own terms?
I want to invite you to join the Be Healthy Be You program where you’re going to lose weight, be done with the physical and emotional pain of being overweight and know exactly how to maintain and enjoy those results with unapologetic confidence. It’s time to stop dreaming about the results you want and start enjoying them. Take the leap of faith and apply here.
If you’re at the start of your weight loss journey, begin with the strategies that have helped lose 60 pounds and that I teach my coaching clients to achieve sustainable results. Take the FREE Weight Loss Ownership Course.