Thursday, February 16, 2017

Paleo Diet, Change Management, Elephant, Rider & Heath Brothers

I am fat. I am diabetic. I am foodie! It is a no-brainer that this is a lethal combination.

The easy solution prescribed is exercise and eat healthy. In reality it is not as easy as it reads! I exercise. I have played tennis for over a decade and then squash for a year.

The weak link here is the diet. Despite being aware of the perils of uncontrolled intake of carbohydrates, I could never get myself to eat less. I have been a prolific eater since childhood. Not that I have not tried eating less but every time I started a regime, I lost the battle within a short period.

And then about 20 days back, I discovered paleo diet. I had already heard and read about it but it was a visit from a friend that nudged me. Though he was always thin, he now looked emaciated. Tending to skinny. "Thanks to paleo", he said, "in addition to shedding weight, I have also successfully conquered diabetes."

What can I say, I was impressed and duly motivated. Now, after about a month of the paradigm shift in my eating pattern, I can myself see the effects. Both in weight loss and blood sugar control.

I wondered what has changed, this time. Why did my previous attempts fail while I seem to be in control this time. Of course, there are two more months to go, I do believe that something is different this time. How did I manage to control my gluttony?

My blog is not about paleo but about Switch, a wonderful book on change management by Heath Brothers - Chip and Dan. Incidentally, I began reading the book around the same time I embarked on the new diet. To me diet was a dirty word, a word that stressed me out. Almost all other diets tell us to eat limited quantity. Two chapattis, a cup of this or a cup of that. Unacceptable!

On the other hand, paleo is about eating as much as one wants. Only carbs are cut off or limited to a great extent. What probably did the trick for me is there were no constraints in the amount one could eat.

According to Chip and Dan, there are three key elements to change management:
  1. Directing the rider, the rational being
  2. Motivating the elephant, the emotional side 
  3. Shaping the path
I am finding out that I am finally succeeding in the pursuit of health due to the various factors within the three elements that are finally coming together. I had the bright spots before me, I found the feeling and built habits that suited me. Though in all these, the clinching factor is - eat as much as you want. While the rider knew the benefits of diet, the elephant in me didn't budge because eating less was a no go.

If you are grappling with the issue of change management in your personal, professional or organizational level, Switch is your solution. 

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