How ‘Living in the Gray’ Can Change the Way You Think About Food



Let’s face it, sometimes we’re our own worst enemy.

We can be negative and critical of ourselves and of our attempts to change. We choose to believe that nothing will ever change, or that we will never change.

Our many failed attempts to change have left us asking whether it is even worth bothering to engage in any more strategies that promise change. In other words, we’re done, and we quit.

This is common for many of the women who come to Green Mountain at Fox Run.

They share that they have tried everything, know everything there is to know about diets, nutrition, and fitness.

And on top of all the time studying every new diet that shows up in the media, most are very tired and worn out from the struggle with food, eating, diets, and the wild swings from food restriction to food abandon and bingeing.

So What’s the Answer?

“So what is it that women need to make it all work?” they ask. What is it about the health retreat and programming at Green Mountain at Fox Run that works, and has worked for more than 40 years?

Well, the program has several components, including mindful eating, mindful moving, and mindful living, that when combined with social support and camaraderie, lead to the beginnings of real and sustainable change for our participants.

When women begin to change their thinking, and practice greater self-kindness, self-encouragement, and self-compassion in the course of setting new personal challenges changes begin and transformation takes hold.

“All-or-nothing”, “black-or-white”, “success-or-failure” thinking and mindsets leave no room for middle ground. When women begin to venture into and live from the many “shades of gray” that exist between success at one end and failure at the other, they begin to breathe again.

 

Living in the Gray

So much of what we do here at Green Mountain is about assisting women toward new ways of thinking and new ways of perceiving what is possible for them on their unique journey.

Cognitive coaching involves supporting and encouraging participants to examine their inner self-talk and to begin cultivating new ways of speaking to themselves, new dialogues, new ways to celebrate even the smallest changes and successes.

When we live within and from the many “shades of gray” thinking instead of “black or white” thinking, we become more accepting of ourselves and of others, we begin to live and breathe more fully, and we recover a sense of joy and creativity that may have been stifled from years of negative internal self-talk, self-bullying, and feelings of unworthiness.

At Green Mountain, the social support from other women on their journey also allows for each woman to experience deeply that she is not alone.

The laughter and support found among our participants is one of the special components of our program that often leads to lifelong friendships and support in our new ways of thinking and of being.


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8 Cognitive Coaching Strategies to Support “Shades of Gray” Thinking:

  1. Embrace the Gray.

    Steer away from all-or-nothing, black-or-white thinking. There is so much more life to be lived in the gray, so embrace it and have fun!

  2. Cultivate the Positive.

    What’s good about your current circumstances? Practice finding appreciation for and gratitude in the moments of your daily life.

  3. Accept Compliments and Praise.

    When praise and compliments are offered, accept them graciously and wholeheartedly. Believe in the good things others share with you about you.

  4. Practice “Great, a new opportunity. I love it.”

    Keep yourself stimulated and positive. Embrace the moment and the opportunity to tackle a new challenge or embrace a new experience. Develop new capacities to manage things that may have been difficult in the past. “I got this!”

  5. Stay Open and Mindful of Your Changes.

    You are changing every single moment of every day. Keep moving yourself, your thoughts, your mind, your body, and your spirit in the direction you wish to go.

  6. Celebrate Your Changes.

    You’re always changing, even if only in tiny, small ways. Don’t miss an opportunity to notice! And then promptly celebrate. The momentum of change will create a ripple effect and before you know it, you will have accomplished meaningful personal change goals. And don’t forget to notice and celebrate the changes that others make on their journey. You never know when the smallest encouragement may have the biggest impact

  7. Keep Your Mind Open.

    Change will only come when you allow yourself to see yourself differently. Invite in good thoughts, good feelings, good information, good goals, and kind expectations.          

  8. Practice Flexibility.

    Life is always changing. You are changing every moment as well. Stay flexible, let go of rigid thoughts, ideas and beliefs that may have kept you stuck in the past.


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