Three steps to break through limiting beliefs

9455-a-beautiful-girl-jumping-on-a-beach-pvHow many times a day does the phrase “I can’t … because” cross your mind or your lips? “I can’t stick to a diet because I just don’t have any willpower.” “I can’t run because of my knees.” “I can’t exercise because of my crazy schedule.” “I can’t do anything about my crappy job because I need the money.” Do any of these sound familiar?

Sometimes they come in another form: “I’m terrible at math.” “I hate exercise.” “I’m the worst cook in the world.” “I suck at maintaining friendships.” “I’m trapped in this unfulfilling relationship.” “I’m too old.” “It’s too late to change anything.”

All of these are limiting beliefs, and they are the biggest obstacle to success in any endeavor. If you truly believe you can’t do something, full stop, then you’ll be right about that every single time.

But here’s the thing: these beliefs can be changed! You truly can free yourself from these thoughts, because that’s all they are — just thoughts. They’re only true if you believe they’re true. Are you ready to stop believing all these negative, limiting, not-objectively-true-at-all things about yourself? These tips will help get you started!

1. List your choices

“I can’t stick to a diet…” Okay, well can you drink water instead of soda for a week? Can you eat a salad instead of a burger for lunch every day for a week? What about just drinking water instead of soda or having a salad instead of a burger today? Maybe you can give up your sugary coffee drink. Or replace your afternoon candy bar with some fresh fruit. What can you change about the way you’re eating now?

“I can’t run…” Can you try walking? Riding a bike? Standing to do a task that you’d normally do sitting? Doing some yoga? Sitting in a chair and punching an imaginary punching bag? How can you get moving more than you are now?

“I can’t exercise…” Can you park a little farther from the door at work? Take the stairs? Walk to lunch instead of driving? Go to the restroom that’s a little farther down the hall? Do some squats while on the phone or watching TV? Do some bicep curls with water bottles while waiting for the microwave to finish? How can you work in more movement while doing the things you already do?

“I can’t do anything about my job…” Can you talk to someone at work about any issues you might be having? Can you ask for more training, more pay, a different work location? Can you make sure your resume is up to date? Can you keep an eye on job listings? Can you get your interview suit dry-cleaned and ready to go? How can you make yourself more valuable to current and prospective employers?

You have choices. You absolutely do. There are things you can do to work toward where you want to be. List them out, even if they don’t seem possible right now. No one but you has to see this list.

2. Set yourself up for success

If cookies trigger binge-eating behavior for you, don’t have any cookies in the house! Don’t set a trap for yourself in which you reinforce your limiting belief. If you know cookies are your biggest temptation, and you buy them anyway, and you inevitably eat one (or five or thirty), what’s going to happen? You’ll beat yourself up, you’ll reinforce your limiting belief that you have no willpower or are addicted to cookies or whatever negative thing you believe about yourself, when all along it was a clear case of entrapment.

Don’t set traps for yourself. That’s a form of self-harming, pure and simple. Remove temptations from your environment and replace them with health-supporting options. Out with the cookies, in with the fresh fruit! This is not a test of willpower, it’s an act of self-love. It’s giving yourself the tools you need to succeed.

3. Work toward short-term goals

Instead of vowing to lose 50 pounds in a year, why not aim for losing one or two pounds in a week? Instead of giving up donuts forever, why not give them up just for today? Instead of jumping right in to walking five miles a day, why not walk half a mile today and then make a point of walking just one driveway/doorway further tomorrow? Take one week, one day, one choice at a time. Every single moment is a chance to make a choice. This one particular sugary latte you’re about to order — you can choose to have water and a banana instead.  Just for this one. This one particular bowl of pasta you’re about to eat — you can choose to have a salad instead. Just for this one.

Working to short-term goals lets you experience immediate success. You set a goal, and hey, you achieved it! Maybe you don’t suck at this. Maybe you can do it.

And believing, even a tiny bit, that you can do it is the beginning of the end of those limiting beliefs.

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Three steps to break through limiting beliefs

Easy recipe: homemade nut milk

almondmilk

Have you ever read the ingredient label on a carton of nut milk from your local supermarket or health food store? Most of them are full of thickeners, coloring agents and sugars. It’s kind of crazy because nut milk is so easy to make! You don’t even need a recipe, really, but here are the instructions for one quart of homemade nut milk.

For all nut milks: begin by soaking one cup of nuts in water with a pinch of sea salt for 10-12 hours (or overnight). Rinse and drain nuts and dump into a blender with a pinch of sea salt. You also can add a pitted date and/or a bit of pure vanilla extract if you like.

For almond or hazelnut milk: add 4 cups filtered water and blend on high speed until liquefied. This might take a couple of minutes depending on how powerful your blender happens to be. Line a wire mesh strainer with fine cheesecloth (or use a nut milk bag) and strain, then transfer the liquid to a sealed quart-sized bottle or jar and keep in the refrigerator for up to one week.

For cashew milk: add 3 cups filtered water and continue as above, but do not strain milk. There’s no need with cashew milk as the cashews will soften and pulverize completely. (The date may not, however, so you may want to substitute a tablespoon of raw honey for the date if you’d like a sightly sweetened cashew milk.)

That’s really all there is to it! If you’re making almond or hazelnut milk, you can take the further step of drying the leftover pulp in the oven or a food dehydrator, then pulsing it for a couple of seconds in a food processor to make nut meal for recipes that call for that ingredient. All for the cost of one cup of raw nuts!

Easy recipe: homemade nut milk

Recipe Hack: Paleo Dongpo Pork (soy-free, nut-free, legume-free)

dongpo2My friend Kim is basically a superhero. A talented journalist and blogger, mum to four boys and spectacular cook, the food photos she posts on social media never fail to get my mouth watering. A couple of weeks ago she posted a photo that had me wiping drool off my phone screen: jewel-like cubes of pork belly slow-simmered in Asian seasonings until they were sticky and caramelized. She called it Dongpo Pork and posted the recipe on her blog not long after.

I had four pounds of pork belly in my freezer just waiting to be turned into such a delicacy, but there was one small problem: the original recipe is very soy-heavy, and my husband and kids all are allergic to soy. Other problems, on the night I decided I HAD TO MAKE THIS THING RIGHT NOW and didn’t want to take the time to run out to the store first: I had no idea what Shaoxing wine was, I had no peanut oil in the house, ditto Chinese tea of any kind, tritto yellow rock sugar (or any “normal” sugar for that matter).

But no matter! When pork belly needs to happen, PORK BELLY NEEDS TO HAPPEN, PEOPLE. Somehow, miraculously, I managed to make it work with a million substitutions. Below is my hacked version of Kim’s amazing original recipe. For what it’s worth, my version is soy-free, nut-free and completely paleo, though I did serve it over rice. And it was delicious! We literally fought over the leftovers, which never happens in my house. Awesome stuff!

Paleo Dongpo Pork

  • 4 lbs. pork belly
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 cup coconut aminos
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 cup mirin
  • 5 Tbs. coconut palm sugar (it’s what I had)
  • 2 cups brewed black tea (I used a chai spiced tea because again, it’s what I had)
  • 1 thumb-sized knob of fresh ginger, peeled, sliced and bruised
  • 8 green onions, cut into thirds or fourths

Place the pork in a large pot or dutch oven, cover with cold water, bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Remove pork and set aside until cool enough to handle.

Cut pork into 1.5-inch cubes (more or less). Wipe out the dutch oven, add the olive oil and brown the pork in batches over medium-high heat, setting aside afterward.

Carefully wipe out the dutch oven again. Add the coconut aminos, molasses, mirin, coconut sugar and tea and bring to a boil. Add the ginger and onions.

Add the pork and enough water to cover, if needed. Bring it back up to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for around 3 hours or until the pork is tender (make sure all the pork is covered with liquid during the cooking process or, as per Kim, it may dry out).

Remove the pork with a slotted spoon and set aside. Bring the sauce back to a gentle boil and reduce to a thick glaze (this took about 30 minutes for me).

Pour glaze over pork and serve with rice, cauliflower rice, vegetable noodles or just on its own!

Recipe Hack: Paleo Dongpo Pork (soy-free, nut-free, legume-free)