We received a wonderful gift last week at the Plant Based Nutrition for Life meet up in Highland Park. Russell Elleven (Executive Director of the Genesis 1:29 Project) was our speaker. He delivered a profound and engaging message about “Why Willpower is Not Enough to Make Change and What We Can Do About it Now.”
It’s a topic we rarely talk about but so important to understand. I’ve often wondered why just having the information is not enough to affect change but the information must transfer to our beliefs and actions before real change happens. It was a wonderful message that I’m still thinking about this week.
To give you the “cliff notes” we first need to understand that if we are going to make change (whether dietary or other change) using willpower along that we need to understand it’s not a fair fight. Our own emotional, social, cultural and metabolic need for food can undermine even our best efforts. Many times we cave in easily to cravings for sweet, salty and fatty foods that we know are not healthful options and the “wizardry of marketing” helps us make those poor decisions.
What’s a person to do? We need not only to educate ourselves about healthful options, what to eat and what not to eat but to change our beliefs and the way we see the options. Russell gave an example of the following: When looking at a lamb chop for example, some see it as a delicious food to be eaten, some see a beautiful little lamb being slaughtered, some see an artery that is about to close and cause a heart attack and some see the destruction of the earth that is caused by raising and eating animals. I will add here that I see all that are mentioned above.
The bottom line: When our beliefs are changed we don’t struggle with willpower. Thank you Russell Elleven for the gift of your message last week!