Mr. Kennedy was our pal. He was also our elementary school principal. He was the fun kind of principal that we had a healthy respect for. He was also a master at getting kids to understand rules without being stern. His advice was basic and so much of it has stuck with me years later.
Mr. Kennedy was keen on preparing us to enter middle school as responsible well-prepared kids. I kind of think all the elementary principals in our district had a little contest to see who had the most well-behaved kids entering middle school. Mr. Kennedy held a special assembly for all 5th graders at the end of the year. The topic was Freedom and Responsibility.
He gave us a little talk about how at the big middle school, we would have the freedom to get to and from class without being escorted in lines, but we needed to be responsible to get ourselves to class on time in the 4 minute passing time.
We had the freedom to go to our lockers and get on the bus to go home, but we had to be responsible enough to get ourselves on the bus before it pulled away. This was a big deal at age 11!
During a coaching call with a client, and the topic of food freedom came up. In the past, this lady had gone through a period of being laser-focused on her diet and felt super responsible. The problem was that she also felt there was no freedom to live?
Most of her mental energy was being used to stick to her diet, leaving her hangry and irritable.
She was sick of it, failing at it and gaining weight.
She was stuck in an all or nothing mindset.
It occurred to me that Mr. Kennedy’s 5th-grade end of the year talk could teach her a different perspective. Look at it this way. We can eat with freedom and responsibility.
A sustainable nutrition approach has both freedom to eat what we want when we make responsibility a key behavior.
If we eat with only responsibility and no freedom, we will get lean, (this is the all in part, and is temporary) but we will get to a tipping point and cave into indulgence. (aka..giving in, cheating. regaining the weight etc)
We implemented a plan for her to meet in the middle with some responsibility and some freedom. These behaviors that favor fat loss, align with any type of social life and can be sustained indefinitely.
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