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The Power of Perception: “I choose to” vs “I have to”

December 27th, 2018 | no comments







We all want to look and feel our best, and for many, the quick fix/magic pill approach is often too tempting to pass up. Just think, in the snap of a finger…poof…they are changed.  

But even if such a pill existed, would they really be “changed”?

I’m sure you’ll agree there exists no shortage of diet plans and philosophies to help the eager beaver seeking to shed unwanted pounds at the start of the New Year.

Are you a seeker?

Well then go ahead and get it out of your system. Do a Google search for “weight loss”, and in 0.71 seconds you will be faced with 2,860,000,000 results. 

2,860,000,000 philosophies and methods for weight loss. Take your pick; no one is stopping you. 

But first, I want you to be honest with yourself—so honest it hurts: Do you believe in your gut, that this one will work? What’s changed since your last attempt? Let me rephrase that: what’s changed in YOU since your last attempt? 

Author Mike Robbins is quoted as saying: “Nothing changes until you do.” He even wrote a book with the same title. Who could argue with such a proclamation? Nothing changes until you do…really allow these words to seep into your cells. Let them swim around for a few seconds.

Now, hear this: Nothing, and I mean NO THING changes until you change your relationship with yourself. Not your:

  • weight
  • cholesterol
  • blood pressure/sugar
  • relationship with food
  • relationship with your body


Who are you really? It’s all about perception  


A healthy, loving, and grounded relationship with ourself should come naturally because after all, we’re born knowing we are in fact, the cat’s meow. Just watch a toddler toddle towards his own reflection and greet himself with a big sloppy kiss.

He knows.

He was born knowing his absolute worth and limitless power. 

As grown adults, charred from the fiery perception of our own internal dragons, we have to work at polishing the window out of which we take in the world. And the good news? In any given moment, you can challenge these dragons and shift your perception—widen your internal eyes, take a look around and envelope yourself in the infinite source of greatness that is patiently waiting for you.

William Blake, an English poet of the Romantic age said:

“If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.”


Food choices and perception  


I believe all food choices are snap decisions. 

Think about it. Even if you have a healthy meal planned in advance, with all of the ingredients in your refrigerator—or better yet, the entire meal prepared for you (as in the case of restaurant dining)—the decision to actually eat/order that meal is made in a literal flash of an instant. 

Whether or not you make the right choice for you and your health is again, rooted in perception. Namely, how do you perceive the choice? Is it something you feel you have to do or are you choosing to do it?

They may seem one in the same, but I can assure you the difference is quite profound.

Some may even argue that in certain situations, they are the same. For example: I’m choosing to order the salmon instead of the bacon cheeseburger. I have to because my cholesterol is high.

This is an example of making what seems like the right decision, but with the wrong perception. 

Unless someone is pointing a gun at your head, you don’t have to do anything. “Have to” implies you have no choice in the matter. And we all know what happens when the power of choice (especially when it comes to food) is stripped from us. It’s a dangerous space to linger and the premise of most diets out there.

Decisions made with a have to mentality (i.e. I have to drink this kale smoothie) almost guarantee your car will drive itself to KFC for a bucket of ‘finger lickin good’.

Let me repeat: You don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to:

  • go to work
  • eat kale
  • pay your taxes
  • exercise
  • drink water instead of soda

You choose to do them…or not. It’s your choice in the end.   


Snap decisions and a moment of presence  


You have but a flash of a second to decide how you will perceive what is before you:

“I have to” or “I choose to”.

But within that flash of a second, there exists a small space available to you—the space of presence. You’ve heard me talk about this before. It’s the space you can access with the ease of a single, conscious breath. I go into great detail on this topic in my new book, Missing Peace: Eleven Secrets to Restore Inner Harmony with Your Food, Body and Health.

As illustrated in the Path to Peace image below, the center Peace that governs the remaining ten Peaces, is: Seek No Further. You have all of the answers already within, simply take a breath, tap in, and allow yourself to be fully present for the choice you are about to make. 


“Path to Peace” illustrating the eleven Missing Peaces


Lest you think this is some sort of airy-fairy, kumbaya, mumbo jumbo concept, think again. This is where the real work begins. It’s where the smart folks go when, after exhausting their dieting Rolodex, they come to the realization that they are the answer they’ve been seeking.   


Perception is essential…because Cinnabons aren’t going away anytime soon   


There will always be cheese pizza, Jack Frost Donuts, French fries, and Cinnabons. Let’s face it, they aren’t going anywhere. Short of living in exile on a remote island off the coast of South Africa, like it or not, if you want to achieve a healthy balance of mind and body, you’re going to have to learn how to coexist peacefully with these foods. 

One thing’s for damn sure, the next time you are faced with your kryponite food, the one that makes you weak in the knees, remember—the diet isn’t going to save you. It won’t help you make the right choice. In fact, it’ll only add fuel to your fire of desire for the very food you are trying to avoid. 

The only thing that will save you, is a shift in perception exercised in a moment of presence. 

By taking a single, sweet, conscious breath, you are able to tap into a strength that will blow your mind. 

Let’s have some fun and role play so that you can understand how to apply this to real-life situations. 

Scenario #1: The airport Cinnabon

You’re at the airport, starving and face-to-face with the Cinnabon counter. The smell is absolutely intoxicating and you can already taste the warm fluffy frosting blanketing that infamous, tender cinnamon dough. 

You have two choices: eat it…or not.

Here’s what not to do…

Do NOT get into the all-too-familiar internal dialogue of: I really shouldn’t. I mean, I have so much weight to lose and this will just put me over the edge. I have to walk away. Cinnabons are off limits!

Even though you may not indeed order the Cinnabon, you will find a way to sabotage yourself in the very near future. This I can absolutely guarantee. 

Exercise a shift in perception:

Faced with the Cinnabon counter, take a slow and deep breath, get present and shift to something like this: Even though I have 100% freedom to eat that Cinnabon, I choose to find something that will nourish my body instead. Cinnabon will always be there if I really want one.

Scenario #2: The bread basket

It’s 6:00 and your last meal was a noon lunch, so it’s fair to say you have a pretty loud level of hunger going on. You and the family just sat down at your favorite neighborhood restaurant and you mindfully order the grilled salmon with veggies and a club soda with a twist of lime.

The server brings your drink, along with a basket of hot-from-the-oven French bread. Everyone grabs a hunk and in unison, slathers their piece with butter…as you sit drooling. You promised yourself no bread because your blood sugar has been elevated and bread always causes it to skyrocket. 

History reveals you’ve never been able to resist the bread.

That’s the problem…you were resisting it, which as I stated earlier, only adds fuel to your fire of desire for the bread. 

Exercise a shift in perception:

Faced with the bread basket, take a long, slow, deep breath in and let it out. Observe the bread, get present, and shift: Even though I have 100% freedom to eat this bread, I choose to wait for my dinner instead. Bread will always be there, and I can have a slice any time I choose. 

Scenario #3: The second glass of wine

You’re out with the girls enjoying a happy hour glass of cheer. Everyone orders a second drink.

You know beyond a shadow of a doubt that a second glass of wine will catapult you into FLC (feel-like-crap) land come tomorrow morning. The second glass ALWAYS makes you feel like crap. You promised yourself you’d stick to a one drink maximum and now the pressure’s on, as your beloved girlfriends are cheering you on:  “oh come on…it’s just one more glass!” (don’t you just hate when they do that?). 

Exercise a shift in perception:

Faced with the decision to order a glass of water or another glass of wine, take a deep breath in and let it out. Get present and shift: Even though I have 100% freedom to order another drink, I choose to sip on water instead. Wine will always be there.

You can do this if you really want to. Remember, no one is taking anything away from you.

Have fun and make a game out of it! Don’t count the number of times you made the wrong choice, rather relish in the bliss of the one you made in a space of presence, while staying true to yourself. 

Perception is everything.

Happy 2019 my love! xo


Mel’s weekly food pick:
Greens: the most nutritious food on the planet!

Photo by Madison Inouye from Pexels

A nutrient-dense food is one that is high in nutrients and relatively low in calories. These are the foods that seriously nourish your body at the cellular level. They replenish, repair, and dare I say…heal like no other food.

It’s no surprise that fruits and vegetables are the most nutritious foods available, with berries being the most nutrient-dense fruit and greens, the most nutrient-dense vegetable. This is precisely why I strongly encourage my clients to include these powerful gems in their meals on a daily basis. 

Because they are the most nutrient-dense food on the planet, greens are in a class all by themselves. They are highly detoxifying due to their abundance of chlorophyll and bioavailable vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and vitamins A, C, E and K. Bioavailability simply means the degree to which a food can be absorbed by your body. 

Greens are so much more than just spinach and kale. Check out this long list of goodness: 

  • Arugula
  • Cabbage
  • Collard greens
  • Dandelion greens
  • Endive
  • Escarole
  • Kale
  • Mesclun
  • Microgreens
  • Mustard greens
  • Radicchio
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Turnip greens
  • Watercress

Although they are super nutritious, greens tend to trip us up! What can we do with them besides toss them in a bowl with some dressing? Try adding them to: omelets, smoothies, tacos, soups, stews, sauces, and quinoa or rice dishes. You can even include them as a pizza topping or use them as a wrap for your favorite sandwich contents.

For a perfect soup to warm your body and soul on those cold winter nights, check out this week’s recipe pick for Nourishing White Bean Chard Soup. It’s loaded with greens, greens, and more greens!  


Mel’s weekly recipe pick:
Nourishing White Bean Chard Soup



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