One of the MOST CONSISTENT messages I receive AS AN AIP MENTOR and COACH – over and over again – is how THE AIP helps you make intentional choices.
AN AIP WAY OF LIFE helps you make intentional dietARY choices.
AN AIP WAY OF LIFE helps you make intentional lifestyle choices.
More intentional choices all around, really.
But what do I mean by intentional choices? Aren’t all choices intentional?
Well, no. Not really.
Consider how much of your day is spent on automatic pilot doing the things you have to get done… (<– and I’m specifically talking to pre-AIP days if you happen to be a long way into your AIP caper)
How many times in your day did you consciously stop and very intentionally decide on the way forward?
1. done with intention or on purpose; intended: an intentional compliment.
2. of or relating to intention or purpose.
i) pertaining to an appearance, phenomenon, or representation in the mind; phenomenal; representational.
ii) pertaining to the capacity of the mind to refer to an existent or nonexistent object.
iii) pointing beyond itself, as consciousness or a sign.
An AIP WAY OF LIFE gives you a roadmap to make intentional choices.
Are you familiar with the expression, ‘spoilt for choice’? That conundrum of being unable to choose because there are so many possible choices?
This is perhaps the thing I love most about this AIP caper. It gives you just enough options for making the right intentional choices!
No surprise that learning to make intentional choices forms the basis of my entire coaching practise, then.
Put another way, the AIP is predicated on making good choices within a framework of options. These are all choices that serve you. I like to use my Wheel of Health to help set priorities for those choices.
Your life comes down to the patterns you have on repeat; what you do most often. What you do over and over becomes a habit. Those habits become your patterns, and those patterns become your life.
And, over time, these intentional choices we make on our AIP caper become habits. Intentional ones.
In my family, rational thought is celebrated. Large and loud displays of emotion make us uncomfortable. Understated affection, please. And, being the eldest child (and a daughter!) – eager to please and all that – I worked hard to deliver. I spent much of my life in my head. Working at being rational.
The thing about always trying to do the right thing, though – it means you sometimes forget to ask what is the right thing for you.
In my pre-AIP days I was a worrier
That’s wOrrier rather than wArrior.
I worried so much, I even worried about my worrying. (Yes, I realise how silly that sounds.)
If it could be over-thunk, I would overthink it. Perhaps you can relate?
- “Should I have said that?”
- “Could what I said (or did) have been misinterpreted?”
- “Is there any way I could have done that differently? Should I have?”
- “Did my tone offend? – I didn’t mean it that way.”
- “Was it good enough?”
- “Am I good enough?” (Often followed by, “I’m not good enough”)
- “Did I do the right thing?”
Side note: I didn’t know that my ‘worrying’ was really my word for ‘anxiety’
Post-AIP life is very different
The very heart of the AIP framework is based on self-care; placing enough value on yourself and your health to choose to make proactive diet and lifestyle changes. Simply starting the protocol means you are already making more intentional choices.
The process is a simple one, but not necessarily an easy one. It necessitates putting yourself first – not something that comes easily to many of us.
It is common for people to begin AIP thinking, “I’ll just give the diet a go and see what happens.”
And then, over time, comes the realisation that the diet piece is actually the easiest piece. It’s quite prescriptive – remove potentially inflammatory foods and focus on nutrient density. (<– notice that this is very intentional!)
As your confidence starts to build, AIPers learn to turn down the volume on external events that might impact an internal reaction. We start allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, as evidenced in when I shared my Hidradenitis suppurativa story. The idea of sharing my personal ‘stuff’ in the years leading up to this would have been unfathomable to me. We start actually believing that we are enough – right now, in this moment. And, if we work hard, we stop worrying so much about what other people are thinking. (Here’s a good book for some strategies to further help with that.)
Drop from your head into your heart
If you are an over-thinker, like me – one easy strategy to break out of your head and stop the worrying is to simply drop into your heart. It’s a good way to start the process of making more intentional choices.
It’s also a SUPER easy way to break the circuit. Just shift your focus from your head – where you are analysing and applying rational thought to EVERYTHING – and drop it to your heart. Imagine you are in the physical centre of your heart. Feel all the feels that come with that.
If it helps you to make this shift – actually place your hand over your heart.
As you rest your attention in your heart area, see what you discover there. When your rational thoughts or (perhaps not so rational) emotions pull you away, just bring your energy back to your heart.
Even setting the conscious intention to rest more in your heart can shift the way you are perceiving the world. You will find the act of practising this simple creative visualisation causes a change in your perspective.
Want some help with being more intentional?
*first published July 2018