When my friend, Helen, found herself in an emergency room with high blood pressure, she began to think about her young boys. She wanted to stay around for them, so she worked to do whatever it took to lower her blood pressure. She spent the next several years compiling all of the information she needed to make healthy choices on low-sodium food items. And, her blood pressure is back to an acceptable level.
Her experience propelled her to write “Salt Is A Four Letter Word,” an easy-to-use book that anyone with high blood pressure can use to shop for the right foods and make the right choices. She also writes a newsletter named See Salt, which provides helpful tips and invaluable information — like why Olive Garden should be avoided. If you know or are living with someone who has high blood pressure, it’s worth the read.
Helen recently asked me to contribute a blog on why change is difficult, because even people dealing with life-threatening health issues find it hard to change. It’s true — but not always for the reasons you might think.
Sometimes the hardest part of change is getting those closest to you to accept the “new you.”
Let’s say you have a cousin who comes to the annual family reunion and eats more than anybody else. He’s large and loud and makes everyone laugh. Then, one year, he shows up 50 pounds lighter. He brings baked chicken instead of steaks and potatoes. Rather than providing the comedy, he discusses the upcoming 10K he’s signed up for. He isn’t so comforting anymore. His new standards feel like something the rest of the family should live up to.
Research shows that even when people are told they will die within a year if they don’t change their eating habits or take medication, most stop their new behaviors after just a few weeks. What could possibly be more important than living?
Perhaps social acceptance and inclusion by those whom we most love.
Here are 3 reasons we might not want those we love to change — even if it’s for the better:
Resistance to change is normal, but resistance to a family member’s change could be fatal . . . for them.
Make sure you offer your support to those who are making healthy changes in their lives, because change IS difficult. Helen Woodward knows, and has dedicated her life to helping those whose change is built around lowering sodium intake so they can lower their blood pressure.
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