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What’s Your Story?

February 4th, 2011

There are times that it is socially challenging to dispense nutritional advice for a living.  Not only do folks feel compelled to justify their dietary behavior to me at random —“I haven’t had a donut in years, except for this one”— some people seem to assume that I can just pop off an answer to their complex health or diet question while I’m plugging the parking meter (yes, it really happened).

There is an older gentleman who works out at the gym I go to. Mark somehow found out what I do for a living. This morning he climbed onto the treadmill next to me and started talking about his 35-year struggle with type 2 diabetes. I listened to Mark’s disclosure for a while and then I asked him if he ever tried to go off his meds.  “Yep, in 1984,” he said.  “It didn’t work,” he added with finality.  It was then that I realized that Mark was not going to be asking me for advice. Mark was hooked into Mark’s Story, and that story is too intertwined with type 2 diabetes for him to be motivated to change.  Mark’s diabetic condition has become a part of his very identity and how he defines himself. As odd as it might sound, I sensed that if he suddenly were not diabetic, Mark would not know who he was.  At the very least he’d have less to talk about.

So here’s a question for you, if you dare to ask it of yourself: What part of your story has you stuck somewhere in your life right now? What are you telling yourself that has made you into your own jailer? And what—if anything—are you willing to do to change?

Feel free to email me your answer if you’d rather not post it here. I’m really interested to hear your insights.

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