You might consider that this post is not relevant to IBS, but everyone has to make some changes, when diagnosed with a medical condition. Changes perhaps try a new diet, a new medication or treatment, these naturally will require some change to a persons usual lifestyle. I was lucky enough to train with an inspirational dietitian during my clinical placements and one experience I had during training was listening to my mentor explaining to a patient, using the metaphor of a path, for explaining the challenges of changing any behaviour that we need to, in life. She explained that choosing to change a behaviour is like choosing a path to walk and the path we all use as a default, as human beings, is often the easy, well trodden route. Or the path of least resistance. This is a human trait – it is certainly not being lazy, a comment I often hear from people – you are not lazy – you are human. Making changes is challenging, a difficult path to follow, often with steep slopes, an uneven, meandering, overgrown path – a formidable terrain. Initially both paths follow close to each other.
Often, when starting out on a demanding route, it is very easy to start to follow the more difficult path and step from the difficult route back to the easy one. This is very much to be expected – but when this happens, look behind you – how far have you come? You now have a decision to make – and this decision is solely yours, so take full ownership of it. You can continue to follow the well trodden route, consider what this will ultimately achieve – weigh up the costs and benefits of staying on your chosen path. If you choose to stay on the well trodden path then do not feel disappointed, don’t berate yourself for your choice. You have made a choice and there will be very good reasons for it. Maybe this is not the time for difficult challenges and believe it or not, it is perfectly acceptable to reach such a conclusion. Walk a little further and consider again whether you are ready to try the more difficult path, it will always be possible to step back onto it, from the easy route. People can hop from one path to the other a few times before they find that they are actually some way down the tough route and realise that the path actually does have very manageable sections. Now the easy path is some way in the distance and this tougher path has surprisingly become the new default. Think about the achievement you can make and the views you can expect to see, when following the challenging paths in life!