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By Valerie Driscoll, Lead Coach and Coaching Program Developer for Apollo Health

I am about to take off on one of the highlights of my year, which will now be the highlight of two years: a three-day music festival, this year made even better because my friend and colleague, Chris Coward, is spending her much-needed vacation at the festival as well. 

It is going to be a wonderful weekend, but it is also going to be a challenge, because while I have “living” the ReCODE Protocol™ down to a science in the controlled bubble of home, work, and friends who are accustomed to my somewhat unusual habits, being released into the wilds of a three-day festival filled with beer, street food, lemonade, and free ice cream becomes a situation requiring a plan.

It all seems manageable as I sit here writing, but I know that when I am in the thick of it, it will be less so, especially when most of those around me will be in full celebration mode and living the life I used to lead. So how will I stick with it?

The answer is to put into practice what I refer to as Protocol Resilience. This resilience requires creating a personalized ReCODE ProtocolTM strategy that can be adapted to any situation. The foundation of a successful program is an honest self-assessment of strengths and tripping points and then leaning into these strengths to overcome obstacles that may arise. It also necessitates an abundance of patience and self-compassion for the simple truth that the lifestyle changes required to practice PreCODE or ReCODE are challenging. A huge payoff in investing time in this work is that it becomes increasingly easy to create a plan no matter what arises; we might bend a little, but we don’t break.

We each have to navigate our own resilience journey. This is a big part of what we do in our PreCODE+ and ReCODE+ group coaching programs: help participants create their own Protocol Resilience by developing a personalized set of skills designed to make B7 lifestyle changes more straightforward and long-lasting.

My experience this weekend will be much easier than it would have been a few years ago, for I have had lots of practice. I know exactly why I want to stick to my PreCODE program; I value each of the benefits it brings to me, especially singing and dancing for three days without pain or exhaustion, even as I approach 62! I have made many mistakes along the way, but they have allowed me to refine my skills.

My program breaks down to a few key elements

The first is to realize who I am and who I am not, which translates into what will be easy and what will be more difficult. Then, I will lean into my natural strengths of humor, creativity, and love of learning.

I will practice lots of self-compassion because this can still be difficult for me, even with all I have learned. I will manage my feeling of “otherness” while everyone is eating and drinking around me. I also know that my usual “less-than-perfect” will be even less. I will make peace with that because being resilient in my own prevention program requires a perfection continuum; the more perfect end of the continuum is reserved for being in my bubble and fully resourced. 

I am grateful for the easy parts of practicing the B7 in this scenario: exercise, stress reduction, and brain stimulation are taken care of, as I will be listening to great music, dancing, and hanging out with my friends for the better part of three days. I will, though, have to realize when it is time to sit down and shut up awhile and let the bands play on. 

The hardest part is going to be eating well. I will not have a kitchen, so I will do my best with what is available, supplementing with nuts, seeds, olives, avocados, and some friendlier nutrition bars. I will stick to my 16-hour fast, stay away from the beloved free ice cream and lemonade, and blissfully enjoy one beer a day. I will be in constant and compassionate dialogue with the tiny voice in my head telling me that a more capable person would be packing coolers filled with Keto-Flex 12/3 friendly foods. 

My “feeder friends” will be urged to stop trying to feed me once I say, “no thanks,” but I will tell them how much I appreciate them having lovingly prepared so many “Tupperwared” delicacies!

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