Friday, June 07, 2013
I have been working on a list, adding to it somewhat daily, of reasons why I want to pursue my health and wellness goals. While a worthy pursuit and somewhat motivating, it has not yet produced the results (the SPARK) I desire. It has occurred to me that I may be missing part of the picture. Once upon a time, in a memory getting farther away, I was fortunate enough to have a Wellness Coach. The recession hit hard and I was no longer able to work with my coach, but some of the lessons have remained (at least to a degree). I remember learning that we continue to do behaviors that defeat our stated goals because we get something desirable from those behaviors. For example, one may desire to run a marathon, but then continue to oversleep and miss the training runs. Why? Because she gets something desirable from staying in bed. It may be extra sleep, more cuddle time with the husband or dog, avoiding the idea of people watching her run and thinking about how they might be judging her, or avoiding an injury she has suffered in the past. There may be many other reasons why she oversleeps instead of gets up for her training runs, but it all comes down to she is getting something good from staying in bed.
So today, I interrupt my regularly scheduled blog to work on my list of things I get from the self-destructive habits I continue. I am sure this list will be far from exhaustive, but I hope it will help me in turning around my self-defeating thinking.
Negative Behavior: Unhealthy food choices
Positive Result: I get to enjoy whatever I want without thinking of the repercussions. I can buy what is cheap, tasty, big, or otherwise appealing. I can eat what is free and be glad about it.
Possible Solution: Concentrate on my feelings before, during, and after eating. Many times, I do not find the unhealthy foods satisfying, leaving me feeling either hungry or bloated. I may eat unhealthy choices because they were offered free to me and I feel obligated, or they come at no additional charge with a meal (like potato chips or French fries sometimes do), or because someone else suggests I do not want to miss out on some to-die-for piece of cake. If I concentrate on why I think I want to eat the food, pay attention to whether I am enjoying it, and reflect upon how I feel afterward, I may feel less inclined to reach for the unhealthy choices. On the other hand, if I do the same with healthy foods and find myself not only enjoying what I eat, but also feeling satisfied and without regret, I may naturally begin to gravitate toward healthier choices.
Negative Behavior: Eating too much
Positive Result: Instant gratification: if it tastes good, eat it! Plus, I feel an unwarranted sense of power, as though I can eat whatever I want and not gain weight or work it off later. Clearly, this has not been the case for me, but my mind still seems to think I can, so I eat too much to prove the point (to whom, I do not know) that I can – and will – eat whatever I want.
Possible Solution: Focus on the painful feeling of having overeaten. Concentrate on it when I experience it. As I am eating, remind myself that I can have this food again some other time without that uncomfortable (or even painful) bloated feeling, and that feeling of being weighted down by too much in my system. Remember the energy I feel when I have eaten the right amount of a good balance of foods.
Negative Behavior: Stinkin’ thinkin’
Positive Result: If I tell myself I am fat, I will always be fat, it’s not worth the effort, I can’t do (whatever is my goal), and other “stinkin’ thinkin’,” I can avoid trying. It gives me an excuse to give up without giving any effort. I can stay the way I am and not have to do the work of change.
Possible Solution: Remember the phrase, “success breeds success.” I can do one little right thing for myself, and then do one more right thing, and one more until it becomes a whole bunch of right things that lead to success. No, I cannot wake up tomorrow with arms that don’t jiggle, toned abs, knees and a back that don’t hurt, and legs that will effortlessly carry me up 105 flights of stairs. I can stay within my calorie range today, meet my steps goal, and go to bed at a reasonable time, knowing that if I do these things, they will become less difficult the next day and the day after that until one day, they become a way of life. Focus on all that I can do, all that I do accomplish every day, on the many great things other people love about me and make me special. Embrace who I am, flaws and all. Love me like my mom, my husband, or my best friend do; love myself the way I love them… flaws and all.
There are many more I am sure I could list, but it has already taken me three days to complete this blog, and there is plenty here to address for now. It’s kind of funny, but I have already started doing better since starting this blog. I have eaten in my healthy range of calories for two days straight! I woke up easily this morning, which is much different than when I eat too much. Hooray!