I’m working on creating new definitions for my life because I’ve found the old ones have become no longer useful. I’m sure there are other ways of describing this, and I’m sure I’m not the first one to think of it, but lately I’ve been examining certain behaviors of mine and wondering why I’m likely to behave in ways that I don’t really want to, or agree with. Or to do things that frustrate me.
Part of the reason is I’m just a dumb animal and I don’t think about a lot of the decisions I make. I act on instinct or repetition or default behavior. So, I started looking at why the default behavior exists, where it was established as default, and what the underlying reasons for it were. An example of this is eating.
Despite the fact that I have spent 5 years running a website dedicated to eating Paleo, I have often struggled to eat the way I want. I believe in eating Paleo, I think it’s a great way for me to eat and I like I how look and feel when I eat strict Paleo. I like the energy it gives me, the amount of sleep I need, the way my skin looks, and how my outlook is generally improved most of the time. However, even though I believe these things, it’s easy for me to get sidetracked when at a restaurant or party and tasty food I really enjoy is available.
Now, I know this doesn’t make me unique by any means, everyone likes tasty foods. But it seems others have a will power I don’t have. Or, at least that’s what I have thought. “Jill just doesn’t have a soft spot for pizza the way I do, so it’s not as hard for her to eat salad when we’re at a restaurant with the best pizza EVAR!”
And that may be true. But what I wasn’t considering is that at least some of the time Jane is making choices. And those choices may be influenced by the definitions we hold around food.
I’ve often thought about what I “can’t” have, or what I “shouldn’t” eat. I think about what my mouth wants right now. An example of a new definition is “how do I want to feel later?” and “how does this food give me life and health?”
When I ask those questions, what I want on my plate changes dramatically.
Suddenly, I look at a menu and I see an invitation to feel great. I see vegetables as food that will bring my body nutrition and health and energy. I think about having to work after lunch and thinking about how certain foods will wake me up and get me going. I think about how I’ll feel after dinner. The other day, I passed on quesadillas and beer, and instead had a salad and soda water. And after dinner, felt like going for a run. I WENT FOR A RUN ON PURPOSE!!! This would not have happened if I’d had the quesadillas and beer. I’d have felt tired, maybe had a second beer, which could have led to a third. Then I would have sat on my ipad and goofed off. Instead, I went for a run then I read before going to sleep. I truly believe that how I ate affected my activity levels, and my new definition of food affected my decision.
It’s odd to imagine that I’ve been thinking about food incorrectly for years, but I have. However, it’s pretty exciting to open up the opportunity to redefine how you think about food, and hopefully make some lasting changes that feel easy and exciting.