I was really going to get this article out a week or two ago, but you know what? Something else came up. Actually, I had this perfect window of opportunity and, . . well, . . . the truth is I got taken in by the bounty of information and offers of everything too-good-to-be-true on the world-wide-web. It was the infinite wisdom and offers of health, wealth and everything I’ve ever wanted that prevented me from writing. . . Really.
Really? I guess if I think about it, I made a choice to allow myself to be distracted and not to write. I knew what I was doing.
When you get right down to it, everything is a choice. Though we might feel drawn, distracted or obligated to act in certain ways, the only sure thing we have to do is die. We have to die eventually.
"I have to work, pay taxes and feed the kids," you might argue. Well, you don’t have to. You do so because you choose work and taxes over dumpster diving and jail time. You probably sleep better at night when you know your children are cared for. So you are in fact choosing one behavior over another because you don’t like the consequences. You choose. You are in charge. Isn’t that liberating?
Many of us make decisions without much, if any, thought. The more impulsive our nature, the more this might be true. It doesn’t take much time to choose, necessarily. It’s just about creating a time and space so you can.
Do you stop to consider your choices when it comes to eating?
- Am I hungry or am I feeling something else? (anxious, bored, overwhelmed, lonely…)
- Am I hungry or thirsty?
- Is this what I want to eat right now?
- Does this taste as good as I thought it would, or not?
- Am I still hungry or am I satisfied?
- Will I eat seated at a table or while watching TV, working or driving?
- Will I eat slowly and consciously or will I numb out and shovel it in?
Dr. Brian Wansink is Professor of Marketing and Director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University. Dr. Wansink says that although people think they make about 15 food decisions a day, research shows the number is well over 200. Some are obvious decisions, like what food we purchase. Some decisions are subtle. For instance, we decide how much or how fast we eat based on how much or how fast the person seated next to us is eating, potentially influencing our intake by more than 20 percent up or down.
A poor choice made consciously is better than an unconscious choice. By consciously choosing we’re being accountable and fully aware of the consequences, versus pretending there aren’t any. This should not promote guilt, but acceptance. When we come from acceptance amazing things happen.
Client Valerie Campbell said recently, "Now that I’ve let go of feeling guilty about eating, I can eat one cookie instead of fifteen. When I don’t feel like I’m doing something wrong I don’t need to eat as much. I make better choices."
Food aside, there are other choices to make.
- You choose how you talk to yourself, nicely or nastily.
- You choose your attitude, victim or victor.
- You choose your mood, glad or sad.
- You choose what you do with your money, invest or digest.
- You choose your language, "have to" or "choose to."
- You choose your perspective, problem or opportunity.
- And on a timely note, you choose what you do with your time, use it or lose it.
Of course we’ve all been in situations where we’ve reacted and lived to regret it. When we respond versus react, we allow ourselves the opportunity to make a choice. What’s the difference between a response and a reaction? It is simply time, possibly just a few seconds time to check in with our thoughts and feelings, allowing us to make a conscious choice.
Bringing consciousness to our thoughts is very important because they have a ripple effect. Simply put, our thoughts influence our feelings, which determine our behaviors. Over-eating, and other undesirable behaviors, become habit when we don’t check in with ourselves to understand the underlying thoughts and feelings.
So what will you choose to do with what you know?
I think we’re done here. So haven’t you got work to do?