Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The default setting

Confession:  I've waved my "before" picture around like it's my job.  I must admit I definitely always enjoy seeing the reaction when they realize where I've been and once again reminding myself of how far I've come.  It brings me a giddy smile...I ain't gonna lie.  But I did once get a reaction that surprised me.  I had shown the picture to one of my great yoga teachers and after proclaiming "Wow," he said the very interesting follow-up:  "Never forget that that's who you are."  And while I definitely can agree that you can change and become a different person, that statement has always stuck with me.  Which leaves me to today's topic and one I call:  "The default setting."  And I often wonder if it's just human nature or just a part of 'who I am'...even if I'm many, many pounds from where I once was.

"The default setting" is that annoying little habit of making the choice of going, what I feel, is the unhealthier root.  Why, EVEN THOUGH WE KNOW BETTER, is it easy to fall into bad/unhealthy habits??  For example:  why is it ALWAYS easier to order the fully loaded nachos than it is to go for the APPEALING salad (not the boring salad.  And yes, there is a differenceJ)  Why is it easier to be lazy even though we KNOW working out will make us feel SO much better??  That if I'm not careful and paying attenion, it's so easy to plow through food (without even TASTING it, mind you!) until I have a clean plate and a gross feeling of disgust because I didn't even notice until I was finished that I was BEYOND full?  It boggles my mind that even after 10+ years of living a healthier lifestyle that is STILL so easy to default to those old habits.  Are they just ingrained in me or do we all struggle with the same things??  Or do some people not even feel compelled to go the 'lazy/habit' route??  Is that even possible??  Although I'm sure there are plenty of people who read my LENGTHY posts about 'stopping when you're full' and think that is just BEYOND common knowledge...and if that is you, I commend YOU!  But for some of us, it takes EFFORT.  CONSTANT EFFORT ALL. THE. TIME. to not let ourselves fall through that side of cheese fries...and if that is YOU, I'm right there with youJ

Why is it so hard to see the bigger picture BEFORE we place the mindless, "habit" order for the double cheeseburger with bacon vs. the pear, goat cheese, caramelized onions, pistachio topped arugula salad?? (come on, you know that sounds pretty good from the salad front!J)  And why is it so easy to lounge on the couch even though I WILL SWEAR on the fact that excerise is a natural anti-depressant and you ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS (and alwaysJ) feel better NO MATTER how much you DREADED it before hand??  Now, don't get me wrong...if you are ACTUALLY, PHYSICALLY tired, I think sleep is a WAY better option.  But if you KNOW (and you DO know) if you COULD work out but choose not to, than that's what leads to that lousy feeling when you know you're being lazy vs. being genuinely tired.  

I've also had trouble (and not sure if this is another post worthy, but we're just gonna go with it), where I've notice my good & 'bad' eating had gone in circles.  When I was doing really well and making all of the healthier choices, it was SO easy to stay on that path and make all the right choices.  But when I was in a BAD circle??  Holy hell, LOOK OUT.  It just feels like one bad choice gets piled onto of the next and you can't even grasp for that one healthier choice option if you tried.  It's as if you're just spiraling further and further down, making those healthier choices even TOUGHER to pick.  It's that whole "I've eaten a cheeseburger for lunch, so I might as well have pizza for dinner & ice cream to top it off."

I've done this a time or two.

Or 9 thousand trillion times.

Now lately (thanks in large part to meditation & a clear brain, I just have to admit & throw that in here) I feel like it's been MUCH easier to make EACH meal choice a moment by moment choice in picking the healthier option and that has sorta relived that sometimes overwhelming stress of thinking of health as a lifelong commitment.  Not to mention it's easier to make the healthier option when I have a clear mind and feeling much less stressed.  But my question is:  no matter how many pounds lost or how much I meditate, will those unhealthy habits always be my 'default setting??'  I know the answer seemed VERY obvious when I was pregnant and, even while trying to be healthy as I could for those 9 months, I still would gravitate towards those old favorites of bright orange, boxed mac & cheese and the occasional toaster pizza.  Will it always be an internal struggle to leave that person behind or do they eventually just drift away from that old mindset, one good choice at a time?  I haven't figured out the answer in 10+ years, so what do you guys think??

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