Behaviors: What and Why

Why awareness is the best gift I’ve given myself since vanilla vodka

I’ve heard “Search within yourself” as a solution to many things in life, many times.

Just the same, I’ve shrugged and quickly dismissed such hippy-talk. A little over two weeks into my journey, I’ve had to ask myself questions I don’t think I’ve asked before- in terms of the tradeoffs for eating something, my feelings when I think I’m hungry, and many others. Although numbers are a helpful part of progress, the questions I find myself searching for answers to, have struck a chord with me, and hopefully are ones that resonate with my inner (hell, outter too) fat kid. Focusing my energy on my 40by30 goal, I’ve asked myself questions ranging from trivial, to intense, time-the-fuck-out-and-think-about-this, including:

  1. If I only eat half a square of chocolate, that doesn’t really count towards anything, since it’s so small, right?

  2. I’m not even hungry right now- why the hell did I just come into the kitchen?

  3. What happened yesterday that made me deviate so much from my original plan?

  4. Do I want more fruit because it’s healthy, or more because I am “allowed” even though I’m not sure if I actually need more?

  5. Why is this asshole trying to pressure me into eating that bullshit he is eating?

Replacing Habits

In asking these questions, I’ve realized some habits I didn’t think I actually had, when honest with myself, I do. Once realizing a few behaviors, the next step was to then think through what can be replaced with said habit. I’m essentially trying to retrain myself just like a dog, or, according to a girlfriend of mine… “Like a Husband”. Touche.

A formula I’m following is as such:

  • Old behavior + questions = “I xxx because”.
  • “I xxx because” + New Behavior = Healthier choices and increased awareness around my feelings (PROFIT!)

Although this isn’t complex, it’s still something I just… didn’t address, and am working on, now that it’s a thing.

So, what have I realized so far?

  1. I overeat because the act of eating makes me happy. This causes me to continue eating when I should have stopped sooner, at times.
  2. When I have sugars, and processed carbs, I crave more of them.
  3. After a few days without processed sugars or carbs, I rarely crave them.
  4. If everyone in my group is eating something awesome, I fear I’m missing out on the experience with them, and missing out something tasty. This causes me to quickly cave if pressured or told to “Just try a bite”, and then I hate myself for feeling so weak, caving into something so temporary, and most importantly, lying to myself for saying I’d abstain.
  5. Sugar is in EVERYTHING, and it’s a cheap substitute for long-term happiness.
  6. Declining a cocktail immediately prompts the other person to display his/her “Oh, so you are pregnant then?!” face.
I’ve even weaned myself away from all sweeteners. Coconut is king now in my house. 

All of the above now have healthier thoughts, actions, and outcomes so I feel better in those situations going forward. I’m versed on how to handle them/what to say. To the folks I decline drinking with, I like my idea of explaining Jesus is coming back next week and told me to keep my stomach clean of wine so he can give me the good stuff.

I’ve also learned some cool stuff about me on this quest to ultimate fitness:

  1. Eating whole foods doesn’t make me feel as deprived as I originally feared. I can have some fruit, or a slice of whole wheat bread, if I am feeling fancy.
  2. When I don’t want to go to the gym, I believe the lie I tell myself of “It will just be 30 minutes on the treadmill”. It’s never. Just. 30. Minutes.
  3. Knowing there are others out there, in Facebook, in Instagram, in my daily life- that feel the pain when they do things they know are destructive, but want to break free, has made a huge impact on me. Even if I wanted to quit this journey, I don’t think I actually could now, because I have social media buddies, friends, even work colleagues whom have all said “Hey- I read your blog. I can really relate to it and I am so down for all the awesome you will accomplish”.
  4. Opening myself up to my past, my motivations, my inner-thoughts, was the best decision I’ve probably made in 2016. Instead of blowing off the supportive comments with a joke, I now pause to let it “hit” me, and offer my gratitude. I don’t think I did this before. Compartmentalized Nicole fit well into a box.
  5. Most importantly, I have to be kind to myself. “ENOUGH” is written all over my planner, my desk, work notes, etc. The inner voice I have is fucking dumb, and continually wants me to believe I’m not going to succeed because I “cheated” when eating a bite of my husband’s sandwich. Enough. Silence the voice with love.
  6. Being kind, seeing results, consistently thinking better things, and being more self-aware, all take time. As long as I am willing to give myself the time, and self-awareness to be honest about my actions, I will succeed.
By far the best illustration of patience. I would have eaten that cookie the minute it was in my master’s hand. 

With the above in mind, I’m realizing how aggressive my 40by30 goal really is. I want to shove what may take years for me to completely and more consistently reframe myself, into a five month goal. I like a challenge, and I want to keep the original goal. But, through the self-awareness of questioning “why”, replacing behaviors with healthier ones, and then reflecting on not only the bad, but also the good, this journey will take time, and for once I’m excited to be patient.

 

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