Sunday, September 26, 2010

Wisdom Keys: Habitually Yours

I’ve fought a lifelong battle of the bulge, meaning that most of my life have carried more weight than I should. I’ve tried diets; I’ve had times of my life when I’ve been fairly thin, but somehow those periods have been short-lived. Someone has said something about my weight—something non-supportive of the new, thinner me—and I’ve found myself quickly climb right back up to where I was before, maybe even adding a few new pounds above and beyond where I started.

I started reading Women, Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything the other night, and although I haven’t gotten far, it made me start thinking about my eating habits. Do I eat because I’m hungry, or do I eat because it’s time to? Do I eat just enough to satisfy my hunger, or do I eat a set amount because that’s what I’ve trained myself to do? Do I eat in certain situations just because that’s what I do, rather than waiting until I’m really hungry?

Dr. Phil McGraw talks in his book The Ultimate Weight Solution: The 7 Keys to Weight Loss Freedom about the need to change your environment, to remove those triggers that set us into mindless eating.

We’ve all developed eating habits when we were very young children, and unless we become conscious of them, those habits will rule our lives for years. As I was eating pizza last night, I stopped to think about my childhood pizza habit. I clearly remember my mother putting three pieces of pizza onto my plate. After I ate them, I could get one more piece as a second helping.

Second helping? Count it more like a FOURTH helping, since I’d already had three helpings before.

As I ate the final piece—number four—last night, I realized I was more than full—I was STUFFED! So, why did I do it? Why did I eat four large pieces—all much larger than the four my mother used to feed me by the way. Because taking four pieces of pizza was my habit!

Breaking habits is not easy, but if we can do so, we can certainly change our outcomes. We are the ones responsible for what we do. Men decide their habits. Their habits decide their future.

If I stop eating the amount of food I’ve trained myself to take, and start eating just enough to satiate my hunger, I should lose weight. It’s a natural cause and effect, my body’s natural system of checks and balances.

What other checks and balances do we have in our lives? Are their other habits we acquire that put us on a path of ill-health—physically, spiritually, mentally, or emotionally?

Those bad habits can only be truly gone when we replace them with positive ones. It takes faith, effort, and conscious thought to do so, and we may find ourselves working on the same bad habit again and again.

If we try to change too many bad habits to good ones, all at the same time, we will likely fail. Take inventory of yourself. What would you most like to change? Is it your weight? The way you treat other people? The study habits you have failed to develop?

When it comes to a bad habit, maybe you’ve been guilty of thinking or saying, “That’s just the way I am.” No, that’s just the way you allow yourself to be. It will take a conscious effort to change that path that leads you astray into one that brings you peace. And the good thing is, we are not alone.

The Savior promised: “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you” (3 Nephi 18:20). With the Lord’s help, you can change.

This can be true when it comes to making our lives in general better than we through possible. It applies when it comes to our habits regarding educational and occupational choices. And it can apply when it comes to choosing our diet and controlling our weight, too.

Make a decision, then form a habit that leads you toward the real end goal, not the one that was set years ago.

1 comment:

Maria said...

I really enjoyed that book and your post. Habits are so hard to break!