I do some of my best thinking while I’m running. Today I ran for almost an hour and a half, so I had a lot of time to ponder different things that have been on my mind. Since my eating choices have been rather ‘nonproductive’ the past three days, I decided that it would be helpful to stop obsessing about that, and start thinking about the good things I’m doing for myself and create a positive framework for my journey.
In my experience, food choices are critical to long-term weight management success. But when I feel myself ‘struggling’ with those choices and am in turmoil about it, I seem to do worse and worse. So I know that a part of what I need to do is be encouraging of myself and focus on what’s going right. A couple of interesting ideas came to mind.
Devin and I have a large, fancy, flat-screen TV. Nevertheless, we live in a hilly part of San Francisco that has literally no broadcast TV signal. Several years ago when we were both (briefly) out of work, we disconnected cable as an unnecessary expense. As a result, the only time that big, fancy TV is ever in use is if Devin has rented a DVD. Having watched approximately 1.4 zillion hours of television in my life, I was surprised at the extent to which I was able to forego having it at home. It is nice to watch movies from time to time, but I feel that my brain and my home life are somehow richer for NOT having television around. Its always nice to know we could subscribe to cable again any old time, but that we don’t ‘have to’ do it any time soon.
Similarly, I was thinking about my car. Its a very nice and fancy import, and a pleasure to drive, but lately the only time I ever use it is to move it from one side of the street to the other on street cleaning days. Now that I’m walking to work every day, I find it makes more sense to do other errands on foot or using public transit. Devin does the same. Its nice to have our car around for when we need it, but where we live its surprisingly easy to survive without driving everywhere.
When I think of those two scenarios, it suggests to me that maybe I can develop a similar relationship to the sweet foods in my life (that is, things like cookies, pastries, candy, bread, alcohol, etc.) These are things that I have consumed a lot of in the past, but am eating a bit less of at present. It has been a much more challenging to reduce their consumption than it was to forego TV and driving. Food has a stronger and more immediate appeal. But wouldn’t it be nice if I had the same mentality about food as I did about those things? How nice to have the belief that sweets are out there and available, but just aren’t necessarily a big part of my life at the moment.
I don’t ever plan on permanently giving up television, driving, or chocolate chip cookies. But if I can learn to consume all of these things in much SMALLER amounts than the past, how much healthier I would be! Its something to think about.