What did you eat yesterday? What about this time a week ago? Do you remember?
How many of the decisions that you make each day are by default? How you ever thought about that?
We’re creatures of habit, and because our brains are pretty smart, when confronted with the same circumstance time and again they create a kind of ‘default’ setting.
Here’s an example: What do you eat for breakfast? You probably choose the same thing every morning without thinking about it.
Or, you wake up in the morning and the first thing you do is drink a glass of water because that’s what you’ve always done. The decision you make moves from being a conscious one to being an unconscious one. You have an automatic response to a specific situation.
These are mindless decisions, and we make them all the time.
Lately I’ve been thinking about this in relation to the way I eat. Generally speaking, if I’m cooking for myself, I’ll think carefully about all the ingredients and the cooking process and how these affect the healthfulness of the food. I’m intentionally mindful about making sure I eat well.
Unfortunately, I’m not always mindful. When a tray of donuts are in my vicinity I don’t think twice about whether or not should eat one. My default response is always yes. The same goes for chocolate bars or ice-cream. Its not even a question in my mind, I automatically say yes every time.
Thankfully, this doesn’t have to be the case.
We have the capacity to cultivate a conscious thought process when it comes to what we eat.
We can take a moment to pause before we eat and ask ourselves a few questions:
1- Am I really hungry? Hunger vs craving vs thirst vs tiredness
2- Is this the best choice to eat right now or is there something better? Tastes good vs does good
3- Will this satisfy me? Full for 1 hour or full for 3
4- How will I feel after this? Energized vs sluggish
I love this system because it prevents default thinking from taking over. Instead of ‘thinking with my eyes’ and automatically saying yes, I get the chance to actually think through my decision carefully.
It doesn’t mean I’ll always say no to donuts, (in fact, I’ll probably still say yes) but when I do say yes it will be because I’m 100% sure that they’re what I want, and not just because they were dangled in front of me.
There is no one-size fits all for eating better – but it all starts with being aware of the food-related decisions both conscious and unconscious that we make each day.
Give it a try for a week, and let us know how you get along!
/Femi, The Girl Who Hates Working Out