I just finished my lunch of romaine lettuce, grape tomatoes, diced onions, and 1 tablespoon of Garlic Expressions Vinaigrette, (my favorite salad dressing, discovered from a fellow blogger, Susan of Between Naps on the Porch) and it was delicious. Those ingredients were the only ones that I had to make a salad with, at least of things that are healthy. I used to not like salads, and now I love them. Thinking about this reminds me that we are creatures of habit and are more prone to like what we get used to, and not like what is unfamiliar. I can think of more examples of this, especially things that I had to get used to before developing a taste for them. Some of those things were good for me, and some not.
I have written previously about my decision to no longer drink alcohol, a decision I made May 7, 2019. I am now a non-drinker. I made the decision to stop drinking to lose weight, and it helped me to do that. I also had to change my overall eating habits to lose the weight I wanted to lose, which I did, and met my Weight Watchers weight goal July 13, 2019. Once I met that weight goal, I continued on my plan, and have lost a total of 57 pounds. Accomplishing this required that I change my habits, learning to like some things I previously did not enjoy, and giving up some things, such as Chardonnay, that I enjoyed. I still miss the Chardonnay, but I enjoy the weight loss and the general feeling of well being more.
My weight loss was accomplished before I started a daily walking routine. Almost every day I walk two miles and have done so since January of 2020. I started walking for my health, specifically my osteoporosis and cholesterol. I have walked for exercise before, but never this consistently or for this length of time. Even if the walking is not directly related to my weight management plan, I feel much better overall from this exercise, and plan to continue it. I use this time for listening to podcasts and catching up on phone calls with friends. I hope that I will also see improvement in my bone mass and cholesterol, but even if not, I feel improvement in my mental health and overall physical health. This is another example of getting used to a routine before beginning to enjoy it.
I have known for years that I have an addictive personality. I am addicted to food that is not healthy or good for me, specifically sweets. While I am able to eat sweets in moderation, I will never be able to eat all of the sweets that I would like to if I want to maintain my weight loss. That is a non-negotiable fact. While I do not want to be deprived of food I enjoy, I am willing to control my food intake to remain healthy, and to maintain a healthy weight loss. That does not feel like deprivation, but discipline.
I do not think that I was addicted to alcohol, or I would not have been able to quit drinking so effortlessly. I certainly had a habit of drinking Chardonnay daily that was not good for me. I did not drink alcohol at all until I was in my mid to late 20’s, and usually only drank wine, and an occasional Lemon Drop Martini or Appletini. I remember having to develop a taste for wine, not enjoying the taste at all when I first started drinking it. Initially I only drank socially. Over the years that changed to enjoying Chardonnay very much and drinking it daily. This is an example of getting used to something that wasn’t good for me.
Other than rejoining WW and walking daily, the two behaviors that have helped me maintain my weight and health focus, I have other systems that help me to remain committed. The most important of these is daily recording of everything I eat and drink. If it goes in my mouth it is written down. I use the WW app for this. Sometimes this discipline keeps me from eating something I am about to put in my mouth! I also weigh myself daily in the same clothes and try to determine how my weight fluctuates up or down a pound or two and make changes accordingly.
What we get used to can help us or hinder us. Sometimes our habits develop over time and we are not even aware that what was once occasional has become a habit. Some of those habits are not good for us. Also, as motivational speaker Jim Rohn said many years ago, our habits build on each other, one good habit leading to another. Jim Rohn gave the example of eating an apple-a-day made taking a daily walk easier. The same is also true for one bad habit making another bad habit easier. I recall eating more sweets and other carbohydrates with my Chardonnay.
What have you gotten used to? Are those things serving your higher purpose, or making it more difficult for you to be who you want to be? If so, are you willing to change some of what needs to change? If you are stuck, just get started. You may be amazed at what you can do once you get started. Do not try to figure it all out at once. Just get started, and the rest will come.
Let me know If I can be of any help. The purpose of this weekly blog is to inspire positive change. One step at a time.