Friday, September 22, 2006

Changing Habits

Somehow I think we are always trying to find the most comfortable place for us to be in. At the one extreme would be somebody who just passed their hand too close to an open flame. That’s hot. That hurt. They drew away from the fire to a place where it’s not going to hurt them. So, too, does somebody who is hooked on cigarettes crave that next cigarette that will calm them down and allow them to continue on their day easily. A person who overeats will reach for something to eat more to comfort them than to ease their hunger. These practices are mostly unconscious with us. If we were to think about what we were doing as we did them we might not derive the same sense of satisfaction from them.

Maybe that’s a first step toward changing a bad habit.

Not actually doing anything drastic. Not actually making a commitment to lose weight, quit smoking or stop drinking. Just sort of noticing what you’re doing.

Notice the times you develop cravings to eat. Is it right after you’ve had a difficult conversation with somebody? Is it during a lull in activity? Is it right before a class or a meeting? When do you want to smoke? It’s like every 25 minutes, isn’t it? It’s when you can’t smoke. I remember I could not go to movies for years because that was where I could not smoke and it was almost a guarantee that I was going to be crazy for a cigarette. And, how about a drink? Can you go days between having one or do you need to have one every day?

I don’t think that’s too much to ask a person to do, just to notice something. It’s interesting that I already quit smoking and stopped drinking, so I know I can do it. Those were real hard to do. I developed (I hope) strength of character. I can’t quit eating, but I do need to become more conscious of what I eat. I need to make every bite count, so maybe I need to count every bite? Something like that. Just for now. Just to ease me into the idea that losing weight is a comfortable proposition.

My husband has lost 25 pounds in the last few months. He’s using Weight Watchers, which is a terrific system. He’s always asking how many points something is. “Okay, that’s only 3 points. I can have that.” He’s very, very aware of what the points are now. That’s all. There’s a system to figure out the points. We’ve got a couple of books. We’ve got a slide rule gizmo. We also signed up for Weight Watchers On-Line where they’ve got lots of foods already pointed out and you can even put your favorite recipes in to figure out what they’re going to be.

Maybe I should just swallow my resistance for a few months and lose some of this weight. I’ve managed to lose 10 pounds since January. It’s not a whole lot, but at least I don’t honk the horn anymore with my belly when I’m in the car. I think I can find something else to aspire to if I think about it.

No comments: