Yesterday I made a good choice. I made another good one today. Yesterday, instead of making nachos for lunch (corn chips, cheese, salsa, sour cream), I made pasta (brown rice pasta, turkey, kale, squash, real butter). Perhaps when looking at the calories and carbs involved, they may not have been that different (I didn’t do the math), but nutritionally, there is much more “good stuff” in the pasta. And today at work, I resisted the giant bowls of Moose Munch in favor of an orange and a quinoa bar. Again, maybe the sugar content of a whole orange and a small portion of Moose Munch would not be very different, but the real sugar in fruit is far superior (much easier to break down and use for energy) than the processed sugar in the popcorn covered in caramel and chocolate.
So I was happy about those two decisions. On the whole, I am not fully weaned from my bad habits (just finished drinking a soda, actually, though it was made with real cane sugar and not HFCS… but still, it’s soda), but I’m making small improvements.
How to eat an elephant? One bite at a time. That’s what they say, right? (Whoever “they” are.) So how to resist eating an elephant? Same way–one bite at a time. Maybe you won’t resist all bites, but if you start resisting them, you end the cycle of habitually biting, and will eventually stop altogether.
Life changes are not always about sudden, drastic changes that happen immediately. More often, they are about tiny changes from moment to moment which happen over a long period of time. How did I develop my bad habits? Over a long period of small concessions and compromises, day-in, day-out. How do I stop those bad habits? Over a long period of positive decisions and resisting those compromises, day-in, day-out.
I won’t always succeed. That’s important to note, because if I expect myself to be perfect, I’ll always let myself down. That’s not to say I’ll allow myself to fail and set the bar so low that it makes no change at all. What I mean is that I should set the bar low enough that I can get over, but high enough that it’s still a challenge. And as I get better with overcoming that hurdle, I’ll raise it a bit more, and challenge myself again, until that bar that seemed unattainable at the start, is easy as pie (or quiche?).
So maybe saying “I’ll never have nachos or Moose Munch again!” is unreasonable and setting myself up for failure. But maybe one day when I have that choice (nachos or healthy pasta?), I’ll make a good choice. I won’t be overwhelmed with the unforgiving word, “never”, but I’ll also be more conscious of what I choose to put into my body. And that’s another important note: What I eat is always a choice. It begins at the grocery store, and continues when I get home, go to work, go out other places. It’s always a choice. I am never forced to eat anything, so it is always my choice that puts food into my body.
One choice at a time, my friends. That’s all it takes to make a change. Maybe some prayer, self-control, and encouragement from friends might help. But ultimately, it’s each individual choice that will make the difference in the end.