Wednesday, November 30, 2011

You are in control

I don't care how you cut it, you are always in control.

Mind over matter, we can each choose how we respond to stimuli every single day.  As a counselor, I see it every day, people living up to the labels which are placed on them.  People giving in and not thinking about their actions, people using a stigma to justify their behaviors rather than thinking through the decisions and not acting on impulse.

I admit, I do it myself too.  Sometimes, I just don't want to think about what I put in my body.  Sometimes, I just want to go out and order something I know I shouldn't or even can't eat.  I've gotten better though, I might not be 100% well at doing it right all the time, but I'm working at 99%.  I mean that with diet and exercise, I am working on giving it 99%. If we always work on giving in 99%, that means we're only messing it up 3.56 days per year.  If 3.56 days per year, you're doing it right, you've got nothing to worry about.

A friend of mine has a very simple saying that comes to mind every time I am presented with potentially making a bad choice. I hear it in my head in his voice, so this makes it particularly meaningful, "Girl, we all know right from wrong, chose right!" Chose right means to me that while I'm in the grocery store, I don't let my eyes spend more than 2 seconds on a potential pantry hazard. Pantry hazards are the things I throw away when I do my pantry purge. These items include, but are not limited to: potato chips, cookies, snack cakes*, and pretty much anything that has empty calories I never should have bought in the first place.

I must admit, over the last 3 years of my life I have been able to minimize the amount of hazardous waste products I bring in from the grocery store, but there's always room to improve. That's a monetary savings right there. $3.50 for a bag of chips over $2.50 for a bag of apples is a savings. It's the effort it takes to peel, core and eat the apple that often gets in the way. I hate to see anything go to waste, the pantry hazards just appear to linger longer. A few things sneak into the house here and there, and I'm always glad when I purge the pantry to see that I'm not throwing away an empty bag. Most often, it wasn't something I purchase for myself anyway.

I do my best to exhibit self control in my grocery shopping trips by always having a list. Last week, I successful went down the chip aisle, analyzed all my salty snack cravings, and passed the opportunity on each to make a bad decision. It was pretty rewarding to see myself make it down the aisle, assess my primary trigger foods (Golden Flake Cheese Puffs & Zapp's Spicy Tomato Chips, I'm looking at you) and gleefully walking away from those and others without looking back, until now. The moment that I did it though, I felt no desire to ruin all I'd worked hard for. I realized I was in control and I could not be tempted.

It's a constant battle though. It's a battle that we can always win when we're in control of our thoughts to assess our impulses and emotional triggers. Just keep fighting the urge to "do bad" and you'll always win.

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