Last night when I pulled into the gym parking lot, I saw a 30-something year old man getting into his car with a large bag from the local chicken wing restaurant. He was morbidly obese.
(Ok, we can give him the benefit of the doubt, it’s possible that he has a glandular disorder and was bringing the big box of wings back to share with the rest of his family.) At the risk of sounding harsh, it’s more likely that this snapshot in time captures the two of us making our habitual choices.
“We are our choices.”
It may be oversimplifying, but ultimately we embody our life’s choices. Daily choices become habits whether we make those choices consciously or not. And they have a cumulative impact on our health, happiness and well-being.
The other day I was interviewing a new client, learning about her lifestyle and her past. At age 62, she considers herself 37 pounds overweight and has been for some time. She told me “It all started with menopause.” (Unfortunately, it’s true―studies show that hormonal changes at menopause are associated with an increase in total body fat and an increase in abdominal fat.) Fortunately, studies also show that menopausal associated weight gain, increased waist sizes, high lipid levels and other risk factors for coronary heart disease are all preventable with appropriate lifestyle choices (exercise, nutrition, portion control). As the interview with my new client progressed, she recalled another factor that came into play with her weight gain. Her husband had gone into the snack food business, which entailed traveling to trade shows and doing a lot of snack food sampling over the course of 10 years or so…Ah ha, so maybe the primary culprit wasn’t really menopause after all?
It’s easy to blame something else for our troubles. The heavy lifting begins with taking responsibility for things we can control. If you’re overwhelmed, start small, one day at a time― one better choice at a time. Taking a page from AA, begin each day with a new pledge to yourself –Today and just for today, I will [fill in the blank.]. Maybe it’s “Today I’ll eat more veggies and avoid the junkies”, or “I’ll walk after dinner for 10 minutes”. You get the idea. Whatever it is, keep making those positive choices until they become habits and before long, you will embody the healthier, happier you.