No Longer an Addict!
What Did I Do?
“Your weight is a lagging measure of your eating habits. […] You get what you repeat.” ― James Clear
This article is inspired by an interesting book written by James Clear, in which the author explains the power of habits in a genuine and creative way.
I came across this book recently and found out that many things said there resonate with my whole life growing up with anxiety and, consequently, submerging unconsciously into some bad habits that used to help me cope with feelings of rejection and continuous mental pressure.
While I was not eating enough, I was an addict to sugary foods, coffee, and chocolate. I thought that I should only avoid these foods, but it was not that easy. I fought a lot before getting to establish a healthier diet: starting one day and then giving up the other.
Every other day I had to bring up a new strategy, which ended up being as ineffective as the former.
Nevertheless, the first thing I had to do was create a system in which eating healthy food could be easier than preventing myself from eating less healthy ones. Because my brain had been already formatted to choose the least, as a result, it continuously resurfaced when I had no external motivation to rely on.
The question is, “How should I create this system?”
“Success is the product of daily habits — not once-in-a-lifetime transformations.”― James Clear
Sometimes I bought a load of fruits and eat them within three or four days approximately. Then I fell again into the trap of eating too many sugary foods afterward because I exaggerated and was exhausted from the very first step.
Now I am conscious of my habits, I could describe this past reaction as an unnecessary angry behavioral response to a well-established system I created myself.
I realized that I was not reacting intelligently to it; I was just satisfying my furious nerves.
As soon as I found out that I was wasting my energy without obtaining any considerable results, I started to look up books that speak about habits and found James Clear’s, which was my companion through this journey.
It is not just about buying many fruits and vegetables every now and then but transforming my diet into a system, in which fruits and vegetables are considered an essential part of my life. That means,
1) I had to start identifying myself with fruits and vegetables
2) I needed to stop referring to myself as an addict
3) And stop speaking about my addiction as if it were something I had to try to get rid of, rather than just get rid of it step by step
4) I needed to affirm, rather than just wish or hope
5) And take some effective actions as well
“All big things come from small beginnings. The seed of every habit is a single, tiny decision. But as that decision is repeated, a habit sprouts and grows stronger. […] The task of breaking a bad habit is like uprooting a powerful oak within us. And the task of building a good habit is like cultivating a delicate flower one day at a time.” ― James Clear
It is harder to stop a bad habit than to cultivate new ones…I was always busy doing many activities and never had enough food in my house. And when I got hungry, I had to rush to the supermarket or a restaurant nearby and buy what is easiest to pick, and more often what I am fond of. Under this circumstance, it would be always difficult to change my habits.
While I must weigh most fruits and check if they are eatable before buying them, usually I just pick a packet of chocolate without any second thought.
I have already eaten most types of chocolate and know for sure they taste well; they are easy to pick in the supermarket and don’t need to be cooked before eating. The industry of sugary foods has created a very comfortable place for me to stick.
Let’s be clear we all are lazy sometimes (most often I am). I am just a slave of my habits, cultivating new ones can be hard, but sticking to past ones ―even when they are toxic― seems like an inevitable pathway.
It is not because buying fruits and vegetables is a difficult task per se, but because I don’t take time to establish a system, in which foods should be bought on a regular basis and not exactly before my eating times when I am most likely inclined to buy without preparing any list or having any reasoning.
This month, I have started to go shopping only every Saturday and program my everyday foods right after I buy the foods. And the results are spectacular.
Now I don’t have to think about what to buy every day, because I have already done a calendar with every detail. I practically eat fruits and vegetables each day, and I haven’t eaten any chocolate during these two weeks I have been experimenting this new challenge.
I realized that changing my diet was not supposed to be time-consuming, nor should it be a burden. I just needed to create a system, in which my brain could learn other habits.
Did you have any bad habit that you have recently removed from your life, please let us know what strategy you have used. Do you think it is an effective one? Why?
*Originally published on Medium:
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Very well written. Keep up the good work!
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