Human beings are creatures of habit, and also creatures that strive to be “happy/comfortable/content". Sometimes our routines and behavior are a result of habit. That is, it’s the way we’ve always done it, and not necessarily a choice we make because it will lead to the most optimum outcome. Are these two conditions actually in conflict with each other? When it comes to your health, they might be …
WHAT IS HAPPY?
First, let’s define “happy” for the purpose of this discussion. For some, happy means avoiding negative feelings, such as sadness, anger, or frustration, and they want to be ‘comfortable'. For others happiness is a state of joy and vitality - you know, that extra dopamine rush.
Let’s assume our upbringing has created the ideal scenario. That is, the habits we create throughout life are habits that bring us comfort and joy. Wouldn’t life be grand? We all know it doesn’t work that way. So we go through life creating habits (routines) in every aspect of our life. As long as we stick to our habits we can find comfort in the predictability of the outcome.
What and how we eat is a perfect example. We are raised with a certain notion of food. Some foods we associate with comfort, some with joy, some with nurturing, etc. But if we think about it, for many of us the food habits we created as children were based on someone else’s decisions about what we eat, and too often are not the habits that will be in our best interest to help us live life with joy and vitality at any age.
As we get older, we hang onto our ideas of what foods we like to eat, and if it is convenient, we even hang onto the notion that what we eat is healthy - why else would our parents feed us this way?
Look around you. A lot of what people eat may be comforting/comfortable for them. While it may bring them a certain sense of joy in the short term, too often it may not bring them long term happiness. But why do so many people intellectually know that they are not eating a healthy diet, or foods that will lead them to happiness and vitality, and yet they don't do anything about it?
I don’t have the answer for others, but I can tell you I was a grandmother before I could change what and how I eat. I can also tell you that I was hugely rewarded with so much of my life being changed for the better when I made new choices and new routines around food.
SUBSTITUTING FOODS IS THE EASY PART
People say, I could never give up my potato chips and ice cream, for example, and, It would be too hard to change how I eat. I can tell you that the anticipation is the hard part. Doing it is easy!
We are creatures of habit. Therefore, the hard part is not giving something up; it is abandoning one habit and adopting a better one.
In my book: “Freedom From a Toxic Relationship With Food: A Journey That Will Give You Your Life Back”, I explore these ideas in greater detail and share how my journey to healthy eating worked for me. Spoiler alert: It changed my life for the better in so many ways!
Written by Bobbi Giudicelli - Co-Founder of Read The Ingredients, and author of “Freedom From a Toxic Relationship With Food: A Journey That Will Give You Your Life Back”. Bobbi tells her story that led to her creating the recipes of the Read The Ingredients Superloafs. She is passionate about sharing the gift of a vital, active life at any age.