Sunday, December 26, 2010

Value Added.

Here's a concept that's been playing over and over in my head.  Lately, whilst manuevering thru the congested mall full of teenagers (yes, I am crazy, I know) I am subjected to all manner of delectable smells wafting thru the air.....

The food court serves up grilled burgers and pizza....the pretzel place offers cinnamon and butter yeasty demons, and a kiosk I pass taunts me with roasted almonds.  I pass a couple ice cream places, a deli, fried chicken, and frozen cokes at Target. Like a never-ending parade of food porn.
 Let me outline my general line of thinking as I resist temptation:

Me:  Oh my, I'll never be able to withstand indulging in *that*!
Changing Me:  But I don't feel physically hungry, so it would be wasting time and money.  And what would be the value added to my life at this moment?  30 seconds of tasting sugar/salt followed by a sick feeling in my tummy and a "ho hum, oh well"  feeling in my heart.  

I decide the value added wasn't worth it.  Simply a choice.  Instead I choose the value of caring for my body, being gentle with myself, and saving money.    Can't say I still don't indulge in a bit of fantasy regarding what those foods (and I use that term lightly) might taste and feel like in my mouth....but honestly, imagining it is almost as good as actually *doing* it.  Which was an eye opener.

So much of this changing business is about being conscious and living in the present moment.  Auto-pilot is for after you've learned to fly.  I'm still learning to fly, training those synapses in the brain to learn better modes of coping. 

I remember once having to remind myself as I stared at a newly-baked batch of cookie perfection that I could have one or even two of them AFTER I ate a solid dinner with lots of health-giving food.
Again, a simple choice to delay emotional satisfaction, give something healthier a chance to fill the need, and finding it worked.....not that eating those cookies would have been a failure.  It's just that I'm finding if I ask myself "What is the value added" before I eat (or buy) anything, it puts my 'want' in better perspective, halts the compulsiveness of the moment, and let's me breath a bit, get in touch with what's what.  

Here's a funny:  A few years ago, my hubby took my youngest son, then about 4, out shopping.  When my little guy pulled some toy off the shelf and asked if he could get it, my hubby asked him, "Well, how much money do you have saved, and is there something else you can think of that you might want to continue to save for?"  My son replied, "Dad, let's not talk about it, let's just get it."  

Is that the essence of the conversation we adults have in our own heads over our choices?  I'm endeavoring to do things 'on purpose' as much as possible.  Even eating cookies.  I want to be able to always be conscious of the value I'm adding or taking away from my life with the choices I make.   I'd LOVE to get to a place where this becomes so second nature for me, that the very few times I jump before thinking will become the exception instead of the rule.  

There's one other thing.  Being aware forces you to live in the present moment, being present to yourself and those around you.  That's an intimacy I've conveniently let slide from my life.  Some of the most difficult choices I make each day have to do with my kids......what is the value added to THEIR lives or taken away from THEIR lives by my own behavior?  Much of my motivation to get well is my little boys, who need an energetic and positive mama in their present lives.  Wearing smaller size clothes is great, but being able to go sledding or take a bike ride or a hike with them really helps keep me focused on why I'm chancing change.  I have one life.  I don't want to run out of chances. 

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