While traveling for work this week, I started thinking about eating healthy and the decision to do so. To set the stage, I was in my car headed home after a full day of driving, meetings and more driving. When I set out early that morning, I packed with my lunch and snacks for the day. Everything had been eaten out of that cooler except for the baggie of orange, yellow and red bell peppers. Clearly, that was my least favorite thing in the cooler since it was the only thing left. I was hungry though and knew I needed to get the vegetables in. So I ate them. As I was eating them, I started thinking about how if this bag of peppers was really a bag of cookies, I'd be much happier! It would be more fun to eat cookies, they'd satisfy my taste buds more and would be a great "reward" after my long day. A much better ending. After finishing the peppers, I immediately felt amazing. It was like a shot of natural energy was racing through me. I really felt fantastic. I realized I would not have felt the same way if it had been a bag of cookies. In fact, I would have felt the exact opposite. But, in that instant of eating them, they would have TASTED good and been more "fun" to eat. Only that is the whole problem. That "fun" feeling and "good taste" literally last seconds, by the time you finish chewing and it's left the mouth, it's over. No more good taste, no more fun, just the nothingness afterwards - and maybe a stomach ache depending on how much you ate!!
So here is where the thinking started. I wondered... what are strategies that people have to choose the healthy food over the junk food even when they want that instant satisfaction of the bad food? I ask this because as humans, we love that instant gratification and sometimes can't think more long term in that moment. We forget about our health goals and the big picture and immediately start making excuses for why it's okay to eat it in that instant we want a cookie. We want to feel good in the moment. In my mind, if we can stop ourselves before eating the junk, if we can talk ourselves out of it knowing that in the end, we'll feel much better eating the healthy stuff - that is the key! Staying mindful and in the moment... but how do you do it?
What are your strategies for having the ability to make a conscious decision to eat healthy, when maybe all you superficially want is to eat junk? Or everyone else around you is eating junk? How do you get yourself to realize that the end health goals outweigh that temporary good feeling?
Please share to comments. I think this will be a great brain storming session for everyone to pick up good tips from others to help prepare for life outside of the challenge!