Which fork? The right or the left?

You will have to excuse the slight pun in the title, however I was asked a question today that had me thinking about making the right choices. My analogy being a path, where one choice may lead to a cliff and the other one to safety.

The question was, “How do you not eat bread and desserts and chips or ice cream?” The answer is complicated. I do not possess some inborn characteristic that simply tells me not to eat these things. In point of fact, I love all of them. Do I like French fries? Of course. However, over time, I have simply learned that if I indulge in these, and many other non-essential foods, I gain weight. When I gain weight, I feel terrible, both psychologically and physically. My knees hurt, my back hurts, my energy wanes and so on. Worse, my blood sugar climbs. I’ve watched my father and uncle and cousins suffer the ravages of diabetes. Beyond that, I want to be able to keep moving and doing things like kayaking, swimming, running, and playing with my grandson, to a very old age.

In psychological terms, this might be called behaviour modification. None of my avoidance of certain foods happened overnight. I kept working on my inner self, and how I wanted to feel and look; how I wanted to be able to think and move as I got older.

Thus, over time, my will to be active and somewhat flexible, and avoid diabetes, outweighs any immediate gratification I might get from these foods. This mindset takes time. It takes daily thinking about how you want to feel, how you want to look and what is important for your life.

My counsellors and I strive to help people find (at times, regain) insight into how they want to feel and look, because life always gets in the way. Unexpected events occur, stress is common, and these things deplete our dopamine and we reach for food, forgetting what the effects of that food have on our health. It is very easy, and normal, to get off track, and it is important that we get back on track as quickly as possible. This can be done only be looking inwards at the person you want to be. No guilt. Just trying to stay focused on staying healthy no matter what the circumstances, and learning to simply avoid the sugars and carbohydrates, which are non-essential foods for health.

Write down what is important for you. Look at it daily. Think about it often. Once it becomes fully ‘ingrained’ in your psyche, I’m sure the path you choose will not be the one that heads to the cliff, but the one that brings you home to safety (health).

Never ever give up. You can do it!

Dr. Doug www.drbishop.ca