An extremely important component in learning about your individual health needs and getting to know how your mind and body works; is becoming your own healthcare advocate. You can read it here.
I’ve written about my thoughts on why it is so difficult to be and stay healthy. You can read it here. I’m expanding on each of the eight points I made, because I have a lot to say. What I write about, comes from my own personal experiences and observations. As individuals–our health–needs to be approached as such.
#1 Television ads of fast food, cereals, snack bars, etc., entice us with the happy looking, healthy looking, slim and fit looking couple or family; who of course, have the perfect relationships and the happiest of lives. This is wonderful! Don’t we all want that? So lets buy that food, and then we will be happy forever. They convince us that food has a therapeutic value, and yes it does. However, there are many other healthier options for providing therapy, that don’t lead us to more therapy. You will also see how quick and easy it is to cook a meal from scratch, should only take thirty seconds, yes? Turn it off. Have limits on how much you watch per day. Make sure you’ve eaten a healthy meal before you zone out or you will be participating in a little something called ‘unconscious eating’; that hard to break habit of force feeding yourself some sugary or salty snack.
Most of us experience desire; thinner, taller, more tanned, more blonde, a hairless body, whiter teeth, nicer clothes, faster car, more friends, more time. Whatever it may be, it causes fluctuations in our reality. If we are not at a stage in life where we can put those ideas into perspective, decide on some goals, and work towards them in a healthy manner; then we will be caught up in the vicious cycle of believing everything we are told, and blaming all our misfortunes on everyone and everything but ourselves.
Television ads reach out and touch us in those vulnerable spots, seemingly at just the right moment we need them to. They can help where we have failed ourselves. Whatever our desires, our mind will seek out those ads, or moments in them, that relate to us. Ads want to sell us something, and they are very good at it. Manipulation of our weaker selves, is what they do, in order to make money.
Speaking of food related commercials, aren’t those modern kitchens beautiful? The sharpest knives, the gleaming pots, the latest appliances; just what we want. I know that healthier foods would be prepared in a kitchen like that. Don’t have it, so can’t do it, so won’t do it. We feel a little defeated. Then come the ads about fast food restaurants, microwave food, and snacks. There is no longer the inclination, because there is no dream kitchen, to spend the time on our health. Even though it is a pathetic excuse, a little piece of us feels sorry for ourselves, and that grows into a bigger piece each time we view an ad that has anything to do with health, body image, beauty, weight, etc.
There is only one way to stop the cycle. Turn the television off, especially during mealtimes. We watch far too much of it anyways and then leave it on in the background no matter what our activity. It burrows into our brains. It becomes the norm, to never be by yourself. I don’t watch much traditional T.V. anymore. Most of what I watch is on my laptop and commercial free, but if my mood is a bit down, even the shows can affect me. I begin longing for what I don’t have.
Having a strategy in place for when you are in need is important. This works for me.
At least one meal a day should be spent with yourself. No T.V., no book, no magazine, and no phone. Nice music is okay and can be uplifting and encouraging. Use your good china and set a place at the table. Give yourself that gift, the time to just eat your meal. Focus on what you’ve prepared, taste it, enjoy the sensation that doesn’t happen when you are otherwise engaged with the T.V. Start by giving one meal a week, your full attention. See if you can come up with something healthy, and by all means share it with a partner, or with your family, and join in on some conversation. You know, talking to real people can be good fun. One small step at a time.
Denial is such a great option in your arsenal of tools, especially if you share your space with someone else. If you live alone…well, denial may not work as well. How do you end up with so many empty chip bags, ice-cream cartons, chocolate bar wrappers? How do those snacks disappear so quickly? It is always nice to have a delicious snack at hand while you watch a movie or your favourite T.V. show. Instead of bringing the entire bag to the couch, grab a bowl and put one serving size in it–the serving size is on the package. Then close up the bag or the box properly, and put it away. Take your bowl with you to the couch. You might be less likely to want more because now you have to get up to get it. Laziness will work in your favour here. Regardless of how many times you do get up, keep dishing out only one serving at a time. After a while, you will notice a change in your behaviour, and the need to have more, will be less.
There are lots of people who can do this without even thinking, but for those of us stuck in a rut, this is a start that will have you feeling a little more in control. Keep starting over how ever many times you need to.
Any other suggestions? Comments are welcomed and encouraged!