Have you gotten around to reading Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin yet? She wrote The Happiness Project, which I truly enjoyed, and Happier at Home, which I enjoyed slightly less. Better Than Before delves into the science and experience of habits, and I found this book to be exceedingly enlightening. I've been wanting to talk to you about this for the past month, and have just not gotten around to it...
Since I have chosen to really focus on health and wellness this year, I read this book at the perfect time. Rubin contends that habits save time and energy.
|In other words, if waking up and going to boot camp, choosing veggies over popcorn, and water over soda are habits, they eliminate the time and energy that goes into those particular decisions...|
She also says you have to understand your motivation, so that you may determine how you make and break your habits. There are four motivations, dependent upon how you might wish to meet expectations - she calls them the Four Tendencies: Upholder (meets outer and inner expectations,) Questioner (meets inner expectations, questions outer,) Rebel (eschews all expectations,) and Obliger (wants to meet outer expectations, doesn't care about inner expectations.) Guess which one I am.
Heck yeah, I'm an obliger. One time I opened one of those Dove Promises (dark chocolate, duh,) and the wrapper read, "Keep the promises you make to yourself." I really liked that, and kept it as a quote on my computer at work, but my guess is I kept the saying because I knew it would never apply to me. Sadly, I do not keep the promises I make to myself. If I decide I'm going to boot camp in the morning, there's a 50/50 chance I will turn the alarm off and go back to sleep. But if I make plans to meet a friend there, let Mel know I'll be there, or even just put a Facebook message that I will be there, I will freaking show, because someone may be looking for me, and I don't want to let them down. I didn't keep up with the Whole 30 because I promised myself, I kept it up because I was talking to all of you about it. That really helped. And I'm starting another one on Monday, and you all will be coming along for the ride, because, holy crap, did I just fall off and eat all of the things. Back to all my old, stinky, sugary habits.
Which leads me to the next habit fact from Better Than Before that really resonated: people generally identify as moderators or abstainers, and if you are one, the other tactic generally will not work for you.
Let's explore this a bit, shall we? We've all heard the phrase "everything in moderation," right? You can keep something you enjoy, say, ice cream, in the house, have a small serving every few days, and be happy, and not gain weight...if you are a moderator. But then there are those of us for whom a small serving only whets our appetite for more, and the next thing we know, half the container is gone, and we feel like that ice cream may be showing its not-so-delicious self the way out the in-door. That is why, I think, the Whole 30, with all its strict "I could never stick to that" rules, worked for me. I couldn't eat any of the things I tend to binge on, so I didn't even try to moderate, which more than likely would have led to a binge. I abstained. And that worked. It's the same reason I will not get on the computer for 20 minutes, or watch just one show. I am not a moderator, I am an abstainer. Which makes it easy for me to go for months without alcohol, certainly, but very difficult for me to do anything in moderation.
I may have to read this again, so if you choose to read it, please let me know so we can discuss it. You can find out what your tendency is (my tendency is to want to spell tendency, tendancy...) by taking the quiz here. Although, my tendency was so obvious to me, I did not need any quiz.
So. Yup. Starting another Whole 30 on Monday. I may go a bit longer than 30, and then I will (and I promise to all of you) do a slow, steady reintroduction. I lost 18 lbs on that freaking plan, and I gained back more than half. That was a lot of work to undo, and no Pepsi is worth that. So I will be checking in everyday again - hope you all don't mind. My Obliger self needs you...