Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner.
One would think these are the only food choices we make. That’s why I was intrigued to learn from Dr. Albers that we make over 250 food choices each day.
Coffee – black? cream? sugar? in my favorite blue ceramic mug? to-go thermos? Ben’s Stanley?
Breakfast cereal (which?)? with almond milk? fat-free milk?
Or oatmeal? brown sugar? maple syrup? walnuts? raisins? milk? apple? banana? frozen blueberries?
All these choices invade my thoughts, and I haven’t even climbed out of bed yet! Okay, so the research from Cornell is probably true – but 250+ food choices a day? WOW.
Yesterday I was listening to a news interview with a guy who was wrongfully accused of murder and spent 10 years in prison. This week he was acquitted and released. He was explaining the luxuries of making his own decisions – like having a variety of things to eat instead of whatever is served cafeteria-style that day. It makes me appreciate how fortunate I am to have 250+ daunting choices to make each day.
I take comfort in routine and know I make my best food choices when I have a plan. So many of my food decisions are made on Monday nights when I make my meal plans for the week. To you it may seem boring, mundane. To me it means control, satisfaction and security. And I know I can build flexibility within the basic framework.
Dr. Albers’ info sheet on “How Do You Decide What to Eat?” was interesting to me. I never gave much thought to the process of making food decisions until now. I guess I’d conclude that the majority of my foods are PLANNED from HABIT (for example: I often eat the same foods on Tuesdays because of my routine – with the exception of dinner, which varies. But this plan is comforting and satisfying to me, and keeps me on track).
I have also observed over the years with my Weight Watchers Members and now my Health Coaching clients that those who take the time to plan ahead (and stick to the plan) are most successful in their healthy pursuits. It’s always an added challenge to counsel those who don’t have skills or desire to plan ahead, and make consistent choices. But it can be done – with tenacity, dedication, support and encouragement – folks can make a healthy lifestyle of turning off the autopilot decisions or feeling ‘victim’ to careless food options. Instead, consider making and owning your decisions – one thought at a time – and take the opportunity to make a mindful choice – as Dr. Albers advises.
I also find it helpful to pause and ask myself “is this bite taking me closer to my healthy goals, or further away from them?”. This can be a powerful (and empowering) thought too.
The future is yours to decide. Go to it – one bite at a time!