In an effort to demystify what makes living a #ScaleFreeSummer so meaningful, I’m breaking it down into five major components: Consistency and Commitment, Compassion, Pleasure, Mindfulness, and Goal Measurement. One per day. Gotta keep up. (Thankfully, now that I’m free from school duty, I can finally keep up.) Don’t forget to tweet or instagram all your healthy habits using the #ScaleFreeSummer hashtag! Some of your fellow #bgg2wlarmy fam is already filling up the tag with their awesomeness, you should, too!
Somewhere along my journey, I woke up. And, by “woke up,” I mean woke all the way up.
I think it was around the time where I read Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, that I realized how many decisions I make without thinking. In the documentary Killer at Large, there’s a section of the clip where, well, let me quote it:
“If you ask the typical person how many food-related decisions they make in a day, the average person’s gonna say 15.”
“Wansink estimates we make over 200-plus food choices every day. Most of them are influenced by factors that we don’t even notice, like the size of a serving dish or the distance back to the kitchen for a refill.”
“I mean, even just before breakfast, you’re deciding what cereal you want, how much you’re gonna pour, whether to put sugar on it, how much milk you’re gonna put on it, whether you’re gonna have a refill, whether to cut fruit… there’s twelve decisions that are made – BAM! – before you even sit down and have your first bite of the day.”
“People tend to eat based on the size of the package or how much is on their plate; that’s their guide to how much to consume. And, obviously, we’re eating too much.”
The movie then goes on to see Dr. Wansink grabbing an Arby’s value meal in the food court of a mall, explaining the food decisions that go along with the purchase he’s just made:
“This must’ve been an appropriate amount of french fries to eat, or else I wouldn’t have been given this many french fries. I think this is the right size of a meal, or else they wouldn’t have offered it to me.”
Dr. Wansink then holds up what appears to be a 24oz (or 32oz?) soda pop he purchased:
“You know what I love about this? Free refills. Mmmm. To somebody that doesn’t know better, they don’t realize that maybe there’s about 360 calories in this right here…”
Now, we can talk about mindfulness in nutrition all day – which is why Wansink’s book is required reading for the Clean Eating Boot Camp – but I think that we’d be doing the #ScaleFreeSummer a disservice if we didn’t acknowledge all of the non-food related choices we make without giving them careful consideration, as well.
Like, for example, when that early morning alarm goes off. Do we get up – sometimes, angrily – and get on with our day so that we have time to exercise, or do we hit that almighty snooze button…six more times until it’s time to jump out of bed to go to work? On the way home, do we hop off the train at the stop right beneath our gym, or do we just sit there, somberly, only to regret it the entire rest of the ride home? On that end-of-the-day commute, do we make that left turn into the gym parking lot, or do we, instead, make the right turn into the McD’s parking lot?
Do we come prepared with our gym bag fully packed? Do we leave it on our passenger side seat, waiting to guilt us when we get in the car, since we know that we have a hard time getting to the gym after work? Do we set our alarms across the room, with the loudest Major Lazer blaring sky high, to actually force ourselves out of bed?
Mindfulness is, honestly, about setting ourselves up for success. Not just the decisions we make immediately leading up to an action, but the decisions we make in order to prepare ourselves. When I consistently felt inclined to leave my gym bag at home because I couldn’t carry my gym bag and my work bag? I found a bag that allowed me to combine both. When the gym I’d joined – exclusively for the amenities – proved to be too far out of the way once my work and home life had to shift, I had to shift my priorities and change gyms.
Even more, mindfulness is also about making sure that every decision is made carefully – not hastily, carelessly or abruptly, without consideration for the future – so that you’re not only considering what happens when you make a decision, but you’re also considering how to make up for what happens when you make that decision.
If you decide to go to happy hour after work, you think to yourself, “Okay, I’m gonna go and enjoy myself, and then I’ll make sure that I set my alarm and pack my gym back to hit the gym early tomorrow morning.” But then, you think to yourself, “Maybe I’ll just go home, hit the gym real quick, freshen up my makeup, put on a dope dress, and catch the last bit of happy hour looking and feeling flawless, and avoiding sitting around drinking for 2 hours.”
See what I’m getting at? The decisions we make – and how seriously we take those decisions – play an integral part in our ability to enjoy a #ScaleFreeSummer. We need to prepare for our days, and in order to do that, we have to be mindful. All the difference in the world can be made just by giving yourself a little bit of time to think. We don’t give ourselves enough credit – just a few moments to plan out the next few hours can result in epic success, as opposed to a clingy, unfortunate failure. And, quite honestly, I’d much rather go out in style than in tired. Wouldn’t you?