Habits

My routine is pretty set at the airport.  I go through Security and head straight to the book shop.  It is getting increasingly difficult to buy something I don’t already have.  On my last trip, a lone book in the Bestsellers section caught my eye, ‘The Power of Habit’ by Charles Duhigg.  As I paid for it the cashier commented, she had just ordered more books as this one “just flew out the door”.  As I read it, I hoped the book impacts others in a positive way as it seems to have done for me, in a few short days.

I don’t believe in coincidences.  I believe everything happens for a reason.  We may not know why, how or where.  But, there is purpose in every interaction.  While waiting for the flight, delayed yet again, as I put away my book, someone near me took the opportunity to strike up a conversation telling me the details of her visit to the city.  More than 12 years younger than me, a few kilos lighter and no risk factors in her life or family history, she had recently suffered a heart attack.  Her doctors told her the only thing missing in her lifestyle was exercise.  She is busy with family and community, she stated, so she drives everywhere.  I took note.  Like I said, there are no coincidences in life.  She, together with the book, I believe, changed mine over a few days, and will continue to change mine in the days to come.

I have been living under the misconception, I eat healthy.  I don’t buy cakes, muffins or biscuits for the home.  I only eat them if I bake them myself.  The only time I buy butter is when I bake.  I don’t buy sugared boxed cereals.  I rarely buy bread.  I eat bacon very rarely.  It’s been more than 25 years since I ate junk food chicken and have no intention to eating it any time soon.  I rarely eat pizza or hamburgers.  A novelty in town, I ate a Krispy Kreme doughnut two years ago.  I try and eat ‘oily’ fish (salmon, sardines) at least twice a week.  But, when I reflect, I am cued by my environment when I’m not home and without realising it, I have developed unhealthy habits.  At a hotel where breakfast is included I eat toast with butter and marmalade, I eat tinned fruit, boxed cereal.  All the foods I don’t ordinarily eat … just because I anticipate a busy day with no breaks.  I eat a packet of potato chips on the flight (something I never buy).  Staying away from fish or chicken when I travel, I eat steak at least ten times a month.  There is no way around it.  My diet is unhealthy.  So when cued, I made a choice.  A conscious choice to change a habit and doing so I found, by lunch time I consumed over 600 calories less than I normally would have in a day and I was not hungry.  If I kept this up, over a year, it is close to 100,000 calories less than I would have eaten.  And, that is just a change in breakfast and midmorning snack!

With the surprising revelation of my unhealthy dietary habits, the challenge now is to find time to fit in exercise.  Wish me luck!

There are no photographs with this post.  Just words.  Because, it is the words of strangers that made a difference in my life.  If you are struggling with similar dilemmas, my wish is that you, too, find a way to enhance your lifestyle and life.

As always

a dawn bird

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