The Mind
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Weight  is
more
than FOOD

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&
 
Exercise"


DORCAS C. CHANDLER

 

C.H.O.I.C.E.
  Choosing

Health

Over

Impulsive

Crave

Eating

Dorcas C. Chandler

 
   "Empower, Motivate and Stimulate a Healthy Lifestyle Change"

                   

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Michelle ADAMS

 

"We invite you to participate and submit a word related to choice/s."

Email Michelle Your Answer/s!

michelle@dorcasgazelle.com


 The Choices We Make

Michelle Adams
 

PAGE 1= A-H | PAGE= 2 I-Q | PAGE = 3 R-Z

PAGE 1 OF 2

 

“A – Accountability”

It seems impossible to count how many choices each individual makes a day, maybe even within an hour.  Just the decision to count choices is a choice itself, just as reading this article is a choice.  Choices we make impact our lives and sometimes the lives of others.  We can have the best intentions when we choose something and yet the outcome can be devastating.  Making choices can be empowering or debilitating, exciting or frightening yet regardless of which end of the spectrum we continually make them. For a word that only consist of six letters, “choice” and terms inferred by it span the dictionary. 

In this series we will use the dictionary from A-Z and look at the effects and consequences of “choice/s”.  Bi-weekly we will post a submission related to choice/s. 

We invite you to participate and submit a word related to choice/s. 

“A = Accountability”

Choice and choosing equals accountability.  As individuals when we make a choice we become accountable for what we chose. A friend of mines became tired of going to work daily.  She chose to take a few days off by calling in sick.  When she returned to work after three days her employer asked for a release form from her doctor.  Needless to say she did not have one.  Her employer wrote her up which resulted in a disciplinary note in her employee file.  How angry my friend was – all she wanted was some time off work.  Her employer held her accountable for her choice.

Reflect back on your life, your month, your day, or even your last few hours.  Look at your choices and your accountability.  Did you choose to give a friend a ride?  Then you are accountable to them to show up.  Did you choose to work or go to school?  Then you are accountable to their requirements.  Did you choose to get a driver’s license?  Then you are accountable to the state and the rules that govern driving. Did you choose to get married, have a family, date, or have friends?  For each of these options you are accountable to someone else because of your choice. 

Although being accountable to others is important – it is vital to look at the choices you make that make you accountable to yourself.  Did you make the choice to eat healthier, to exercise, to strengthen your relationships with family and/or friends, or to put your needs before the needs of others?  Being accountable to ourselves and prioritizing ourselves is important.  How accountable are you to yourself?  Do you follow through with things you chose for yourself or do you only feel accountable to things related to others?  Let me encourage you to be accountable to yourself.  Make choices that empower and support you. 

Choose to set aside time for you and engage in things that support your health and happiness.  Maybe it’s eating a salad instead of a piece of desert, maybe it’s doing five squats instead of sitting through the commercial, maybe it’s standing outside in the sun instead of sitting in the house, maybe it’s meditating instead of talking on the phone.  Make a choice and then hold yourself accountable to yourself.  If necessary, keep a log book of your choices and when you achieve them.  Reward yourself for following through.  For you are the most important person in this process

Spotlight


“In the end that was the choice you made, and it doesn't matter how hard it was to make it. It matters that you did.”
 

 Cassandra Clare, City of Glass
 

“B = Benefit, Boundaries, Burden”

Choice and choosing quickly made me think of three words starting with B and I wanted to mention them all.  There are Benefits to us making a choice, the benefit is that we are the ones behind the decision.  Using our own power and will for our life we get to choose.  This means we can set the Boundaries for that choice.  Boundaries can include things like who else we want to be a part of our process, how much we are willing to share and how much we are willing to commit to it ourselves.  But when we make a choice we also have the Burden.  The burden of the consequences when we do something different or continue our current behaviors.   

Personally I decided two months ago to “choose me”.  That means I decided I wanted to eat healthier, exercise, and lose weight. I had the benefit of making that choice myself.  Next I set up the guidelines or boundaries for the process.  I decided what days I would work-out and who I would tell about my choice so they could emotionally support me.  I set my boundaries for the gym on how hard I will exercise and the minimum amount of time I would spend on cardio and/or lifting weights.  When I go to the market I really use my boundaries, what will I buy, and yes that soda and donuts are calling me!  For eating I set my boundary allowing myself two days where I can, with moderation, eat something sweet or drink a soda.  My burden is that I am pushing myself to exercise and forcing myself to eat healthy.  My burden is being accountable to the people that I included in my process.  My burden is giving up time in front of my television to walk the treadmill.  My burden is denying myself instant gratification of sugary foods for a long term goal of becoming healthier. 

Our choices can be different.  Some people for weight loss choose to eat their same foods just half of their usual amount.  Some choose to remove carbs from their diet, some only drink water.  Whatever you decide, when you choose remember the B words.  Look for the benefit, boundaries, and burden and make your choice.  Choose what you believe will work for you.   

"C = Courage & Consequences"

It takes courage to make a choice.  Courage because when you choose you make a declaration to yourself and sometimes to others that state your intention.  This means you “put yourself out there” which can feel good when you first make the choice, but what if things do not go the way you planned?  That leads to consequences – choosing has consequences.  When I declared to my family that I would lose enough weight by my birthday so I could get a naval ring they laughed.  I was committed and I stuck to my choice.  For the first few weeks I was motivated, then I started to get back into my old habits.  Needless to say my birthday came and I hadn’t lost any weight and I did not get a naval ring.  My consequence – to myself I failed to reach my goal, to my family they asked “what about that weight loss and naval ring?”  It did not feel good to have to admit that I had not followed through.  I had the courage to make the choice and even declare it, then I had to face the consequences.  Knowing that there are consequences should not stop us from having the courage to make choices.  There are times we will be able to achieve our goals and times we will miss our mark.  Yet ask yourself this “who better to make a choice for me….then me?”  And know that you are strong enough to work through the consequences of your choices.

"D = Decisions & Disappointment"

Choices and choosing equals decision making.  This starts from the moment we awake.  We have all heard it said that we can decide what kind of day we will have based on our perception.  If you wake up and think “today is going to be a great day” that doesn’t mean you will not have challenges that day, but it does mean that the attitude you meet them with is positive.  For some of us visiting a grocery store requires us to make a lot of decisions.  When I see the produce section I know what I need to get, yet somehow I become more interested in the section with the chips and soda.  Decisions… when I am focused I make better decisions – I know that if I put the unhealthy food in my house I will at some point eat it, so I bypass it.  When my decision making is clouded, especially with the days’ stress or something I’m unhappy about – I make my way to the chips and soda.  Later when I physically feel my bodies response to what I ate i.e. my feet are swelling from the salt, my stomach aches from eating too much, or the sugar in my system is affecting me – then I experience disappointment.  I am disappointed that I did not make a better decision.  When we choose it is good before making the decision to think ahead and look at the possible consequences, this could help us from suffering some disappointments.

"E = Empowerment"

Choosing is empowerment.  In “Courage and Consequences” we asked who better to make a choice for you than you?  That’s empowerment, that you make the choice.  When others make our choices for us then we live by default – we are actually living their life and not our own.  When we make the choice we are living the path that we select.  When you are empowered you can accept your successes and your failures knowing that you put the plan together and you worked your plan.  This doesn’t mean that we will not invite others to participate – but even in us inviting them we are choosing, we are empowered.  Empowerment is talking to your doctor and asking questions, it is taking time for yourself to honor yourself, it is operating from the knowledge that you have your best interest at heart and you will work hard for you. 
 

"F = Faith & Failure"

Choosing – actively choosing to do something that requires you to stretch yourself, to do something different means to put faith in yourself.  Faith that you will have the will power to stick with it, faith that you will and can break the cycle you have been in.  This can be a little scary because there is a part of us that wonders “what if I fail?” 

Failure is thought of as negative.  Yet it just means that something we tried did not work.  Failure is actually an opportunity for us to try again.  When we try and aren’t successful or we fail, we get to learn what worked and what did not work.  We gain perspective.  Failure should never mean that we lose faith in ourselves or what we want to achieve.  Failure may teach us that we have to try another method, push a little harder, deny ourselves something, or even reach out for support.  In making a choice – both faith and failure are important parts of our journey. 

"G = Goodbye, Grief, and Gentle"

Making a choice means saying “goodbye” to something.  When I chose to drink more water, I vowed to say goodbye to the four daily glasses of kool-aide that I love so much.  Saying goodbye can be difficult especially when it’s to something that we like to do and are accustomed to doing.  Saying goodbye is not only something done in word, it also requires action.  When I said goodbye to my four daily glasses of kool-aide I actively started drinking water.

If you are a person who does not do well with change then saying goodbye will be even more difficult for you.  There is an amount of grief that comes with saying goodbye.  We are losing something and there is a sadness we feel.  Sadness?  Why would anyone be sad about giving up something that’s not good for them?  Why not?  If it’s something that you are accustomed to and comfortable with you can feel just as sad as giving up anything that you cherish.  Regardless of how easy it may sound in a television commercial – changing a habit by giving up something is hard and we can grieve for it.

So, be gentle with yourself.  Don’t beat yourself up for not being able to completely give things up in a day, a week, a month, or even longer.  Be gentle with yourself – celebrate the one hour, the one minute, or whatever time you did successfully say goodbye.  Be gentle with yourself and know that for whatever change you are focused on making; cooking healthy, eating, exercising, or anything else that is different from what you were doing – it took years to develop the habit and it may take a while to change it.  Be gentle and know that it doesn’t mean that you aren’t strong or committed – it means that you are human.  

"H = Honest, Hurt & Help"

When we make a choice, it is best for us to be honest with ourselves.  Honest about what has gotten us to the place we are at and what is required to get us to the place we want to reach.  That honesty is not always easy.  It can require what feels like tearing ourselves down.  When I looked at why I am overweight I had to honestly say it’s in part because I did not eat correctly or work out.  I enjoyed my sweet foods and sitting on the couch.  I used being tired, busy, and stressed as my reason for not exercising.  I said I didn’t have time to do better.  But the truth is – I could have eaten better and worked out.  The truth is I did not do what was best for me.

Being honest can hurt.  It hurts to tell myself that I am here because of me.  Yes, for some there are so many other factors, i.e. thyroid issues, medical issues, etc., but what about when it’s due to the choices we have made?  It hurts to look at myself and admit that eating a row of cookies helped me get here.  It hurts to admit that I did not choose my health enough to workout at least just 15 minutes a day.  It hurts to know that I know what I need to do but I lack the motivation to do it.  And then to hide the hurt – even from myself – I eat. 

Choosing can require help.  Reaching out to someone else to say “I need help.”  This can be a doctor, a family member, or a friend.  It’s admitting that we are people and we all need someone.  Maybe it’s someone we talk to on the phone and we encourage one another or hold one another accountable to our goals.  Maybe it’s someone we can walk with or workout with.  Maybe it’s just someone to hear our truth and not judge us but say “I love you, and I’m here for you.”

H – is one of the hard ones for choices.  This honesty, hurt, and reaching out for help all go to our human core.  Yet hopefully our ability to be humble in our effort to get healthy will help us embrace all three (honesty, hurt, and help) so we can make better choices for ourselves.
 

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