For years, I haven’t felt the need to deal with my weight. I’m tall, and that gave me a sense of, well, not thin, but certainly not obese, though my BMI would have told me otherwise if I had just paid attention. Plus, my diet wasn’t so bad in China. Lots of vegetables, rice and meat. Frequent vegetarian meals. Not much junk. China has very few desserts that appeal to me, plus I walked a lot, and even started to run. But being back in America, away from my loving and appreciative husband who ignores my big belly, and being suddenly surrounded by people bigger than me, people who remind me of the passengers on the space cruiser in Disney’s WALL-E, has given me a wake-up call.
The United Suck-holes of All-You-Can-Eat
Did ya’ll know you are constantly surrounded by junk? It’s absolutely everywhere. I know you hear this all the time. But pay attention the next time you go to the grocery store. I mean REALLY pay attention. One corner of the store is devoted to fresh foods. The rest is processed crap, with the exception of a few small sections grains and dairy products. I’m sure it’s not that different in China, but when the potato chip aisle only has banana, blueberry and barbecue chicken-flavored options, you tend to ignore them more. I am currently blessed with eyes that see. I see stuff that I used to just grab because I felt like it: Doritos, Pop-tarts, frozen pizza and pastas. Cookies, crackers, soda and every kind of meal you could want just waiting for you to pop into your microwave, complete with high-glycemic, high fat, high salt and lots o’ chemicals. And the messages on TV are constant: “You should be hungry right now. You should eat something. Why not try our brand of crap? Please ignore that craving for a good, long drink of water. And please, don’t get up for anything other than getting a snack. Don’t take a walk. Don’t go to the gym or for a run. And please, don’t turn off the TV!”
If the TV isn’t on, don’t worry. There are billboards, radio ads, and built-in bad habits to keep you going for more.
Really. This is the trap of this country. And now, for a possibly a narrow window of time, I can see it for what it is. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been sucked in. I have had Doritos. And pop-tarts. And, oh my gosh, America knows desserts! It has to STOP! Before I go completely blind, get even fatter, and start on this self-hatred loop of dieting and “falling off the wagon”.
So. “Amalia on Purpose” means I am building a more purposeful life-style, one that chooses optimum health over instant gratification. God, that’s hard! Getting exactly what you want when you want it such habit, and so completely encouraged everywhere here. But there is a space between when my body says, “Oooh, yes! Dunkin Donuts! It’s been too long, my darling!” and actually making the car turn in that direction. In that space I have a choice to make. What do I want more? Spiritual and physical health and strength, or that coffee roll? Right now, and hopefully for the rest of my life, the answer is the former. If I am conscious, I make the right choice.
The Clincher: Consciousness
Yesterday, because of poor planning, I had no food with me after my daughter’s oral surgery. I was starved, and I was an hour away from home. She couldn’t go in a store with me in her state, so my “only” option was a drive-through. She needed her pain meds as soon as we got home, and eating a salad while driving is not an option, so…you know the rest of the story. Fat, fat and more fat. Plus some sugar, because, oh my gosh, I can get Dr. Pepper in this country! Woo hoo! Consciousness was lacking in the morning before I left, the night before when I could have packed a more healthy lunch and snack, and in that moment, when I could have chosen a more healthy option than the “Son of the Baconator”.
Consciousness is essentially about the choices we make: what do we choose to do, and how do we choose to respond to the consequences of those actions. What do I really want? If I take time to become conscious, it becomes much more clear to me. Why, then, do I wait, or hesitate, or ignore the choice to move towards what I want? Do I need permission? Do I need to feel I deserve what I want? Do I have to be perfectly ready, or in exactly the right time and place? Or is it just bad habits? In other words, being on automatic pilot…being unconscious.
How do we cultivate consciousness over automatic habit?
What do you do to cultivate consciousness? How do you think cultivating more consciousness would affect your life? Your community? The country and the world?