I had an experience that got me thinking about a few things. This past weekend I found myself re-inspired when it came to my Project Self initiative. I went clothes shopping, and it’s been so long since my last shopping experience that I had forgotten how motivating it could be (in more ways than one).
Shopping for a new wardrobe after a successful spree in healthy initiatives can inspire you to keep going. It can help you to see the results of your labor, especially when you can finally fit into those jeans you’ve been eying for months.
Unfortunately, my shopping experience motivated me in a very different way.
As I browsed through racks-and-racks of clothing it was almost painful to see what limited selection I had. What was even more frustrating was seeing (what seemed to be) the endless selection of very cute clothing available in the sizes that I used to wear. Let's just say, it was a very long walk over to the plus-sized section.
Ugh! More baggy shirts and stretchy paints…check, and check.
Regardless of how this experience motivated me, it motivated me still the same—and if there’s one thing I’ve already learned from this experience it’s how valuable it is to ride any waive of motivation that comes my way.
After going clothes shopping my next stop was the grocery store where I tried a new method of grocery shopping some co-workers had told me about. It’s called shopping the perimeter, which basically means you avoid the central isles as much as possible (because that’s where all of the pre-packaged foods are). The idea is that shopping the perimeter of the store should leave your cart filled with fruits and vegetables, breads, dairy, and meats. Items that oddly enough resemble what you see in a little thing we call the Food Pyramid. Crazy, right? Who’da thunk?
It’s probably not a new concept to many of you, but for me this was a first.
By the end of my shopping spree I had peaches, two different types of grapes, bananas, two different types of salad-greens mixes, wheat bread, milk, a few snack options from the organic section (yeah, for real, I went in the organic section!), some sliced chicken sandwich meat, black beans, and two gallons of drinking water. I spent more than I probably should have, but I just really wanted to stock my fridge with good, healthy options for once.
As a result of all of this, a few cool things happened…
First, on Sunday night I prepared my meals for Monday, and got everything ready for easy preparation the rest of the week. This is unheard of for me! Typically, workdays consist of skipping breakfast, going to a café for lunch, and then getting home at 6 pm as a starving, ravenous beast looking for its next kill (aka, whatever’s in the fridge). But this week has been different. This week, I’ve brought my lunch each day, as well as breakfast and some healthy snacks to tide over my hunger throughout the day.
The second thing that happened was that I suddenly did not feel as tempted by fast-food options. I noticed this first thing on Monday when the thought of swinging through Wendy’s for a breakfast combo crossed through my mind. Instead of giving in to the convenience that this thought presented, my mind actually talked myself out of the decision by saying, you made all of that food last night and you’re going to eat it!
I even noticed this happening again on my way home that night. Because I had specifically eaten a granola bar right before I jumped in the car, I didn’t even look at any of the food options I passed en-route, and I wasn’t a starving beast by the time I got home. It was crazy!
I ate a salad for dinner, and it wasn’t until about 8:30 that I started to get hungry again…and that’s when the third thing happened.
Since my first Hello/Goodbye challenge (first and only, haha) I’ve been trying not to eat anything after 8 pm. It’s not something I’ve been perfect at, but overall I’ve done pretty good with it. Monday was one of those nights that I broke the rules and gave in to a snack after 8 pm…but, the thing I noticed was that I didn’t really have anything on hand to snack on other than the items I had bought on my perimeter shop. This left me with a skim selection of snack options, all of which were pretty healthy.
I wound up chomping down on a bowl of grapes. Not a perfect solution, but better than ice-cream, so I’ll take it.
These behaviors baffled me (that tells you exactly how rare it is that I make good choices rather than bad), which got me wondering what it was that led to such an instant, and noticeable change.
What came to my mind was that I had invested in the actions that I took throughout the day long before I ever encountered them. I invested my time into going grocery shopping to stock up on healthier options, which helped me when I was hungry at night and left only with fruit. I invested more time into prepping my meals for the day, which actually made me want to pass up convenient fast-food for the meals I had prepared.
As I post this, I can honestly look back at my progress this week with some pride--and it's a really good feeling! It's already Thursday, and I haven't been to a single drive-through this week!
It just goes to show that investing in yourself can have a really positive impact on the way you approach your goals.
Perhaps now I need to invest in a good pair of gym shoes to get me fired up about exercise. Hmmm....what do you think?