Saturday, October 8, 2011

What exactly is a "lifestyle change?"

You've probably heard the following saying many times in your life: "It's not a diet, it's a lifestyle change."

What comes to mind is the idea that not only are you changing what you eat and how much, but you're also exercising.

But as I've discovered over the last 16 months, it's much, much more than that.  You don't get to be 577 pounds without having several serious problems going on around you. But when it comes to changing that lifestyle, here are just a few things I changed that aren't necessarily just diet and exercise.

1.) Your friends. That's right, your friends.  In much the same way that a recovering alcoholic gets rid of their drinking buddies, a food addict has to ditch their "eating buddies."  If all you do with somebody is go out to eat, then that relationship is destructive.  If the people you hang out with have become a bad influence, time for them to go.

2.) Grocery Shopping. If the junk food isn't in your house, you can't eat it. If you swing open your refrigerator and look inside it, what is available? Is it full of crap? If it is, time to throw it all away and fill it with healthy food.  Or the absolute worst, is there nothing in it at all?  Time to start grocery shopping...stat.  As far as eating out in restaurants goes, this is out of control.  It used to be dining out was reserved for special occasions. Now it's turned into 3 and 5 times a week.  I believe in order to change your lifestyle, a large percentage of your food has to come from the grocery store.

3.) Your schedule. This may just be unique to me, but I'll include it anyway.  Part of my cycle of self-destruction included working a night schedule.  I would get off work, then stay up all night watching TV and binging on junk food. By the time I fell asleep at 4 or 5 in the morning, I was stuffed with thousands of calories.  For me, it took switching to an early morning shift to help jump-start my healthy lifestyle change.  It is true what Benjamin Franklin said: "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise."  Except for the wealthy part, all of that has come true for me.

4.) Television. I almost never watch TV anymore. In fact, I've thought of giving it away. What's on TV, anyway?  Non-stop food commercials. I used to watch the Food Network all the time.  But I have discovered that I can't anymore.  Everything they show is one gigantic eating trigger. I used to think I had to watch certain TV shows...that there is no way I could live without the TV.  Turns out I don't need it at all. 

Those are just a few.  So the next time you hear the term "lifestyle change" thrown around, perhaps it will bring to mind more than just diet or exercise.

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