|Look Ma, no handrails|
I Already Know What That Tastes Like
Three years ago, when I first set out on this journey of wellness, I learned a great deal about why some succeed and others don’t. One of my most mind-bending observations was made when I saw that willpower was not the real issue in the struggle to be well. I had been force-fed this logic for so long that I assumed it was correct. I came to see rather clearly that people who are fat, sick or physically challenged have more will than everyone else because we have to will ourselves to live in a world that is not tolerant of our differences.
I began to think about the whole will power thing in a very different light. I believe that preparation is much more powerful than will power. When you think of Michael Jordan, something I try to do often, you may recall that he was one of the best basketball players to ever step foot on the court. He wasn’t the tallest, or fittest, nor was he the most talented. Mr. Jordan didn’t mentally will himself to score, he did something much less dramatic; Michael Jordan practiced and practiced and practiced. He arrived earlier than team mates and opponents and he practiced. He practiced something that he was already great at and he practiced some more---are you starting to see a trend? Michael Jordan prepared for every game as if he had never played it before, because in truth, he had not. Every game was a different game.
Every day, I set out to be better than I was the day before, as a parent, writer, sociologist, mother, a friend and at being me. I prepare for the day as if I’ve never done it before, because in fact, I have not.
I have learned to eat small meals throughout the day. I drink lots of water and I exercise in small intervals. I don’t exercise over 30 minutes at a time and I don’t do anything too rigorous. I have found that when I do, I need more fuel and I usually grab whatever is available. So I keep the fuel I need with me and I eat and manage my appetite the same way a nurse manages pain; she monitors it before it’s out of control. Sometimes though, the cultural and social pressures of eating rush in like Larry Bird (you youngsters might have to use a search engine.) As prepared as you might be the stress of life, memories of the past and a HOT NOW sign in a doughnut shop window may block your best drive. It’s moments like this when I remind myself of a most simple truth; I already know what that tastes like.
There have been times when I am tempted by a cherry pie (Hi Nancy) or a slice of birthday cake but most often it’s popcorn. I am a popcorn-aholic. And although I have not gorged myself on popcorn in years, I am still in recovery; once a corn-aholic, always a corn-aholic. You may be wondering why the fuss over popcorn? Well, I don’t want to take up your time with all of the details so I will just say that what we are addicted to, we are often allergic to.
When I told myself that I know what that tastes like, I kept on talking and I told myself that I had had enough popcorn for a lifetime. I knew what popcorn tasted like but I didn’t know what a pair of jeans felt like. I knew what French fries tasted like but I didn’t know what it felt like to run up the steps or to just walk up without holding the handrail.
I kept practicing and telling myself every day as if I’d never done it before and now I know what it feels like to run up my steps in a pair of jeans without the handrail.
When I found this method to work on food, I applied it to other areas of life. I know what a bad relationship tastes like, I know what a one-sided friendship tastes like and I know what it tastes like to be taken for granted. I can walk away from things that are not a part of the journey I am on.
I know what it tastes like to be unbalanced and I prefer balance.
· What have you had enough of?
· How can you prepare yourself for this game of life?
· Make a list of the things you would like to do this year. When you do look at the list and then close your eyes and imagine yourself doing them.
Be prepared, Be You, Be Well.
Bertice Berry, PhD