Why do we do what we do, when we know what we know?
“Why do we do what we do, when we know what we know?”
This was one of Dr Libby’s opening lines at her Why am I so tired? event I attended late last year. If I’ve ever had a “light bulb moment” it was then. Apart from wondering how she mentioned just about everything I have thought about myself so quick after beginning her presentation, I wanted to know why this question basically stopped me in my tracks.
Why do we do what we do, when we know what we know? Why? WHY?
Why do I eat the sugar filled cake at a colleagues birthday? Why do I debate with myself all day about exercising in the afternoon? Why do I put tomato sauce on my steak? Why do I eat 82 almonds at morning tea? Why do criticize the weight I squatted yesterday – could I have done more? Why do I care when someone looks me up and down in the street? Why do I think about that chocolate in my desk draw bang on 3pm every day? Why do I struggle to think about nothing but coffee before 10am?
I’m educated, I know about good food – what to eat more of and what to avoid, I know about minimum suggested movement time each week and I know the importance of relaxing and taking time out each day for yourself.
I read articles on inflammation, gluten, paleo diets, clean eating, lower body workouts, matcha, yoga, breast cancer, HIIT workouts and deodorant.
I’m confident in that I will wear what I find comfortable and what suits by body shape. I don't always let fashion dictate what I wear, instead I opt for comfortable affordable clothing, and if I find a pair of shoes that are so comfortable I make them last as long as possible!
I understand that strength and muscle building takes time at the gym, and that my body is incredible for doing the exercises I push it to do.
Yet I still struggle to implement what I know.
Why do I do what I do, when I know what I know?
Is it habit? The fact that we have done something in a certain way for as long as we remember, that no matter how much we want it to change, it won’t.
Is it other people’s thinking rubbing off on to us? Hearing the way others talk to themselves/put themselves down can start to influence us.
Is it convenience or laziness? Having the tomato sauce on my steak because I haven’t made a healthy version to replace the store brought bottle. Why have I not made this healthy swap a priority to implement?
We are simply too focused on stopping something or changing something that we forget to think about a new healthier habit to replace the old habit. The more I want to NOT eat the birthday cake, the more I want to eat it! WHAT?! Instead, I should be focusing on something else I can have. I should feel proud of myself for resisting, and instead eating something nourishing that will fill me up for a lot longer than cake.
It's not always as easy as it may seem to implement healthy choices into your life. Things like a partner, children, pets, family, work, study and friends all have an impact (some bigger than others) on how we spend our time. Some are a lot more demanding and require more attention, while others might stay dormant for a while before you realise you haven't given it as much attention as it might deserve.
Do not beat yourself up about this. Take time to work out what is a priority for YOU. Not anyone else. Not what people tell you you should be doing, not what other people are doing, but what YOU want to do. If you feel like your personal training is doing more damage than good ( yes possible! They aren't always very supportive or have the same goals as you) then try something else. Only you will know if this is the case, and only you can do something about it.
Take small steps to make these changes. They could simply be something like:
- Swapping your morning coffee for green tea two days a week
- Stopping your winter team sport for a year, and instead using the extra time to practice yoga or commit to an hour long walk in the time you might be at training
- Set your alarm half an hour earlier each day to get up and stretch. Follow a youtube stretching guide three mornings a week and see how you feel those mornings
- Limit your take aways to once a week. If this means eating dinner at 8pm more often then so be it - the pros outweigh the cons in this instance