Ben’s Profile Journey: Bad Habit Busting
Hi, Ben here, and I’m on a mission to not be fat when I turn 42. To do that I’ve partnered with Profile by Sanford and I want to take you with me on my journey.
Something that I knew going into my Profile Journey intellectually, but didn't grasp practicality, was the need to change habits. I had a few deeply seated bad habits that fed my weight gain. Some were reactions to events, like coping mechanism. Others were outgrowths of solutions to other problems.
I worked overnight jobs for many years, both in collage and after. Keeping those hours meant that my body was out of sync with the rest of the world. While I was able to adapt some, my body still wanted to run the way it had evolved to. Plus, there was never the same consistency that comes with a sleep at night/live during the day life. Social and family events still take place at their regular times, often in the middle of your night. The weekends would come and I'd often end up even more sleep deprived because I was trying to be a part of an opposite world.
That odd lifestyle led me to develop some bad eating habits that went from necessary evils to detrimental crutches. The first problem was that I was young. In my 20s and early 30s, I could eat and burn-off 8000 calories in a day. I was either working a physical job, walking all over a college campus, or doing other physical activities. The second problem was that when I worked overnights my body would think that because I wasn't sleeping there must be a crises, so it would demand more calories for the fight or flight it assumed was coming. Because that was how my body was designed to behave. However, I wasn't hunting or gathering, I was stocking shelves at night and raising a baby during the day. There really was no need to eat the equivalent of four full meals every day. Plus, some of those meals would be made up entirely of doughnuts.
But, when the hard work and sacrifice paid off and I made it to a day job, in an office environment, those bad eating habits didn't change much. It was still in my head to start the day by stuffing my gut full of as much as possible. Then throughout the day I was prepared with various snacks and munchies, just in case. However, I didn't need all those calories anymore, and I really didn't notice what I was doing until my clothes started to shrink. On top of that, my body's metabolism change as I got past 35, it started to become a calorie hoarder.
The other really bad habit I developed was so generic I am embarrassed to bring it up: FOMO. Yes, fear of missing out. You see, my parents raised me right: vegetables every night; pop and chips on special occasions; and good snacks like yogurt and fruit. When I struck out on my own at 18, I decided to rebel not by going goth or anything, but by having pop and chips whenever I wanted! Nobody could tell me no! Drive-thru every night? Yes! I wanted to say, "Yea I've been there" in response to every restaurant commercial. Donuts in the break room? Well I better stock-up in case the zombies come this afternoon and these are the last doughnuts ever. Free food? I better eat like my Norse ancestors before a voyage to Greenland. What was different was that those Norse would feast then be on the sea for months. I would feast and then sit at a computer. Oh, and Odin protect any buffet that happened to meet my gaze. I was going to get my money's worth. Was it good? Do I feel sick? Things like that don't matter, just dump the food in my mouth and cover it with cheese sauce.
When I started Profile I had to confront those habits. I was really lazy about eating, and was afraid missing out on something.
Paying attention to what I eat was easier to confront. Profile gives me something I didn't know that I really needed: a list of what and when to eat. I now know what I having for lunch well before lunch time. I'm learning to think more about what I'm doing. It has also taught me that it doesn't take all that much food to power my body each day. I know that if I feel a craving, it's not real hunger and I don't have to eat. I know that I'm getting all my nutrients, everything I need. I've learned to recognize those feelings as something else; maybe I'm thirsty, or a little tired. I know I don't need more food, I need to do something else.
My issues with FOMO have been harder to tackle. But, with the help of my Profile Coach I have learned how to walk past that box of cookies by the coffee pot and not think that I better have some. There will always be cookies, and when I hit my goal weight I can enjoy a couple once in a while (like my parents tried to teach me). That idea is also something that has helped me rewire my thinking. The sooner I hit my goal, the sooner I can reincorporate some of those treats that I enjoy. Plus I am learning that they are TREATS, not main courses. With the tools and education from Profile I am getting better at being better.