Are you a slave to routine?

by Lisa on Tuesday: Oct 25, 2011
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I gave myself an off day yesterday. And by “off”, I mean REALLY off. Not only did I skip working out in any way, shape or form, but I ate anything I wanted. I started the morning off with a bagel and cream cheese from the caf at work and followed it up with lunch also from the caf at work. I got a roasted vegetable and hummus wrap, which, while it sounds healthy and probably is, came with a heaping side of pasta salad and I couldn’t help myself when it came to adding a big cookie to my tray for dessert. Dinner didn’t go much better, but at least I ate something from my own kitchen rather than having all 3 meals as takeout. One issue I’ve always had with food, is that when I’m having a bad day, or if I’m upset about something, food makes me feel better. I know this is not a unique situation, but the thing that keeps me coming back to this habit is that it ACTUALLY does make me feel better, before, during and after the meal.

For example, if I’m at work, overwhelmed with an assignment and/or having a fight with someone, I’ll start thinking about ways I might be able to get myself out of whatever funk I’m in, and I start fantasizing about getting a favorite food item from some restaurant or going to see what the cafeteria has for lunch today… and then I’ll start looking forward to it. I don’t think it’s just the act of having food that I like that may or may not be bad for me, but it’s also the idea of: hey, this is going to shake up my routine for the day! Routine can be overwhelmingly hard to deal with sometimes when every single day consists of the same actions, the same foods, the same workouts, same, same, same, same, same. In theory, I do crave some amount of routine in my life, but it seems that whenever I’m in the depths of it, all I want is OUT. Yesterday, the food “freedom” actually did put me in a better mood and gave me more energy. But I know that I ate way more calories than I should have.

This mindset extends beyond food as well. As an example, whenever there is a storm approaching, whether it be snow, thunder, whatever, I always get excited. Why? Because if it’s a big enough storm, it will disrupt the routine. I’ll have a reason not to do something I’ve previously made myself believe I was obligated to do.

I wonder if there’s any way I can find to replace the desire to do something “different” for a meal (i.e. takeout) with just doing something different in my day. A walk? An unscheduled phone call with a friend? I’ll have to think about this some more. Also, I should try and find new foods for myself that are healthy, but that are interesting and different from my current staples. Maybe a trip to Trader Joe’s is in order to take care of this.

The bottom line is: I need to find some new, exciting things to keep me interested.

Have you ever had success breaking out of routines and how did you do it? I’d love any suggestions!

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