What’s going on?
What are you doing … right now?
What are you thinking … right now?
What’s around you … right now?
If you’re like most people, you’re probably not completely sure.
You might be trying to answer an email while listening to music or talking on the phone or, heaven forbid, driving. You’re probably kind of checked out most of the time, trying to multi-task and juggle all the demands on your attention.
Our brain makes thousands of small decisions every day. Most of them are automatic and unconscious.
The upside is that we can repeat patterns — like driving, tying our shoelaces, and brushing our teeth.
The downside is that we can repeat patterns — like mindless munching, using booze or junk food to de-stress, or grabbing another round of take-out for another rushed lunch break.
We don’t make bad food decisions because we’re dumb or lazy. (In fact, if you’re still reading these blogs you care, you’re obviously smart and willing to work hard.)
We make bad food decisions because they’re automatic. Because we’re distracted. Because we’re rushing and busy. Because we’re human, just trying to get through another day.
And automatic choices minus attention plus rushed eating and busy-ness usually equals over-eating crap or skipping meals.
Luckily, there’s a simple solution: Notice and name.
Wait. . . how did all that food magically disappear?
Notice and name
Noticing just means pausing to pay attention.
What’s going on right now? What am I doing?
Naming just means you take an extra moment to describe the situation to yourself. Call it out.
Oh, right, I’m feeling rushed, and that means I’m more likely to grab junk.
How the heck does that help me?
When we slow down, pause, and pay attention, we put our conscious, thinking brain in charge instead of our unconscious, automatic brain.
We’re able to make more informed choices. Like picking healthy food.
We feel more in control of our actions — more able to do those behaviour goals we’ve set for ourselves. We’re calmer.
We notice little things, like the way we’re rushing through a meal.
We place our attention on our goals, rather than having it pulled.
We can focus on moving towards our goals.
And when we name the situation, we call it out. Hold ourselves accountable, without judgement. Just observation.
Dude, you’re doing that thing again.
OK, I’m taking a second to regroup.
Back on track.