Friday, September 14, 2012

When Good Habits Go Bad!

When does a habit turn into an obsession?

I'm always talking and writing about establishing habits that support the kind of person you want to be and the kind of life you want to live, and I truly believe change happens by first becoming aware of the wanting or the need for change, and then taking action.  Taking action over and over and over again, until it becomes part of who you are (we are our habits).  I am really proud of many of the habits I've been able to establish these past 6 years, taking charge of feeding myself is the one I'm most proud of.....which ties for first place with my habit of training regularly...which ties for first place with how I think in a positive ways about myself and the people I love.  Okay, back to feeding myself!

I am lucky enough to be able to go to the market everyday if I want to, and I'm lucky that I like going to the market!  Or am I? Recently I've had to draw the conclusion that I shop too much! I buy too much food, more than I need.  Why is it that we overbuy anything, including food?  The habit of "stocking up" may, or may not be so healthy.

One of the explanations for stocking up may be rooted in fear.  Fear of running out in case of a disaster and not having enough "supplies" to survive (here in CA it's earthquake country), thank goodness for Costco and Sam's Club!  Or how about the fear of missing out, either on a seasonal product, may it be the last of the farm fresh corn, or the Halloween candy corn!  And then what about the fear of missing out on "sale" foods? (one of my old favorites!)

Part of being in charge of feeding myself is shopping, but also preparing foods and meals "in bulk". I call it planning ahead!  Again, I'm wondering if this habit has crossed over from good planning or fear of running out of "good foods" which may lead to making other "bad" choices?

Example #1:  I bought $20 worth of my favorite nectarines a couple of weeks ago.  Way more than I needed, for sure, because I was afraid of missing out.  They weren't even that good!  Some of them were starting to go bad and I figured I better eat them before it was too late (and again I would be missing out).  I also had purchased 3 small orange honeydew melons, and 2 baskets of figs, for the same reason.  This is at least 2-3 weeks worth of fruit I bought in one day!  Seriously!  So I need all that food?

Example #2:  I always, always make my lunch and pack it with me any time I'm going to be away from home for an extended period of time.  It's not difficult at all, and I can honestly say I enjoy it.....but what would happen if I forgot to bring it?  Well, I can tell you what would happen because I forgot to put it in my car yesterday!  I almost...almost freaked out!  Why?  Is this a healthy reaction?  I mean there are plenty of good food choices to buy at numerous eateries and groceries.  And if all else fails I'm only 20 minutes away from home!  Good-ness, can I hang on for 20 minutes, or am I afraid of starving to death?

Fear.  To me, fear is the first sign that something in my thought process needs to change.  I don't want to live on any kind of fear, large or small.  I have to much to be grateful for, so much goodness, love and luck to worry about things that can go wrong (and a little bit of smarts!)

Moving on....

Sure I will still shop, cook, prepare my own foods, but I will take more care, more notice, when I'm reacting in a way that doesn't help comfort me, instead makes me anxious or fearful.  Going to the store less doesn't mean that I buy more when I do go, it means that I buy enough.  Enough.  There is always enough.  That will be my new habit! To remind myself more often of that very thought...."I have enough, there will always be more, or different, I have enough, lucky me."

PS  I got home around 1:00 to eat the lunch I forgot to take with me and I didn't die!  I'm almost tempted to stop taking my lunch, practice relaxing and just come home to eat!  And my favorite market, Piazza's isn't going out of business anytime soon...and if they did there will be another "favorite" market!


Jestess said...

Good one, Tracy!
I have been 'around the block' with that exact same behaviour, except mine started when I was diagnosed Coeliac many years ago. Gluten free food was scarce, and in Australia travel distances are on a different scale, so I needed to be well prepared or... go hungry.
However, times have changed and GF food is vastly available, restaurants and take-away outlets are much better educated and there is no need to obsess anymore.
It took a while to let go of this fear though, but now I have embraced it as lessons in trust and with a sense of adventure, knowing that I can always find 'something'.

Miss~T said...

good post

Kimberly said...

When it comes to groceries, I've learned over the years that if I don't have a purpose for something, I don't buy it. I've also slowly gotten my poor husband into the habit as well. He's gotten so tired of hearing me say "when are we going to eat that?" I hate wasting food, and if we buy something without knowing when it's going to be eaten, chances are it's going to go bad and get tossed.

I also do several trips to the grocery store each week and buy groceries for 1-2 days at a time, so my produce is the freshest. Again, it increases the likelihood that we eat what we purchase, and not waste anything.

Tracy Reifkind said...


You bring up a great point! I never thought about other types of having certain eating/food standards, whether self imposed or health imposed. There are many more good/fine options, and especially as we establish the habits of making better choices and educating ourselves on nutritional contents.

"Stay Calm and Keep Eating Well" (lol)

Tracy Reifkind said...


Thank you for your comment...short, but appreciated!

Tracy Reifkind said...


I like that thought process...

"when are we going to eat it?"

I hate wasting food on my ass more that I hate wasting food in the trash! This way neither is sacrificed!

It's rare, really rare, that anything is wasted in the trash at my, on my ass? That's a different story! lol