Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Making Conscious Choices

Ever read the book "Way of the Peaceful Warrior"? It's a great book filled with "meaning of life" stuff. But there is one bit (among many) that stands out for me, especially with regard to my health.

In the book, Socrates has a conversation with Dan about making conscious choices.

Whether he was puffing on a cigar or swigging whiskey (contrary to what Dan expected of him), Socrates explained that each choice we make should be a conscious one. We should be aware of the consequences of each decision, instead of blindly stumbling along through life, led unaware by our emotions and compulsions into actions that harm us or hold us back.

When I think of this in the context of health, of eating and of exercise, I find myself looking at things in a new way. When I am thirsty, I want a drink. What I drink can be harmful (alcohol) or helpful (pure water). Some can be both harmful and helpful if you think about it. Like a glass of wine. Alcohol = relatively harmful. Relaxating, enjoyable flavor = good. Being able to see all aspects = ability to create balance. When I consciously think about the different aspects of a glass of wine, I can see that one glass can be beneficial, whereas one bottle may be harmful and so I choose one glass, and feel more balanced.

When I think about being fit, about exercising, about eating and drinking, and am aware of the consequences of those choices, I find it easier to make better choices, healthier choices.

When I am really not aware, not thinking, acting impulsively, I end up feeling guilty or discouraged. I end up overindulging or eating the wrong things for extended periods of time. It takes a physical toll on me and then I feel worse.

By keeping in mind the fact that I have complete control over the choices I make, and by keeping it in the forefront of my mind that any choice I make has consequences, I find it so much easier to make better choices and when I choose something that isn't the best for me, I feel less guilt about it and I feel more compelled to balance out the poorer choices with healthier ones. I feel more in control. And I feel less guilt.

In a way, I guess you could say that this mindset helps me maintain an "everything in moderation" approach. And it feels easier.

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