Habit is a cable; we weave a thread each day, and at last we cannot break it. – Horace Mann (1796 – 1859)
Without question, we are creatures of habit. Even the most unstructured among us have certain patterns we develop around all aspects of life, especially the basics like eating, sleeping and, yes, “toilet time.” We may rise at 7:30, lunch at 12:30 and turn in to sleep at 11:30… and keep this up for years. Or, we may eat cereal, whole wheat toast and jelly for breakfast every day or eat our potatoes with butter and salt, no more, no less. Whatever the habit, it defines part of who we are.
Routines can be very positive for us. They create workable structures for us to live by, making us more efficient and productive. Our personal habits can improve the way we function and make us feel healthier physically. When we eat regularly, our bodies undergo fewer metabolic system fluctuations, which can sap our energy and interfere with the miraculously tuned systems our bodies have. Our tendency to create habits may be based upon the cyclical nature of life itself. Without doubt, the so-called “circadian rhythms” of our bodies exert an enormous force upon how we live. Obviously, we should do what we can to try and make our routines good ones, all things considered.
At the same time, if we are truly going to feel better and enjoy more, we must routinely break our routines, especially when it comes to our eating habits. Of course, sometimes we have no choice, like when we are travelling, or when the store is out of cream for our coffee. Usually, we do not give those little changes in our personal patterns much thought. We may even be irritated. But, the fact is, we change all the time, our needs change, the source of our food changes. If we don’t pay attention, we may find that our habits, which may have been great at one time, have become ruts in which we tread the same well-worn path. If we cling to our ways too tightly, we will likely lose sight of the overall point: to awaken, feel great and enjoy.
Research also shows that certain food patterns can effectively de-condition our bodies to adapt to change, undermine our digestion and alter other functions. Types of eating cycles can even cause obesity and contribute to more heath woes, as we make it harder for our bodies to create a well-regulated metabolism. When we wake up, we learn to identify our individual food patterns and understand how they affect how we feel.
What to do with his information? By all means, mix up what you eat! Try new foods, different settings, altered portion sizes, or what have you. Reject the idea of “forbidden” foods. If we eat a plate of fried potatoes (or chocolate cake or [insert problem food here]), it doesn’t mean we are unhealthy eaters. When we wake up, we know that our food habits affect us, that life is change, and that for our part, we can always enjoy some new delicious meals to come, welcoming the adventure.