5/4/2010

The Habit Pet

By Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am — Filed under:

The Habit PetI had an epiphany the other day. I have been struggling with my eating and exercise. I will get everything in order and start exercising again. Then I’ll have to go out of town on a trip and I’ll forget everything I’ve learned because I get out of the habit.

I realized that habits are like baby animals. They are very delicate and it’s surprisingly easy to kill them. It takes only a few days of neglect and they die on me and I have to start again. I imagined my habits for healthy eating to be like a fuzzy weeple-like animal and I suddenly felt guilty for all of those I have killed over the last year.

If I had an ACTUAL baby animal who was depending on me to keep it alive, there is no way that I would leave it alone in the house while I went out of town. I would defer my trip, find someone to take care of it, or bring it with me.

Since habits can’t be sent to the kennel and I’m not willing to put my life on hold until I get to goal weight, I guess I’m going to have to take this baby animal habit pet with me when I go out of town again. If I think of my habits as a defenseless baby animal who needs to be nurtured and cared for constantly, what would I do differently?

  • Find a hotel that will allow me to have my pet: If I had a puppy that I had to take with me on my trip, I would need to find a hotel that allowed dogs. The same is true for new habits. I need to make sure that the hotel has an exercise room and a fridge in my room for healthy snacks and meals.

  • Take care of my pet EVERY day no matter what: Just because I’m out of town doesn’t mean that my habits should suffer. I wouldn’t allow my puppy to go without attention all day. I need to give just as much attention to my new habits as I would a helpless puppy.

  • Provide special food for my pet: I wouldn’t expect the hotel breakfast to have the proper food for a newborn puppy. Why do I expect it to have it for my healthy diet? The truth of the matter is that it’s possible to eat healthy at most complimentary hotel breakfasts, but depending on them to provide me with the food I need is just as stupid as expecting a hotel to have puppy chow on hand.

  • Make sure my pet has fresh water: I don’t know why I tend to skimp on drinking water when I’m out of town, but I continually find myself thirsty and parched. I can’t even imagine leaving a small animal without fresh water. Why do I do it to myself?

Imagining my newborn habits as a baby animal has made me more aware at how stupid I have been over the last year. I have allowed countless habits die of neglect and I have brushed each of their deaths off as “falling off the wagon.” If each of those habits had been a hamster, I would feel like a serial killer by now, but I’ve let them die with hardly a thought.

I always knew that nurturing my new habits was more difficult when I was traveling. Now, I have a visual representation of why it’s harder and what I need to do to keep my precious little ones alive while I’m out of town.

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2 Responses to “The Habit Pet”

  1. Ellen Says:

    That is great! I have been taking care of my body, soul and mind since Jan 1 and I have been doing great! Lost 19lbs already. There are times though!!!! So this has helped a lot. I will print it out and put it on my desk to read when I don’t want to get up and go. Thanx. Ln

  2. Phoebe Says:

    Hi- I just found your blog yesterday and I’m already totally sucked in! I really love this entry- I’m doing Weight Watchers (which is how I found this- I googled a WW question on exercise and this link popped up) and it has been great. I have lost 25lbs in 4 months after struggling- unsuccessfully with weight loss for years. However, I have started to wan a bit on my dedication to exercise (and tracking… but that is a whole other issue) as I get busier and busier and my schedule gets thrown off—and as I get closer and closer to my weight loss goal. BUT this visualization is perfect (especially since I’m a huge animal lover and have more than a couple of pets myself) and it really makes sense to me! Also, we just talked about ways to stick to our new, healthy habits last night at our meeting- so really, perfect timing! Anyways- thanks for this posting, I look forward to reading your blog regularly.

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