Choose This Not That

Each day we make choices.  We choose when to get up in the morning.  What to wear.  How we will respond when someone asks us a question.  What we watch on TV.  How much time to spend in the blogosphere:)  Dozens of choices, all day long.  And we choose to exercise or not.  And we choose what we eat.

I had an ah-ha moment when I read in a book recently that we should think more about this fact and that we should focus our actions with that word:  “choose.”  For example, instead of saying that I cheated on my diet, I should acknowledge to myself that each time that I put something in my mouth I am making a choice.  I choose to eat the cookie, for example.  And when I do, it is not because I lack willpower or self-control or discipline, but because I made a choice.  When I read about this idea, I CHOSE to see the light bulb go off above my head:)

And then the epiphany built when I read something else about that word.  Did I ever feel overwhelmed by all the things I have to do?  I have to eat healthier.  I have to exercise.  I have to clean my house.  But the reality is I don’t have to do any of these things.  I may not like the consequences if I don’t – but again, it is up to me to choose if I do them or not.  So instead of thinking about what I have to do (and often don’t want to do), I should rephrase my life and think about what I choose to do.  I choose to live a healthier lifestyle because I will feel better and like myself more.  I choose to change my life for good and to get off the diet roller-coaster that has taken me for a dizzying ride for too many years.

I wonder what would be different in my life if I focus my actions around that word.  I choose what I eat.  I choose what I do.  Good or bad.  I am making a choice.  I am the master of my own destiny.  I am responsible.  I have choices.



Filed under emotions/emotional issues, influence of others, making a change, weight issues

36 responses to “Choose This Not That

  1. Brian

    Great post, Karen. Spot on.

    When we change the “have to’s” into “choose to’s,” it not only relieves stress, but it also restores our decision-making power. That power helps to increase our confidence when we make smart decisions. Likewise, it helps us learn from our mistakes when we make not-so-smart choices. In either case, the power to choose is an amazing power to master.

    To quote Geddy Lee, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.” Words to live by. 🙂

  2. I chose not to prioritize myself. I chose to be out of balance. Today, I choose differently. Words to eat by. 🙂

  3. Genie@dietof51

    It’s all about semantics, isn’t it?

    • Karen

      I almost added a whole new category for that. I am all about words and what they mean. I have another post written about more semantics and suspect there are others coming some day.

  4. sunnydaze

    I like this post – so true. While I was exercising last night I was thinking about my weight and my life and pointing out the things in my life that are positive. I thought about the things that I can control and two of the things on my list were what I eat and if I exercise or not. Choices. 😉

    • Karen

      And it is great that you were not only focused on the positive stuff, but then also on things you can control. I have had problems with both of those in the past.

  5. I’m a huge believer in personal responsibility. And I’ve always made sure never to blame anyone else for anything that I’ve ate that I probably shouldn’t have, or any workout that I’ve skipped. You are so right. It’s about CHOICES, and making the healthy ones, and sometimes, the unhealthy ones. Great post!

  6. YESSSSSSSS this is what I have been trying to say all along (except you put it so much more eloquently!) It is always about CHOICES – nobody is forcing me to eat that piece of birthday cake, it’s my OWN CHOICE! And so, because I made that choice, I must also deal with the consequences.

  7. I think we’re reading the same book! Refuse to Regain, right? I just read the cheat v. choice part last night. I like looking at it that way. It makes me more in control, more responsible.

    • Karen

      No, but I have read her blog. I am embarrassed to say that I already forgot but think it came from something like… 100 days of weight loss. Darn my memory! And I should have taken notes before I returned the book to the library so I could cite it properly.

  8. Fantastic post! You know, that is exactly the kind of stuff that I think makes a lasting change in our journeys…when we realize that we aren’t cheating anyone or anything. We’re not fooling any one or anything. It’s just a choice. And sometimes it’s okay to choose the uber decadent chocolate dessert.

    It actually takes a lot of the emotion out of it (at least for me).

  9. Wow, great post. It’s amazing how much that one little word changes things. I will definitely have to shift my mindset in that direction.

  10. I grapple with this all the time. If it really comes down to choices, and everything we do is the result of a choice — or a non-choice, then why is perfection so distant? Choices are undermined by rationalizations, and that’s where we get screwed 😉

    Love the post!

  11. Excellent point Karen. Some may call it semantics, but how your view a situation and the words you use to describe it make a difference.

    BTW, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading and commenting on my post today. It was a subject near and dear to my heart and I was worried most would blow it off, but you were the first to make a comment. I truly appreciate your support.

  12. Good stuff, Karen. Just a little reframing that can help us as we move through the day…and assume responsibility for our choices rather than being victims of circumstances.

  13. It is a strong place to be when one can really feel in control! But humans are so subject to outside sources and internal conflicts that simply making the right choice isn’t always so easy. If it were, no one would smoke, we would all be normal weight, everyone would wear seat belts, bike helmets, practice gun safety (the list goes on).

    My point is that for someone to get where you are Karen is very, very powerful, and I’m glad you posted this so I can draw from your confidence and remember that I too am in control of my choices. But I don’t want others to “blame the victim” when they look at fat folks or smokers, etc. and wonder why the heck they are still behaving badly. Not everyone gets to this place; none of us are perfect in all of our behaviors; personal responsibility is under the influence of many factors beyond what appears obvious to the outsider. (Don’t take this as snarky, just “food” for discussion.)

    • Karen

      Oh now comes the full disclosure part – Thinking it and writing it does not make it so for me. I am intrigued with the concept, and it makes sense to me, and I even encountered a perfect example when talking with my husband recently. But I have to admit that I am a hugely imperfect and still struggle for control on a constant basis. I am honored you give me so much credit but truly unworthy… yet.

      Someone recently asked me about my motivations for blogging. This post is a good example of how I can be more optimistic here than I would normally be in my real life and hopefully someday it will all merge together.

      BTW – another thing I said about my blogging is that I LOVE the comments that make me think. So “food” for discussion is awesome and may just lead to another post:)

      Thanks Jan.

  14. In much the same way, we choose to view events in life as “glass half empty” or “glass half full.” Just has it’s hard to train the brain to eat healthier foods, it’s also difficult to keep the chin up during difficult times. But like you say, it’s our choice to muddle in self-pity or rise above.

  15. What a great post Karen!!! Yes, we all have choices every day.. it is accountability too. I have read a lot about these choices of words we use & how just rephrasing something slightly turns it to a positive. If we could just do that at least 85% of the time… think about how much we could accomplish.

    Thx Karen!

  16. I have used tis terminology for a long time because I got tired of people saying “Oh, you can’t eat that?” “You don’t want it?” Of course I want some of the birthday cake! But I choose not to eat it. That is the correct way to express myself. Sometimes I do choose the cake, and that is ok, too, as long as I own that choice the same way I own the other!

    • Karen

      So how weird is it that I never thought of using it that way? And I am always concerned about what others think about my eating (or not eating). Thanks for the idea.

  17. Good post! I agree….its my philosophy as well these days…although some days the best choice is easier to make than other days…I will have to admit to that! And then there is the guilt that follows a choice that has been made knowing full fact that it was not the best one available. LOL Life is HARD!!

  18. It is so true. Everything is a choice. We often look at our lifestyle habits or our weight as kind of being something that is out of our control, but really it isn’t. All the little positive choices add up to big changes over time!

  19. Very good post! This is my philosophy for sure. I have chosen a healthy lifestyle and if it is a lifestyle you can’t go “off” your healthy lifestyle. Some days my food and exercise choices may not be as good as others. It all balances out. This mind set has eliminated the on a diet / off a diet mentality.

  20. When I look at life in terms of choices I have an abundance. When my head gets skewed and I view life as a list of obligations, it gets very stifling….I like the world of choices!

  21. Karen, you’re absolutely right. It’s your choice to live a different kind of life – or not. You could have made a silent choice of sitting on a couch bingeing and watching TV for the next 50 years. So since this is something you designed for your own life why not enjoy it?

    It’s really a beautiful concept!

  22. I just stumbled across your blog! This is so well put – I love the idea of CHOOSING. I’m def. going to try it!!


  23. For me I have to go beyond the choice and recognize the

  24. Here what was in my email from Martha Beck this morning:

    “”Just one mental shift-focusing on the abundance of your environment switches your psychological settings so that your life automatically improves in many areas you may think are unrelated.”
    –O Magazine- April, 2009

    Looks like two of my favorite people are on the same wave length. 🙂

    For me, that shift made all the difference in the world. It still does.

  25. I choose to stay up and read/comment on my favorite blogs, even though I’m tired and it’s 2:30 am. I will probably choose to sleep a bit later than usual tomorrow morning which may snowball into staying up late again tomorrow… Uh, but you didn’t want to know all this… LOL… Good post! I was feeling mad that I’m still up and soooo tired… Now that I realize it is my choice, it’s more OK. Good food for thought, Karen!

  26. Elaine

    Great post. I think I have the book you got this from: 100 Days of Weight Loss by Linda Spangle. This is a great book written by an RN who specializes in weight loss counseling. She has written another excellent book: Life is Hard, Food is Easy (how true!), which I highly recommend. In fact, I’m going to reread these, now that I’ve been reminded of them!

    • Karen

      Thanks for the info Elaine. I am going to check out that one too. I have one other eating related on my nightstand that I just have not gotten around to yet. So many books, so little time.

  27. Stopping in by way of Holly at 504 Main. She and I go way back.

    I like your perspective here. Every decision we make is a choice. Not doing anything is a choice too… cleaning the bathroom. LOL

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