Little Things = Big Memories

Once a mom, always a mom…is how I responded to a friends post on Facebook and it took me down memory lane on a weekend in Post Falls, ID with our son, Brandon and his family. Brandon was there to coach basketball and we love basketball and seeing our kids and grands so off we went to Post Falls. We were in our motor home, in between jobs so a mini vacation sounded great!!! So off to basketball we went…after the tournament we found out that the only two roads in/out of Lewiston, ID (where Brandon and his family were living) was closed due to snow so onto plan B…find something for dinner for the boys and hunker them down at the hotel for another night.

Brandon took a count of the money the kids had which turned out to be almost nothing since they thought they were headed home…so mom mode kicked in. I made two big pans of spaghetti, bought some garlic bread, salad, oranges and milk…kids love milk and took dinner to the hotel for the basketball team, parents, coaches, the bus driver and even the hotel desk clerk. Lots of laughter and good eating was had by all.

Brandon along with the other parents thanked me for pitching in and I remember saying “once a sports mom, always a sports mom”…just this time it was a coaches mom. I love being a mom and Grammy and am thankful for this opportunity to be mom to our kidlets here at the ranch!

And now I’m a baseball & softball mom!!! AR is playing baseball…it is fun to watch him as he tries every position and throws the ball like he’s making a lay up on the basketball court BUT hey he’s trying!!! AZ is playing softball, well she will be once the practices start happening. They have been delayed due to rainy days and a sick coach but one day soon we hope to see her running the bases and having as much fun as her younger brother!

On another note life just keeps happening…this morning in one of the groups I belong to the question was asked

“It’s Friday…How was your week?

My response started like this: I would like to just be hibernating but have to be a responsible and flexible adult today and this weekend…one of the other HP’s is in the hospital…the doctor’s are trying to figure out what’s going on…and then it continued:

a few years ago my word was FLEXIBLE…then INTENTIONAL…and this year it is CHAOS TO CALMNESS…why oh why do I have to stay focused on all three when I would rather just be drinking coffee and crocheting and watching my crime shows…my eating has been terrible for the past few weeks and I’m supposed to get a fasting blood test on Monday and then see the doctor…don’t really want to see her…I don’t need a lecture!!! I need to get my act together but instead I just want to eat chocolate covered graham crackers!!!

And now I just want to cry…I am 62 years old and feel like I am just sabotaging myself….why can’t I just eat what I want to eat…I hate diabetes and depression….and I hate that my desire to get healthy is just not enough, that I need self-discipline and will power and motivation to get my act together, to make healthy food choices, to choose to drink water over a delicious cup of hot coffee…the rant continues…

My bestie and I have often asked “why don’t I/we do the things I/we need to do and what we know to do?” So I googled the question and this is the first response that came up.

It is by Jean~Paul Pangolas:

  1. You are trading short term pleasure for long term sacrifice. In other words, you are doing things that provide you immediate pleasure rather than focusing on the things that are hard to do but that will give you significant rewards in the future.
    The reason this is happening is because you don’t have a big enough WHY. You are clear on what you need to do to be successful but your WHY isn’t big enough. I don’t know your personal details but I will give you an example: If you are a salesman and needs to make 5 sales a month you will need to contact X amount of clients to close the call. If your why isn’t big enough to actually put in the work and effort your motive will not get you moving. If you had to get those 5 sales to feed your child every month, that is a huge WHY and will get you moving. In the other hand if you live with your parents and don’t need the extra money, your WHY will not push you to get the results you want.
    Okay, I can agree with this one.
  2. Unconsciously you are being rewarded for your current behavior. The activities and things you are doing now are giving you more pleasure than the pain of doing the things you need to do to be successful. Okay, I can agree with this one.

Then https://sarabest.com/know-eating-basically-dont-just/ states: I get that there’s a lot of confusion out there these days around nutrition. This friend is doing paleo and that one’s gone vegan. One day coconut oil cures everything and the next it’s giving you heart disease.

But all the alarmist Facebook and local news stories aside, we all (kind of) know what we should be eating and not eating, right? We all know that more fruits and vegetables are good. We all know that too much sugar and processed foods are bad. We all know that fast food is a no-no.

Okay, great. So why don’t we just do that then? Why don’t we just eat lots and lots of fruits and veggies, no sugar or processed foods and never again roll through a drive thru? Why, in fact, are we (as a species) getting fatter and fatter every year? Why is diabetes on the rise, to the point where the number of people diagnosed with the disease is projected to double over the next thirty years? If we all (basically) know what we should be eating, why aren’t we doing it?

I believe that a big part of the problem is that we’re focusing too much on the food (how to eat more protein, avoiding carbs, etc.) and not focusing enough on the root cause of our seemingly irrational poor food choices. We’re smart people. Many of us have built successful careers or businesses, we’ve raised children, learned all kinds of skills and navigated really tough and complex situations in our lives. And yet, when it comes to making smart food choices and creating the healthy life and body that we want, we fall short again and again.

There are two primary reasons for this and they both have nothing to do with food, and everything to do with your brain. The first is the fascinating way your brain actually works, and the second is the way that many of us have learned to use food to manage our feelings. How Your Brain Works Let’s start with the first reason – how your brain works. Many of our habits, patterns and cravings around food are the result of a series of neural pathways that have been formed in our brain. These are behaviors we’ve learned because we’ve just practiced them so many times that they’ve now become automatic and easy. Doing something different now feels awkward and uncomfortable. We also have to factor in the reward centre of our brain and its friend, dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter (a chemical in your brain) whose primary function is around reward-motivated learning. To grossly simplify some complex neuroscience, dopamine plays a big role in making you crave cupcakes when you see them on the party food table, or chocolate ice cream when your busy day is finally over. Thanks to dopamine, the reward centre of your brain remembers that these things felt good once so it pushes you to do it again.

Using Food to Manage Feelings The second reason we keep making poor food choices, despite knowing better is our tendency to use food to manage our feelings. You know how this goes. You feel stressed – you eat. You feel tired – you eat. You feel bored, restless, worried, unappreciated or overwhelmed – you eat. Over time, our brains have learned that eating makes us feel good (see dopamine connection above) and, as a result, we’ve developed a habit of eating whenever we have a feeling that doesn’t feel so good. We even use food to augment happy feelings. Again, our brains have learned that eating makes us feel good so when something fun or exciting happens, it triggers our brain to think, “this is great – eating would make this even BETTER!” By continuing to eat as a way to manage our feelings – good or bad, we actually develop physical neural pathways in the brain around these behaviours. We’re practicing these behaviours, in the same way you’d practice playing the piano, or mastering the perfect golf swing. After years (sometimes even decades) of practice, the tendency to turn to food to deal with our feelings has become second nature. We do it automatically and, even though we know it’s not serving our long-term goals, it somehow feels familiar and comforting, so we keep doing it and on and on the cycle goes.

But, here’s the good news! Recently, we’ve begun to learn more and more about a characteristic of the brain called “neuroplasticity.” Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to adapt, change and rewire itself. And it turns out that it’s something your brain is really good at. This means that, even long practiced behaviors like eating potato chips at night, or using food to manage our feelings, can be changed. Yay! Once you understand these two massive – and often completely overlooked – reasons behind our struggle to stay on track, and learn how to do the underlying work necessary to break the old wiring in your brain around food and create new wiring around new behaviors, the healthier choices start to feel natural and so much easier. Remember, it’s not about the food, it’s about training your brain to think about food in a whole new way. That’s the answer. That’s the true path to a relationship with food that feels healthy, balanced and easy. Okay this sounds great but can come someone please tell me how to change my mindset without having to buy into XYZ or watch a cazillion videos online which cost a $Cazillion????

Okay, enough rambling for today…I have a 5 year old that wants me to read to her…at least I know how to do that and it doesn’t cost me a ton of money!!!

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Ali & Ron

Christ loving, fun making, traveling couple of 44+ years. Also known as Grandpa & Grammy!!

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