One thing that I prioritize a lot in my day-to-day life, and which I feel has a big impact on my overall happiness, is eating a healthy diet. Most days for breakfast I have oatmeal or a smoothie, for lunch it’s a big salad topped with veggies and protein, and snacks include fresh fruit, veggies, and cottage cheese. I try to stick with healthy recipes for dinner (even if it’s just scrambled eggs) and while I do eat dessert, I’ve never really had much of a sweet tooth.
(In fact, at the baby shower my office threw me this week, we had a “green smoothie” station where I was finally able to prove to my coworkers that you can’t taste the spinach!)
(And they apparently have green smoothie clip art! I love it.)
A big part of my personal happiness project has been to eat really well, and I’ve noticed the big impact it’s had on how I feel every day. And with that has come a better understanding of how I feel when I don’t eat really well. And I have especially noticed that in the last few weeks. I don’t know what is going on but I can’t seem to stay away from candy!
These are my weakness right now. I can’t stop.
I have discovered
on several separate occasions, to my great sadness, that eating a lot of sugar makes me feel pretty terrible. I know, this is not breaking news or anything and it’s not at all shocking. But it is then really frustrating when I find myself eating handful after handful of jelly beans or peanut butter cups — or even just sweet, sugary foods in general. I think that the more sugar I eat, the more I want. It’s not good.
One reason I’m including the way I eat in my happiness project is because, apart from knowing that eating well makes me feel good physically and feeling good physically helps me to feel good emotionally, I see this as part of a larger issue: making good choices that promote my long-term happiness and not just my short-term satisfaction. I’ve seen myself doing a lot of the latter when it comes to what I’m choosing to eat, and I want to move away from that. It’s easy for me to look at the meals I eat and feel good about them while ignoring the fact that for about a week now I’ve been snacking on candy, but eventually it becomes hard to feel good about how I eat when I realize that what I’m eating makes me feel tired, jittery and unsatisfied and just kind of … meh.
My quest to say no to jellybeans made me think of another part of Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project — the question of whether you’re a moderator or an abstainer when it comes to giving something up. After reading that it was pretty clear to me that in this sense, I’m an abstainer — it’s way easier for me to not keep Oreos in the house than it is to resist them if I know they’re in my cupboard. The big challenge for me isn’t so much in my kitchen as it is in the grocery store.
Fortunately (or unfortunately?) I have been down this road before; the spring of my senior year of college comes to mind when I realized just how many Cokes I was drinking each day. (This is made worse by the fact that I don’t really like diet soda. Heh.) I know the hardest part is making the initial change, and that once I’m out of the habit of snacking on jellybeans and peanut butter cups, I won’t feel at all deprived, and — despite how desolate a world without jellybeans looks from within a world full of jellybeans — I will actually feel much better. (I just need to give them up, to start with.)
But my dilemma now is this … I have half a bag of jellybeans in my cupboard. Keep them and eat them until they’re gone, or throw them away? I feel torn …