Perception & Changing Behavior

I’ve lost about forty pounds since the beginning of this year. I am overweight, because my family is overweight. They passed that on to me and I had to learn a completely new way of existing in order to lose the weight that I had accumulated.

The reason why I’m writing this is to emphasize the importance of perception. There’s a common saying that the only people who continue to repeat the same thing over and over again yet expect a different result are crazy people. Crazy people do not change their behavior yet still have different expectations. Why do they do this? Because of perception. They cannot perceive the cause and effect between their behavior and the result of that behavior.

I genuinely perceived that eating more than 4500 calories every day was relatively normal. I had no idea what was the appropriate amount of food to eat. Eating until completely stuffed was my normal. Recently, a coworker has been coming in with two bags of fast food and I‘m a little shocked by this every time I see this. Yet, I clearly remember when I was doing the exact same thing.

In order to change a behavior, you must be able to perceive it. I began logging my calories to ensure that I was maintaining my caloric regiment. Inputting all of the nutritional information and being diligent about keeping track of what you’re eating can be a chore. What I’ve noticed over time is that as I continue to log the same things over and over again, I can just do the math in my head. I know intrinsically how much I’m eating and I don’t have to do the extra work anymore. It’s just a a part of who I am.

So what was originally a monotonous chore has become something deeply ingrained into who I am. I rarely eat anything now without first evaluating what it will do for me. I used to, literally, gorge myself until I was sick. Now I’m weighing the pros and cons of each possible meal choice and making much better decisions.

Before, I wasn’t even able to perceive this course of action. I would have viewed this type of activity as a ridiculous amount of work for very little payoff, but it’s worth it for me now and it’s become an ingrained part of who I am. There is no extra work because it is an essential part of how I operate as a human being.

So if there’s a behavior you wish to change, I challenge you to expand your perception. Question the root of the behavior. What is the most important variable for your problem and focus on that until you are unable to ignore it. Be relentless. Never give up. Never excuse your current behavior. Your current behavior is the problem and you wish to eradicate it. This road may be difficult but you have what it takes to triumph over adversity like I have done.