Claiming My Life: Releasing Commitment to Unhealthy Habits

| January 1, 2016 | 1 Comment

Samantha_commitmentI have often heard it said that commitment is the core of every relationship in life, and in my case at least, the old adage is pretty much true. In fact, relationships are the foundation of 99% of the things I do and say daily.

I have a relationship not only with my family and friends, but I also nurture a deep connection with my work, finances, home, food, body, even my everyday route to work. And that is a lot of relationships to juggle – at least it was for me, at one point. Somewhere along the way, as I tended to all those commitments (some of which had over time become unconscious habits instead of fulfilling bonds), I lost sight of my needs and started making up for forsaken Me time through unhealthy dietary patterns.

One morning I woke up to the realization that I had developed an extremely unhealthy relationship with sugar: I had habitually been wolfing down candies after work on the way home, I often swapped regular for sweetened cereals and eventually started ending every day with a pack of chocolate chip cookies. That was the moment I decided the only relationships worth preserving in my life are the ones that make me happy without turning into compulsions – and judging by my blood test results, it was high time for me to face the music and make a conscious commitment to a healthy lifestyle.

Quitting sugar: The first step towards freedom

A few weeks after I quit sugar, I noticed the first positive changes in my everyday life. My complexion started clearing up, my sleep improved and my energy stabilized. Yes, it was difficult at first: sugar helped me boost energy fast, and it took me a while to get accustomed to the new diet, but it was definitely worth it. My family was very supportive in the process, and it helped a lot. I stopped habitually browsing through candy stalls in the supermarket and started cooking my own meals before work.

Closing the door to stressors: The importance of mutual effort

After I changed my diet, I began to notice other habits I had developed that were not making me happy, and had in fact been further fueling my compulsive sugar consumption. Trying to preserve relationships with friends and relatives who rarely remembered to call in except when they needed a favor was another aspect of my life that stressed me out and I realized that it also had to go if I were to resume control over my well-being. I put my foot down, and I do not regret it. Relationships require mutual effort, and I no longer strive to keep people in my life who never care to invest their time and energy into our bond unless they can directly benefit from it.

Family time: Home from a different perspective

I had always been deeply committed to my family, and they helped me get through the most difficult stages of life. As I struggled with major diet changes, I realized just how important close-knit ties with my family are for my normal daily functioning. The time we spend together over the weekends and the fun we have are the biggest reward for all my hard work and newly acquired self-discipline. I learned how to relax in their company and thanks to their support, I managed to let go of unhealthy habits I had unconsciously been clinging to. I stopped regarding home as a set of chores, and the change of perspective brought me joy and peace – and I am deeply grateful for it!

Conscious or not, commitments are an integral part of life, and I believe we should all stop from time to time to inspect the list of our habits and identify the ones worth keeping. The change of diet and restored focus on the aspects of my life that make me happy helped me pick out the commitments I intend to preserve, and let go of those that are not worth the effort. Looking back, I can assure you that healthy changes truly pay off – the control over your commitments is in your own hands, after all.

 

Samantha Olivier

Samantha has a B.Sc. in nutrition, and has spent two years working as a personal trainer. Since then, she has embarked on a mission to conquer the blogospere. When not in the gym or on the track, you can find her on Twitter at @sam_olivier_, or in a tea shop.

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Category: Health and Nutrition

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  1. Kirsten says:

    Thanks for your thoughts Samantha. This bit “Relationships require mutual effort, and I no longer strive to keep people in my life who never care to invest their time and energy into our bond unless they can directly benefit from it.” I think is incredibly valuable to learn and I often think of people as ‘drains’ or ‘radiators’ as a way of deciding on the benefit or otherwise, of the relationship.

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