A few weeks ago I was on my way to the facilitators’ training for Suppers and I left the house without having a substantial breakfast. I had grabbed a handful of sunflower seeds, which satisfied my appetite almost until the end of my driveway. The drive is about 25 minutes, so you can imagine that by the time I reached town I was focused not on the meeting but on food – eating – now! I made a beeline for the bakery. I could smell the fresh-baked bread before I got out of the car. I actually sat there for a few moments while thoughts of warm buttery croissants took over my brain. I thought about how many I would order. One for now, one for the car ride home, and maybe one just in case. But something happened at that moment, as I played out the whole scene in my head. I wondered if this was such a good idea. I allowed myself to mentally go into the shop, purchase the croissants, come back to the car and eat one of them. I took a moment to think about how I have felt in the past after doing this exact thing. I remember feeling like having another immediately and spending the rest of the day in a coffee- and junk-food-consuming downward spiral. Not to mention the brain fog and fatigue. What could I do?
I thought of the Suppers breakfast challenge and discussions we have had at meetings about avoiding the trap of automatic choices and the importance for many people of consuming a high-quality protein and fat in the morning. I am one of those people. I have become familiar with my personal biochemistry over the years through proactive nutrition education, and I now know that omega-3 fats work well for me. So I did something I have never done before: I ate salmon for breakfast. That’s right. I marched myself down the street and bought a piece of pre-cooked salmon from the deli and marched right back to my car and sat there and ate it up. Within ten minutes (no joke, ten minutes), I started to feel focused, energized, happy, satiated, and altogether good about my decision.
I had no trouble driving away without a bag of croissants. Perhaps I showed up at my meeting smelling like fish, but it was worth it. I told this story at the meeting because I was covering the concept of automatic choices, “the choices you make when you aren’t consciously participating.” For me the most important words in the description were “consciously working on change,” “support,” and “time.” Consciously working on change is an ongoing process. It’s what I was doing in the car that day. Support has been the key. I have studied nutrition and for years have known what I needed to do to change my life, but without support I was not able to act on that information. Suppers has supported my change process without any pressure about which changes to make or how fast to make them. As for time, I told the group that three years ago I would not have paused for a second before buying those croissants. That day in my car, I may have taken 15 minutes to make a good decision. I was able to slowly work through it and come out on top.