Most people have a hard time being different. Think about it. Children want to be similar to their friends. If Susie has a plaid skirt, then Sarah wants one too. If Tommy plays baseball, then his friends want to do what he does.
Adults do it too. If my neighbor fixes up his flower beds then I start to think that my flower beds look shabby. (Which they actually do. 🙂 ) I might go to Lowe’s and buy some flowers to plant just because his look so good. Same with cars, clothes, jobs, etc.
It’s human nature to want to fit in with other people. We actually spend a lot of time trying to fit in.
It’s not always a bad thing to emulate other people or to strive to have the same achievements that other people have. However, there are times when you have to live differently to be different.
Take weight for example. There are over 150 million overweight adults in the United States. That’s 2/3 of the adult population, according to the Weight-Control Information Network. While obesity rates seem to have stabilized a bit over the past couple of years, the truth is that there are an awful lot of overweight people out there.
I was one of them. Some people in my extended family struggle with their weight. A whole lot of people in my social group are overweight. And my state is one of the 10 “most overweight” states in the country. (Check out where your state falls here.)
If you want to be at a healthy weight, there comes a time where you have to break away from the “norm” and live differently to be different. There has to be a point where you say, “I’m not going to be like everyone else. I’m going to make different choices. I’m going to live differently.”
That’s what it takes to be at a healthy weight in our society. You have to live differently from the norms in order to take back control of your health and get to a healthy weight.
Here’s a short list from the Food and Research Action Center on some common contributors to obesity. It includes things like drinking sodas and other high calorie drinks, snacking too much, portion sizes, the limited physical activity of most people, and value-sized meals.
To get off the cycle of obesity in your own life, you’ve got to live differently to be different. That’s not always easy because conforming is the path of least resistance. It’s easier to eat the cupcake at the social event than turn it down. It’s easier to lay in bed on a cold morning than it is to get up and exercise. It’s easier to drive through a fast food restaurant’s pick-up window than make your own food.
Break away from how “everyone else” lives and make a commitment to live differently. That’s what I did 16 years ago and what I still do today. Here are a few things I came up with off the top of my head that I do differently than many other people in my social group.
- Don’t eat at restaurants often. (I average about five or six a year.)
- Exercise six times a week.
- Make my own bread.
- Cook mainly from scratch.
- Don’t buy much processed foods.
- Encourage my kids to get outside and play.
- Monitor my food intake regularly.
- Weigh myself each day.
- Hold myself accountable.
- Don’t drink sodas or other beverages sweetened with sugar.
- Don’t fall for fad diets or every popular “healthy diet” that comes along.
- I believe that weight management is possible.
- Am not afraid to say no to foods in social situations.
- Am very aware of my tendency to eat from emotions.
It’s what I came up with that makes me a little different from people I know. Sometimes they think I’m strange but I don’t care. What I care about is living in a way that promotes not only weight management but also health. I’m not afraid to live differently.
How about you? Is it hard for you to live differently from people in your social group? Does it make losing weight more of a challenge? Diane