When Did I Stop Wearing Animal Prints? (Deleting Automatic Mode)

From http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AWee_Willie_Winkie_1940_poster.jpgPoint One

I’m wearing leopard-skin PJs as I write this post. Their purchase wasn’t planned. Rather, when I entered the store looking for new sleepwear, I was after a particular kind of waistband, and all the usual colors and patterns I am drawn to weren’t in a fabric that was going to cut it. Then my eye lit upon the animal-print section and I thought, why not?

At the time it was a reflex notion, driven by utility more than a philosophy. Later, as I stared at myself in the changing room mirror, it took on a deeper significance.

Twenty years ago I’d have worn a fun print without demur. At the time, I owned a skirt suit made of a subtle, faux leopard-skin. Depending upon my accessories, I could wear it to a wedding and look chic and appropriate. Or I’d let my long hair loose, go out dancing, enjoy that it was a dress that invited touching.

Then I put on weight and entered practice. Without consciously deciding I was a non-animal-print wearer, I became one, even in the privacy of my bedroom.

Point Two

I’m not happy with my weight, but I’m 5 pounds lighter than this time last year. If you do the math, that’s a 50-calorie daily deficit accomplished without any dramatic gestures on my part. Awesome.

It’s also contrary to the 1-pound gain experienced by most adult Americans over the course of a year.

I’d like to do better in 2013, so I’ve looked at my lifestyle choices with a view to making another non-dramatic change. I discovered, quite without planning, that I consumed at least 50% of my meals in front of the computer or while reading. (This is a function of the chaotic meals in my home now that I have two teenagers and a partner who works overtime on little notice. Because it’s automatic, it represents closer to 70% of my caloric intake.)

When did it get to be that eating was an obligation–something to get through rather than a pleasure to savor? When did I go on autopilot for this?

I’m not sure, exactly, but I’d like it to change, so I’m using HabitForge to track sequential days of mindful eating. I haven’t made it past two yet.

Point Three

With the exception of earthquakes, it can be good to shake things up. This video is a fun example:

Have an automatic behavior you’d like to erase, or one you’d like to develop? Now’s a good time to mention my recent post on Writer Unboxed: Tormented by Toothless Writing Goals? Try These Tools. (In it, I mention HabitForge, which I’m using and loving. It includes a discount if you want their Premium version.)

Are you a counter-resolutionist or do you have an itemized, Powerpointed schedule for 2013?

I’ve missed you guys. How was your Christmas break? 

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14 thoughts on “When Did I Stop Wearing Animal Prints? (Deleting Automatic Mode)

  1. Looking after my elderly mother so she could stay in her own home had a certain amount amount of ‘automatic behavior’ to it. I don’t think I realized just how much until she passed away on Dec. 19th.

    A friend came to me after the service (as the only member of the family with speaking experience I was elected to officiate) and marveled how photos of Mom always showed her wearing a fashionable hat and dress, a habit she kept up regardless of whether she was roasting hot dogs over a campfire, gardening in the backyard or painting the fence. I think she only started to wear slacks more three decades ago (after my dad passed away.)

    My new year will consist of finding a new balance in life and getting back to writing projects I was progressively putting aside. Not sure where I’ll end up but all will be well.

    1. Phyllis, did your mom pass away in December of 2012?? My condolences! And yes, with that kind of commitment, I’m certain you’d suddenly be noticing unfilled gaps of time. You sound at peace. Wishing good things for you and your writing this year.

  2. Jan, please don’t stop wearing animal prints if that’s what you define as your young and carefree self! Or invent something new to say you’re stylish and you could let your hair down (metaphorically) and go dancing at a moment’s notice!

    I’m expecting 2013 to be both a huge challenge and an exciting opportunity, but it will definitely mark the end of some automatic behaviour and although this is tied to the end of some significant income I am looking forward to what 2013 will bring. As my sister recently said, “nature abhors a vacuum” and I take this to mean that the Universe will be providing more income for me to replace what I lost!

    I’m also looking forward to getting more writing done. I felt mired in this 2012 ‘automatic mode’ and at the start of the New Year I already feel freer.

    Happy New Year to you!

    1. Happy New Year, Deborah! I love your attitude towards 2013’s challenges. Wishing you all the best both with income and writing.

      As for me, I don’t plan to deny myself such a simple, inexpensive means of connecting with a younger, carefree time. If only I’d known about the choice. It’s the iceberg beliefs and decisions that get me. When I’m conscious of them, I do better at countering their message. 😉

  3. Hi Jan, loved this post and can totally relate to it. I felt the same way about a certain style of dresses I wore when I was much younger. I loved the ones that hugged the hips. Coarse it’s when I had nice hips and a waist. You on the other hand look great! Besides, PJ’s should be comfortable, sloppy, veging clothes. Least that’s how I feel. Your ahead of the game if your five pounds less after these fatty holidays. Keep up the good work, though I can’t imagine you have far to go from the looks of your pic. Best of luck!

    1. Inion, it’s not so much my appearance that bugs me about my weight as the health risk. (Though thank you for the kind words.) I say I value health, and I want to be around for my kids–I have congenital heart disease, too, so less room for mistakes than the average person, perhaps. I’m also one who’s very troubled when my actions don’t reflect my values.

      Re you and your dresses: Have you gone the route many of us do and not dress the body you have? The paradox, for some of us, is that we try to punish ourselves into behavioral change, thus making it less appealing. Hence my decision this year to work on microchanges that are sustainable.

  4. Hey Jan! Good to see you back here. I’m trying to be more mindful in general this year — time is passing so fast and I don’t want to waste it on activities that aren’t worth the time. I will check out the software you mentioned and see if it helps! (And congrats on the five pound weight loss! That is huge.)

    1. Worthy goals, Liz. Wishing you the best with that. Have you read any Thich Nhat Hahn? (Think I asked you this before. Sorry.) He writes books on mindfulness. Even in translation, I find them quite beautiful.

  5. Actually, the automatic behavior I want to change is obsessive checking of email. Submissions be damned, that behavior is really living in the past. I need to strive, to forge ahead, do my best and let go of the outcome. It was partly your council that led me to the realization, Boss, so thanks. And Happy New Year!

    1. Happy New Year, V.

      Have you tried an Internet blocker? I find it I can start my day without doing email immediately, that sets the right tone. It’s a very addictive behavior, isn’t it? The closest I’ve felt to being a lab rat. 😉

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