CARDIOLOGY, PRIMARY CARE AND NUTRITION

Blogpost: That One Second Decision

Everything was going great. You had your morning oatmeal with flaxseed and blueberries and did your morning walk.  You pull into Starbucks to order a tall black coffee and in a split second before the barrister takes your order you change to a venti Christmas Ginger Latte with whipped cream.  You drink it and in 10 minutes have remorse.  Day ruined.  Or perhaps you did good through lunch and about 3 pm a plate of snacks are suddenly on your friends counter.  Just a bite.  A teaspoon of M and M’s perhaps.  A handful of chips.  You quit counting after the first one because you are so disappointed in yourself for that one second decision.  The reach and grab.  You are at the check out line in the grocery store at 5 pm.  There on the end sits a box of fresh pastries marked down.  Bang! onto the belt they go.  Will they make it home?

You feel awful, but you were set up.  Those things were all placed in your one second zone.  Like a touchdown pass from Tom Brady with 13 seconds to go.  Score!  We humans are pretty easy to figure out.  We think we are unique, but in reality, we are all victims at one time or another of the one second bad decision.  Hurry now and order.  Last chance for huge savings.  50% off.  It’s just a cookie.

So knowing that we are weak pathetic humans incapable of choosing wisely, should we just place our nutrition on hold until January 2?  Or, perhaps  we should probably wait until the second or third week in January because of all the leftover sweets hanging around.

Come on Doc; live a little.  It is the holidays!  I don’t see the eggs, butter and sugar in those cookies so it is ok.  What about the metabolic waste accumulating year after year with holidays, birthdays, super bowls and on and on?  Would Santa not show if there was a fruit plate?

Live a little.  That sums it up.  Live a little shorter life perhaps.  Live a little longer with diabetes.  Live a little longer short of breath.  Those one minute decisions add up to hours of bad choices that do not result in living a little longer or living a little bit better.  We don’t even think about the one second decisions we made in our 20s, 30s, or 40s.  The consequences are still there.

Maybe you are on the other end of the decision.  As a good host, grandmother, aunt, you put out the chips, dip, and cookies even though your guests have diabetes, heart disease,  and are overweight.  Misery loves company right? You only live once.  Everyone deserves a little treat and happiness.  Does it have to be attached to sickness?  Pouring a bag of chips into a bowl and popping the top on a container of guacamole is not very hard work,  or a thought out way of expressing your unique love of another individual.  Could there be an alternative?

Yes there is.  The holidays are about showing gratitude and expressing love.  There is nothing worse than seeing someone’s health decline.  So let’s start with that one second you have to make the right choice.  Be aware.  If you know Starbucks means a pastry and a sugary, fatty drink then you need to prepare.  Can you choose to drink a plain coffee or tea?  Was the focus socializing or having a sugar/fat fix.  Make the decision before you enter the building.  They do have oatmeal if everyone you are joining is eating.  Someone shared a menu online last week.  I saw plenty of vegan choices.  They saw a few.  Translated, the vegan choices were not as attractive to them.  Decide in advance what is off the table as a choice.  Don’t mourn over the menu  or about choices that are not part of your plan.

The cookie trays are everywhere this time of year.  Why? because people don’t really care about their choices and are too lazy to be creative.  Picking up a giant tin of cookies or a dozen donuts is a lazy way of showing gratitude and shows no thought about other peoples’ health.  The last thing hospital workers need during the holidays is another tin of cookies to mindlessly munch on during break.  How will that help them fight off the exposure to all of the viruses and superbugs that surround them? How many pieces of fruit do you think shift workers get in a day?  Yes, a fruit basket is a great choice to bring to the hospital.  How about a big bowl of cowboy caviar for them to share? Make a tree or snowman out of vegetables with a healthy dip.   Gratitude in the form of creativity, fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients are great ways to show appreciation.

Identify your one second moments.  It it the gas station, grocery store checkout line, after golf, or cards?  Devise a plan that is detailed.  When you are not in the situations no is easy, but when faced with the one second decision, no seems like a faint irrational word.  Do a color check on your day.  Have you had a variety of colors and types of fruits and vegetables?   Be creative when sharing food.  Nothing shows caring like a little effort.  Help a friend by making the right one second decision instead of derailing not only your health but theirs as well.  Remember, a few good one second decisions might just add years of health to your life.

One Comment
  1. Reply
    Janet

    Really a great, thought-provoking article! My own way of dealing with plates of cookies or chips and guacamole is to avoid them completely! I have decided this year that, when I get together with friends, it has to be at a location where there are loads of really awesome vegetarian/vegan options like Evergreen in Venice or at a Japanese restaurant where I can get vegan sushi (cucumber/carrot/asparagus rolls). In this way, the vegan options are very attractive to me, and I am not tempted.

    Some people have lots of willpower, but I confess, I do not. So before setting myself up for failure, I do my homework and find a social setting which is good with everyone.

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