Who chose my breakfast this morning?
I would like to say that I chose it – but this is not true.
I grew up in an environment, in which people, such as my parents, started the day with a breakfast. They chose certain foodstuffs for breakfast. Therefore, I developed the habit to start the day with a breakfast. And I developed the habit to choose these foodstuffs for breakfast.
If I would have grown up in an environment with different breakfast habits, such as Japan, I would have eaten a different breakfast this morning.
How rigid are my breakfast habits?
They leave a range of choices, such as tee, coffee, or hot chocolate as a hot beverage. Such a range of choices can have developed because my parents varied; or because my father and my mother chose different.
Did I at least choose my coffee freely this morning?
Maybe yes, maybe no.
To find out, I need to look at my breakfast choices of the previous, say, 100 days. In case there is a pattern, such as mostly coffee, I did not choose, but the pattern chose. I learned this pattern from others, or I developed it myself over time.
A habit is the same as a pattern. A pattern is the same as a program.
You may find the words ‘habit’ and ‘pattern’ nicer than ‘program’. But that’s cosmetics.
How do habits/patterns/programs develop?
Many develop through repetition. But they can be changed.
I grew up with Austrian food habits. This includes to start a day with a breakfast. Therefore, I had breakfast every morning, without ever asking myself if I am hungry after all.
One day I read a book about the health benefits of fasting. The author explained that a break-fast is a breaking of the nightly fast. If you don’t eat breakfast, the nightly fast is extended by a few hours – and this is healthy.
I bought into this argument. Therefore, I stopped my ‚daily breakfast’ habit from one day to the other and replaced it by a ‘no breakfast’ habit.
Of course, this also was only a program. This new program was not the result of repetition, it was the result of a decision.
I read more and more books on nutrition. I underwent training as a nutritionist. I became a whole food advocate, then a vegetarian, then a food combining advocate, then a vegan.
But all of these were just programs. I applied the rules that I had read about. I did not eat what was good for me, I ate what other people considered healthy.
I had messed my natural appetite with lots of theories about nutrition.
Digging for the roots of my habits helped me to get free from them.