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I Do Not Like it, Sam-I-Am: The importance of conquering the unknown

I’m one of the pickiest eaters I know. It’s probably annoying to cook for me, and for that, to all my friends and family, I apologize. Since my goals for my body are different now, I have to do things that I’m not used to for new results, right? So, did I mention I’m a picky eater and I want great abs? I can be a very picky eater. Sometimes I annoy myself with it because I can’t figure out what I want (I’m exaggerating, a little). But I’ve gotta grow. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t just eat chicken fingers all the time (eye roll if that’s what you’re thinking). Once upon a time, maybe I would’ve order that from a nice restaurant. Ok, actually, I did. In my defense, I was young.

You’re probably wondering how I managed to lose all that weight. The easiest explanation I can give: understanding science. Because yeah, I’m picky, so my choices were slim. Baked and grilled chicken, lunchables, minus the piece of candy that it comes with, pork rinds, green beans, collards, mustards, turnips, potatoes (baked or mashed), spinach, eggs, bacon, apples, smoothies, alkaline water, and peanut butter (a lot of peanut butter). My rewards were always peanut M&Ms and I’d cut out cookies for the most part. I’m laughing my ass off right now because I can’t stand pork rinds or lunchables anymore, and I can’t remember the last time I had M&Ms. There was more to the list y’all, these were just some quick go-to picks. Broccoli is a gateway vegetable

So anyway, my best friend is vegan. With my current goals, she’s offered to help me meal prep. Great idea but, I’m picky, party of one! We were at her mom's chillin one Sunday, drinking wine and cackling. Her mom is doing the Daniel Fast (include a link of the description) so my bff showed us an easy meal to prepare.

Because I’m growing, I accepted a plate. It had broccoli on it. I can’t stand the smell of broccoli to have ever really tasted it other than being forced as a child to sit at the table until I tried it. Even then, I picked off a piece with my fork and acted like I ate it but held it where my tongue couldn’t taste it. I’ve always felt the taste would make me puke, so I avoided it.

Y’all, it was actually good! Not that my best friend can’t cook, she can, but I’d already given it the flavor of dirty grass in my mind so that’s what I expected. And it was so simple to make too!!! Roasted broccoli, mushrooms, and onions. Reflecting back on it makes me feel remedial because I’ve been avoiding broccoli and it was so good. *sings A Whole New Worrrrrrrrld* I had a similar experience with asparagus a while ago. I know, I know. I swear I’m trying grow. But look, we do things like this to ourselves way too often. We limit ourselves with the mindset of “it’s unfamiliar so avoid it” or “its good for me, so I know it’s not gonna taste good to me”. We tell ourselves what we can’t do before we’ve even tried. “Stick to what you know and you can’t go wrong,” they say. We come up with reasons in our heads as to why we should avoid “the unknown”. Whether it’s refusing to try a dish because you're afraid it may be disgusting (soooo me), avoiding international travel because you think you may get snatched up in some foreign place, or skipping the gym because there are a lot of machines that you don't know how to use,  or because there are a lot of unfamiliar people there who are in better shape than you (they're just further along in their journey. Who cares!).

For me, I came up with the excuse that the smell of broccoli and having a weak stomach was a good enough reason to always avoid it. (Lol broccoli may be a bit minor to you, but it’s about the message. Stay with me here.) This fear keeps us from knowing whether or not we actually like something. It keeps us from learning and experiencing new cultures. Most importantly, it keeps us from knowing what we are capable of achieving  and identifying the weaknesses that we should work on. We stay boxed in our comfort zones where it’s so nice and comfortable and where we know how everything operates or tastes (because it’s always the same). So, if everything is always the same can you really expect change to occur? Get comfortable feeling uncomfortable

Death to comfort zones, man! I have to tell myself this all the time. ALL THEE TIME. They aren't easy to get out of, but you can learn to be comfortable with being outside of your comfort zone. I heard someone call it failure zones once. Ain’t nothing new or progressive happening there, anyway.

Learn to recognize your anxiety; best friend likes to say it’s your mind living in the worse case scenario, and it is. Think about when some people take tests. Their first thought (or one of their thoughts) may be OMG gonna fail. Even if they studied their asses off and have thoroughly prepared!? The mind is something else. But that’s not my ministry so I won’t go any deeper than pointing out that that’s anxiety.

Now, think about your reasons for not trying new things, or not going to the gym or whatever it may be. Once you identify your fears and think about why you have them, and learn the physical symptoms of your discomfort,  *boom* you can begin to confront them. So, you sweat a little in front of an audience (this is me, too). This shows you that you’re a brave human because you’re doing what you’re afraid to do!!! Just wear black on those days and keep wipes and extra deodorant close if you can’t dip out of there shortly after. But seriously, think about your fears and learn to master how your mind reacts knowing your body is gonna try to give you opposition as well. You can control your thoughts. Manage how your body responds the best way you can. But did you die?: Risk vs. Reward

What’s the worst that could happen? Will you indeed die (worse case) or are you just scared? If you will die, do not pass go... don’t move. I mean, unless there's danger and you absolutely need to run. But if it’s solely emotional and you're scared, work on it. Of course, dying is the extreme worse case scenario. The point is to consider the risks vs. rewards. I knew I had to do something and the fact that my physician wanted to have some tests ran on my heart made me realize I was risking it all simply by doing nothing. My mental fears paled in comparison to my need to make changes. Remember, to accomplish big things it takes small steps in the right direction. Begin by making small changes. Put it in your head that new things can be good and make it a habit to try new things. Pick a different item on the menu at your favorite restaurant, try a new restaurant, or try out that workout your favorite IG trainer posted (also a note to self). I would often try out new restaurants alone. On free Saturdays, I would figure out an area I would want to visit, ride out there, find a restaurant and eat and chill. From there it became easier to try new foods, which meant I was open to making healthier choices. And I did. I still struggle with staying out of my comfort zone but by remembering that staying in my comfort zone will keep me stagnant, I am motivated to continue making the effort to live outside of it. Once you’ve gotten comfortable making small changes, start looking for new challenges. You’ll be surprised at the things you like. I absolutely hated cardio and running, but I've grown to love doing 5 and 10k runs. Reaching the finish line provides a very rewarding feeling and motivates me to go for more. Alright, go ahead and laugh at me... if you aren’t already. I’ve acknowledged my childish palate and I’ve been putting forth the effort to change it. Reflect on those things you currently avoid and be real with yourself about the excuses you’ve concocted to justify your reasons for avoidance. And while we’re at it, remember that we didn’t come equipped knowing everything so don’t be afraid to ask for help or ask questions. You do want different results, right????


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