by Dana Cavalea May 17, 2017

What does this even mean? The people I associate with are making me fat?
Possibly! But it may not just be the people.
As humans, we have the freedom of choice. This can be a very dangerous thing for those who lack self-control, discipline and accountability.
Freedom of choice can be a good thing, but when negative choices are made with frequency, the end results can be staggering.
Think about your life, habits and tendencies. When you drink a cup of coffee, what else do you want with that? Perhaps a biscotti cookie? Perhaps more sugar intake throughout your day?
Let's say you go to your "favorite" restaurant. You then make the exception to eat their cheesecake because you ALWAYS eat the cheesecake when you go to dinner there. It is the best cheesecake around- how could you not eat it? 2000 calories later, you are now tipping the scale.
So here is where the association game begins. We do it in so many parts of our life. From "meal pairings" to when you are with "this group" of friends to when you travel to "this place".
Growing up I can remember people saying, "I only smoke when I drink." They did not consider themselves smokers, but they drank every day. Think about it!
If one activity is associated with another, some bad habits could form. In the baseball dugout it was the same thing. "I only use chewing tobacco during the season." The only problem the season is 9 months long!
Do you realize that even eating a "cheat-meal" on weekends (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) means that 12 days per month you will cheat on healthy eating?
That is over one-third of the month you spend cheating. That means almost 33% of the year you eat poorly x how ever many years you live. That is a lot of damage you can do to the body.
Going out to eat is another example. If you eat out 3-4 nights per week, that is 12-16 days per month. Almost half the month you are "eating-out" and consuming high density meals that include high salt content, high fat and errant usage of cheap oils which most food is cooked in.
Personally, I find on the days I drink coffee, I am much more prone to eating something sweet with it or within a few hours. When I drink a daily green juice, my palate changes and my desires are more aligned with health eating more salad and drinking more green tea.  Finally, if I stay out past 11pm, my chances of hitting a New York Diner also go up- which leads to more late night calories.
I have also realized, when I go to certain restaurants, starting with a bread basket it can be down hill immediately. So rather than tell the waiter not to bring the "Bread"... I choose to go to a place where my discipline will not be tested and I can make a better choice.
Where do you have negative associations?
Could it be, "I need something sweet after dinner?" or perhaps " I get a coffee and buttered roll during the week on my way to work or a beer on my way home?"
The classic in New York has always been coffee + cigarette. The magical pairing like of Wall Street, Contractors and Beauty Workers. Like a fine wine and cheese- but not really!
There are countless others like soda and pizza, the Italian restaurant and the bread basket, the Mexican meal coupled with a bowl of chips. If you can break the associations you can also break your habits.
I always encourage clients to start analyzing habits at work. The reality is you will spend most of your time at work. What are you doing there on a day to day basis from the standpoint of eating and distractibility?
Personally, I have associated sitting on the couch with scrolling social networks. No good. That means I have given up my precious reading and quiet time for useless "noise" that will not enrich my life in any way, shape or form.
Positive habits start with recognition of habits, tendencies and associations. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.#livelikeapro
Dana Cavalea
Dana Cavalea

Dana Cavalea is the World Champion Director of Strength and Conditioning & Performance of the New York Yankees. Currently, he is a High Performance Speaker & Consultant to Pro Athletes, Entrepreneurs, Business Executives, and Workforces on lifestyle strategies to reduce stress, improve work/life integration, and most importantly improve daily performance /outcomes. Book Dana to Speak at your Company Event or Conference Today!

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