Saturday, April 11, 2009

Visual Rewards

It’s critical that while taking the pounds off slowly, we keep up with what our bodies are doing every day, else we run the risk of becoming discouraged because we can’t ‘see’ progress. It’s why I keep a calendar on the wall of my bathroom, and each day after I step on the scales, I write down the number on that date.

I realize however, that some of you might not feel comfortable staring at the numbers all the time. Besides what’s most important is that you’re sticking to your new eating lifestyle another day. So, how about this? Instead of recording your actual daily weight on your calendar, why not put a symbol on the date to show how you’ve honored yourself and your promise with better eating habits that day? I like to draw a smiley face in one corner of the date box if I’ve come in at or below that day’s calorie limit. If I over-indulge, I draw a frown. By using a symbol to record progress, I’m not focusing on the results of my efforts – like a change in weight – as much as I'm seeing where my chief struggles lay – the commitment to myself.

You’ll quickly see whether you’re actually serious about your weight loss. If you can look at 2 weeks of smiley faces, or stars, or whatever you choose, and you’ve not lost a pound? You’ll know it’s not because you haven’t been trying. Hang in there. It will happen. If, however, every other day, or two days out of the week you have drawn a frown, then you just might not be serious about this after all – and in fact, you might be sabotaging yourself for some reason.

It doesn’t matter what you use – what’s important is to recognize that we are visual creatures. Isn’t that why a plateful of cheese fries or chocolate brownies gets us every time? It looks so good? Therefore, we should fight the battle with something visual, too – a visual confirmation if you will, to our commitment to do the right thing. We can be in control and we can win the battle!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Finding Comfort Elsewhere

What comforts you? Oh, we all know food is at the top of our list! But what other thing comforts you? What makes you feel secure, warm and fuzzy – what other thing makes you feel nurtured and rejuvenated if not food? That is the thing you want to find.

As indicated in the previous entry on stress eating, we know that food is the one thing so many of us turn to first when we are feeling stressed or otherwise overwhelmed. But in the long run, it adds to our stress because the extra weight it creates gives us more to worry about!

The idea is to break that instinctive reach for food and instead replace it with a ‘reach’ for something else – the next best – and positive - thing. Whether it’s great art, crossword puzzles, or sex – replacing the automatic and thoughtless habit of eating, with something that can focus our attention elsewhere for that moment, can help interrupt that laser beam that draws us to the kitchen! The result just might be the same if not better sense of satisfaction that will in turn, better enrich our lives and fill our souls without over-filling our bodies.