- ASK YOURSELF THE HARD QUESTIONS. This one's the most difficult, but there are underlying reasons for all those quirky behaviors that land us in jeans that are two sizes too big. Whenever I find myself lamenting my size, I try to remind myself to sit with some deep questions. Why am I overweight? What am I really hungry for? The answers aren't easy. If I come up with a cute reply to either question, I know I haven't found the true answer yet. Once you figure out you're eating chocolate icing out of the tub because your boyfriend didn't call, it's much easier to walk away from the behavior. You don't want to give him, or anyone but yourself, that much power of you, right? Nope.
- THE TEN MINUTE RULE. I actually use this one a lot when I'm shopping and it helps tremendously. We are creatures or both impulse and habit. Whenever I find myself reaching for an in-between meal snack, I make myself wait with the promise that if I still want to eat whatever I was reaching for in 10 minutes, I can. Usually, I don't. I either forget about it completely or that 10 minutes end up being enough time for me to make a decision with my evolved brain (instead of my reptile brain).
- DIVERSIONARY TACTICS. These are for when I'm really having a hard time. It's 11pm and I've got the munchies. I really want to nosh something naughty and I'm having a difficult time avoiding the kitchen. So, I do something to prevent myself from eating. My two favorite diversionary tactics are dental care and manicures. For the first, I go brush and floss my teeth. I'm talkin' the full-on ritual with mouthwash and the whole thing. Who wants to eat with the taste of toothpaste and mouthwash lingering on their tongue? Not me. The second tactic is pretty obvious: I break out my nail tools and give myself a manicure. Not only does it take some time, but I'm loathe to mess up a fresh manicure by trying to stuff something in my mouth. This one's pretty effective, too.
- WATER ... MY NEW BFF, REMEMBER? Often times, we mistake thirst for hunger. A simple glass of water can waylay pangs for food more often than not.
- THE RIGHT KIND OF EXERCISE. Exercise is a big one. I can't go to a gym to workout. Not only do I not want to pay the monthly dues, but I have daycare issues as well. My challenge is to find exercise options that are unique and fun. For me, that means thinking outside the box. My favorite exercise routine right now is acting a fool in my living room playing Dance Dance Revolution on my Wii. This game can be played in a workout mode that allows you to set goals for either calories burned or time danced. It's wicked fun and pretty good exercise if you allow yourself to venture into the higher levels and just let yourself go. During the summer, I love to swim. I also love to roller-skate and ride my bike.
- RELEASE ATTACHMENT. This one is the hardest for me. The Buddhists refer to this as the practice of non-attachment. Uncle Al wrote about it when he spoke of being "delivered from the lust of result." Either way, it's the path to personal liberation. Find your attachment to the outcome (If I don't get into a size 6 dress by my birthday I'll have failed!) and let it go. It's tricky work and, like I said, the part I struggle with the most. But it really is amazing how when you call out your attachments and really look at them with a critical eye, they often seem senseless, silly, and completely unhelpful.
- BE KIND TO YOURSELF. The last one is about self love. I know it may sound sappy, but if you don't love yourself and treat yourself with kindness, you'll never heal yourself. It's that simple.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
I am, by no means, an expert on dieting and behavior modification. If I were, I'd probably have some initials after my name and actually be wearing those size 10s I've been aiming for. But, I have had enough experience with dieting and lifestyle alterations to have come up with some tricks for success. They aren't earth-shattering, but they work. Here are a few: