Sunday, June 17, 2012
I was looking through some old articles about weight loss and I found something interesting. It was from the first of the year, a time when most of America starts a new fitness program, complete with a laundry list of resolutions for change.
How many New Years (or Mondays, even?) have you thought about all the things you're going to do differently in order to lose weight? Only to have things implode after a short time.
This article said that, in order to create realistic goals and behaviors, we have to know what's thrown us off course in the past.
So, complete this sentence: I was doing great with my weight loss efforts until __________ happened.
Wow! Did that resonate with me! I made a list - 15 situations at last count - where something happened and I went off track. It might have been my husband bringing home a tempting treat. Or I bought something on impulse while food shopping. Or I was tired and didn't feel like exercising. You get the idea.
But after I compiled that list and reread it, a few things, patterns, jumped out at me.
For instance, going to certain stores triggers a desire for overeating in me.
- Shopping at a certain CVS is a bad choice since there's a soft pretzel factory right next store. Solution: Shop at a different CVS.
- When I pick up prescriptions at Walgreens, I have to pass by the candy and chip aisles on the way back to the pharmacy (you know they do that on purpose). Solution: Use the drive-through instead.
- Whole Foods, where I only shop about once a month or so, has the most delicious smelling breads in their bakery, which always tempt me. Solution: Don't shop on an empty stomach or bring along a healthy granola bar to munch instead.
My list really crystallized for me how certain situations were a problem. However, as I thought about it, each problem had at least one solution. And most of the solutions were ridiculously easy to discover. It's up to me to think about it and choose a different behavior.
But being prepared in advance is a big help. Thinking about these triggers ahead of time and discovering ways to avoid or minimize them is like arming ourselves for battle. Why wait till you're standing in the chip aisle, lovingly gazing at the Doritos, and then expect yourself to be able to easily resist?
So what will your "UNTIL" list look like? Write down the people, places, and things that have been troublesome for you in the past. What's derailed your efforts? How can you manage these situations so that they're no longer problems?
Instead of seeing these things as roadblocks to your goals, see them as opportunities for growth. Each time we successfully maneuver around one of these situations, we're learning new patterns of behavior and feeling good about the choices we made.