If youíve ever ridden in a car with a GPS satellite navigation system, you know how it works. Plug in your destination, and the system-using satellites to plot your current and final points-tells you exactly what to do when. Turn left after 400 feet. Stay straight. Get in the right lane. But letís say you make a mistake and miss a turn or turn onto the wrong street. The GPS doesnít berate you, doesnít scold you, doesnít tell you that you might as well drive off a cliff since you made a mistake and missed First Avenue. Instead, all it says, very politely, is this: ďAt the next available moment, make an authorized U-turn. The GPS recognizes the mistake matter-of-factly and simply guides you back onto the right road. The GPS allows for mistakes and tries to help you correct them. Thatís the kind of mentality you need to have. Youíre going to make wrong turns. Youíre going to turn left at the hot dogs, make a right at the blueberry pie, and occasionally merge onto the interstate of banana-nut pancakes with a side order of sausage patties. Does that mean you should steer off the dietary cliff and fall into the fatty crevasse of destructive eating? Of course not. What it means is that you need to pay closer attention to the road signs and the instructions about how to make it to your final destination. It also means that you canít beat yourself up with a basket of croissants every time you lick a little whipped cream off your finger. So what youíre going to do-right now-is acknowledge that you will face obstacles. And instead of falling into the avoidant and defeatist mentality by drop-kicking healthy eating the moment you make one bad choice, you will confront it. How? By repeating the You Diet Mantra: ďAt the next available moment, make an authorized YOU-Turn.Ē ďAt the next available moment, make an authorized YOU-Turn.Ē ďAt the next available moment, make an authorized YOU-Turn.Ē Get back on the right road. What kills any regimen of healthy eating isnít the occasional dessert or slice of pizza; itís the cascade of behavior that happens after the initial indulgence. Use this mantra to steer yourself back-to understand that you can make mistakes but that you can correct and overcome them with some nonjudgmental coaxing. Why does it work? It gives you a mental crutch to carry when youíre faced with difficult eating situations. It reminds you to be confident, to be positive, to know that the harm isnít the first mistake, itís in not figuring out how to deal with it. It reinforces the grand scheme of this whole plan-the reason why youíre trying to manage your waist. The long-term benefits to your health far outweigh what youíre giving up in your Pyrex dish.
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