G.K. Chesterton, in his book Orthodoxy, pointed out that sometimes the reason we don’t know where to start talking about a big subject is because it possible to start anywhere.
Sticking to a healthy lifestyle appears to be one of those topics.
Leaving aside what a Healthy Eating Plan looks like (for now), I want to talk about my first tools for maintaining that HEP.
*First of all, it’s best if you remove the word “cheat” from your vocabulary.* Even if your HEP of choice uses it.
I’m pretty open about how I see words affecting our thoughts and behavior, and if you are the sort to “cheat” a lot, you’ll eventually see yourself as “cheater” and that just doesn’t help your persistence factor.
Instead, think of it as your level of “strictness” as you retrain your approach to food.
You’re not “cheating” when you sleep in on the weekend, you’re just being less-strict with yourself.
Here’s something I just learned recently: our self-esteem, the way we see ourselves, is strengthened in proportion to the number of times we say no to ourselves.
Think about how you feel when you pass up the cake or ice cream at the birthday party. You feel good about yourself, don’t you? You feel relieved, maybe, and in-control.
Your self-esteem actually went up a notch.
Believe it or not, for the first two weeks back on my HEP that little up-tick was all I needed to stay focused. I still looked longingly at “the good stuff” and felt the urge to consume, but every time I said no to myself I was rewarded with this little surge of Yes! I am the boss of me!
The other thing that helped me say no to the birthday cake (because after all, yummy stuff feels pretty good, too) was asking, Is this [indulgence] worth waiting to reach my goal?
And very few birthday cakes are worth that, really.
I’m calling this series Weight Therapy , because it seems like everything I read about good choices or about motivation loops back around and applies again here.
Because this is where I’m living, and that’s the way my brain makes everything useful.