I think imagination is perhaps the most under-used tool in the modern world.
I have a few ways I try to engage the power of imagination in training my habits.
This may be less effective for those of you who love all foods and they all love you back, but most people I know have foods they return to even though they aren’t satisfying or actually are negative.
I’ll actually play a whole memory in my head: yes I love the texture, the warmth, the flavor; I may even get a bit of enjoyment out of the memory, but then I’ve got the conclusion of that lump of cornbread hanging out in my belly way. too. long.
Sorry if that’s too weird for you, but the point is your body has a very good memory, and you can use that to your benefit.
Try these on for size: Picky Toddler and Bank Teller
Most of you reading this have children, and those who don’t have doubtless seen that “comedy” staple where a hapless parent (or other caregiver) is pitted against a resolute toddler whose compressed lips clearly communicate You shall not pass.
When I think of how I went a long. time. as a child without eating lunch (because I wouldn’t eat peanut butter or tuna fish), when I see those little lips pressed together, I’m reminded that I am the only person who decides what goes between my lips.
And that hunger hasn’t killed anybody I know.
If this is all you have the strength for: just avoid the first bite.
I don’t know about you, but I do much better with absolutes. If I’m having no. grains. at. all., saying no to the GF brownies is a lot easier. If I can justify one bite, I can justify a whole brownie, and I’m so logical I can move from a single brownie to more than that.
No matter how poor an honest bank teller is, she doesn’t pocket the money she’s handling.
Why? It belongs to someone else. It’s not hers.
This is how we can prepare and share food that isn’t on our HEP (healthy eating plan) with minimal temptation to ourselves.
It requires a mental shift. A level of seriousness that means we’ve committed. We can know what’s not ours.
After my major, unignorable reaction to food at a birthday party last October, I decided I was done with gluten. The reaction was clearly not in my head. Living with gluten-intolerance wasn’t about other people’s comfort level anymore. It was about my safety, and now that was going to trump others’ discomfort.
I continued to buy store-bread and “convenience” food for my family, but no matter how many times I made them something, I never took a nibble.
Made experimenting with Atkins surprisingly easy, btw. Most of what we find “tempting” is highly processed things quickly available when we have a surge of hunger. Since there are fewer GF things that meet that description, I had an easier time managing my environment.
Ultimately this comes down to honesty.
Be honest with yourself. (And if something always makes you sick, your body could be trying to tell you something.)
Picture your goals.
This is kinda hard for a lot of us, because we’re afraid to aim to high, but try it any way. The original Protein Power book includes a mathematical formula for determining your (as in you, the person doing the math) lean body mass.
From there is is easy to extrapolate your own personal weight range, based on healthy body-fat levels for your age and gender.
This is freeing because it removes the super-unrealistic from play.
For example, I’m 5’4″. According to the BMI chart I could weigh 110-140 lbs and still be in the “normal” range. But my best (and temporarily successful) bid for a size-six body did not get me close to 110. And I haven’t been that small since I was 14.
Doing the math, I narrowed that range to 130-139 lbs. Talk about freeing!
But it also allows me to be ambitious if I want to. I have a range to work within for my goal, and it is a healthy choice, no self-abuse involved.
Having lived there three years ago, I know what I like about it. I have a favorite dress I’m looking forward to wearing again. And I use my imagination, my memory of the first time I tried it on and was thrilled about how it fit and how it looked.
How I looked.
I liked it. I’m looking forward to that.
Imagination is a tool. Learn how to use it.