Thanks to all my new e-mail subscribers. I really appreciate your vote of confidence.
For me, weekends are tough on dieting and fitness goals. Rest, socializing, family events, football games. Movie concessions, restaurant specials, food vendors on every corner. Commercials! Yikes! The opportunities and triggers to fall off my little wagon are endless.
And then there’s the mean, low voice that sits in one ancient little crook of my brain, cooing to me that I’ve been soooo gooood all week, why shouldn’t I indulge once in a while? Life, after all, is too short. I love and hate that little voice. A real Gollum/Sm�agol battle ensues.
This past weekend I encountered my worst food nemesis . . . the potato chip. The food of the gods, torn from the earth, relieved of its flesh and anointed by oil and fire – alchemy yielding the snack I adore. And I do adore potato chips. I have a visceral reaction to that particular shade of yellow at the top of the Lay’s bag. I have been known to eat whole bags at a sitting, and with my lips and fingertips shriveled from salt, go looking for more.
When I started my diet program, I dreamed of potato chips. The potato chip is the one food that I banished from my household during the early days of my diet.
And then I learned a trick. It’s a trick of association. I began to associate potato chips with pain. I do have a number of foods I have to avoid that will trigger real pain for me, but the potato chip isn’t one of them. Nevertheless, I began leaving myself little messages, in my Palm Pilot, on the bathroom mirror, in the snack basket..
Potato Chips = Pain
I did some cognitive exercises. I imagined eating potato chips the way I used to and then immediately being smacked down by a headache. Then by repeating these exercises and keeping the notes in my path for a couple of months, I switched to associating sugar with pain, then white flour (for me, these last two are true pain triggers).
I know it sounds silly. I may just be a bigger skeptic than you. But something sunk in. The messages stuck.
I did eat a handful of potato chips this weekend. Granted, they were an off brand. They did not tempt me further. They just tasted like oily potatoes. I couldn’t believe it.
Of course lately there have been reports actually associating potato chips and French fries with cancer. That may be a more effective deterrent. and another good reason to avoid highly processed foods altogether.
My mean little voice got a handful of chips to satisfy it. I stayed in control. Maybe the little compromise is a good thing – arbitrating a shaky peace in my metabolic struggle.
So, Happy Monday. It’s a new week and a good day to establish this week’s goals. What will you accomplish for your health this week? You might explore your own food cravings and start to work on them, or maybe this week you’ll commit to drinking 8+ glasses of water each day, or exercising 3-4 times, or writing down what you eat? Meeting your week’s goals makes the weekend easier to manage.
Got friends struggling to stay focused? Buddy up and use e-mail to buoy each other through the day.
Happy New Week!