Last night at a meeting a young lady told me ‘I start off the week so well and with the best of intentions but usually about halfway through I figure oh well what the heck and just eat until I’m stuffed.’ Boy, does that ring true for me. Ironically, when I got home later, after having eaten a sensible dinner that left me feeling perfectly satisfied, I began rummaging the cabinets with that ‘oh well what the heck’ feeling, myself.
Obviously, its one thing to have positive intentions and quite another thing to maintain that resolve and put it into action when we’re feeling less motivated. How can we stay connected to our overall goals, when in the short run we are driven by what one meeting member referred to as ‘my desire for instant gratification?’
Knowing what to do is a start. For instance, I know in my own case that either brushing my teeth and/or going to bed is a sure fire way for me to interrupt an oh-what-the-heck moment late at night. I’ve done it in the past and it has worked.
But there’s a difference between knowledge and action. Last night I knew what to do, but I didn’t act on that information. Instead, I fell into that old reactive-behavior mode where I put my cognitive mind aside and just, well, ate.
So what’s the NEXT step? Do we just give in to the inevitable and say ‘the devil made me do it?’
As I think about it, yesterday I did actually have success overcoming an oh-what-the-heck earlier in the day. In that instance, I was driven to snack out of sheer boredom, but was saved by the fact that I was at the office, and the only thing immediately available to me was either some fat free yogurt or an apple. As I pondered those choices I realized that neither one really appealed to me because I was not, in fact, actually HUNGRY. Realizing that I just wasn’t going to get up and walk a couple of blocks to the market to buy a snack, I simply waited, and the feeling subsided.
Now, since I don’t live alone, I can’t clear my home environment of ALL tempting foods. But based on past experience, having a number of alternatives available to me (food and otherwise) is the only way to go.
Which means planning. It means shopping ahead of time for worthy snacks. It means planning my day so that when I’m tired and cranky, I have things to do (a book to read, some herbal tea to brew, a checkbook to balance). It also means planning my eating throughout the day so that I feel satisfied, not deprived. And, it means planning to fail successfully. Which is to say, having a Plan B so that one late-night snack doesn’t turn into a day, a week, or (god forbid) a month of overeating.
Today is a new day, I had a healthy breakfast and I’m planning to go to the gym. I’ve got a good book to read, and a list of chores to do if I get bored at home. So, what the heck … here goes!