As you begin your weight loss journey it is wise to acknowledge that there will be some tough times.
Typical things my weight loss clients have struggled with include: social occasions and special celebrations, mid-afternoon or evening munchies, being offered food by others and not wanting to offend, emotional eating (eating when bored, upset, feeling lonely or stressed), work functions and even the temptation of specific foods (eg. chocolate, bread).
The best way to deal with these challenges is to be ready for them!
Use the following steps to pre-program your response in your tough situations so you can stay on track for achieving the lean, healthy body you desire.
Identify the issue
Ask yourself, “What has been my downfall in the past?”
(Hint: Identify your single biggest issue)
Identify your automatic thoughts
Ask yourself, “What are my thoughts in this specific situation?”
- “I love chocolate; I can’t not have it!”
- “I always overeat when I go to a restaurant”
- “I can’t handle feeling stressed; food always makes me feel better”
Understand these are unsupportive thoughts
Your thoughts determine how you will act. Every time. The thoughts you have identified lead you off track for your weight loss goal. To achieve your goal you must replace these thoughts. The key to success is working out in advance what your new supportive thoughts need to be – see the next step!
Identify a supportive replacement thought
Ask yourself, “How do I want to think about this situation? What would be supportive?”
For example: If you have experienced situations where you have had unwanted thoughts like, “I’ll go insane if I don’t have something sweet and I know that means eating the whole packet of Tim Tams” – don’t suppress this thought. Instead, consciously replace it with something supportive like, “It’s more insanely satisfying to fit into my skinny jeans than to wolf down excessive amounts of Tim Tams.”
Remember, you stay in control when you decide in advance what you will think when that unwanted thought pops into your head.
*** What we think determines how we will act so you could stop here; empowering thoughts to lead to empowering actions. However, to make this process as powerful as possible, leave less to chance and identify how you want act in this situation.***
Identify a new empowering action
Ask yourself: How do I want to behave in this situation?”
Create an if-then plan
For example: If thoughts about scoffing Tim Tams occur, then I will go for a walk (even just to the letterbox), taking some deep relaxing breaths and return for a cup of tea or coffee.
By planning in advance exactly what you will do when the unwanted thought occurs it becomes far easier to stay on track for your goal.
Ultimately you are using and if-then plan that says:
If I start thinking “I need to eat Tim Tams”, then I will replace that thought with “It’s more insanely satisfying to fit into my skinny jeans than to wolf down excessive amounts of Tim Tams” and I’ll go for a walk and come back for a cup of tea.
Mental rehearsal – not just for professional athletes
Do your programming in advance. It’s mental rehearsal and it works.
Your new planned thought and action disrupt the connection between the original unwanted thought and corresponding unwanted action. Remember, there’s no need to suppress your unwanted thought. Simply use it to recognize it is time to activate your planned supportive thought and the corresponding action.
There will be challenges on the road to achieving your ideal weight and body size. Now you know how to pre-program your desired response. You’ll be ready for them this time!
*** Article from: Ultimate You Magazine July 2013 issue ***