Monday, November 23, 2015

What Works For Me

If you Google "maintaining a healthy weight", you'll get a get a myriad of answers that focus primarily on a person's relationship with food and exercise. Undoubtedly, that's important to an extent but I think, and at least personally, that's not the largest piece of the weight loss and maintenance puzzle.

Everything that I'm about to write about is a skill, just like anything else you use your brain to do. It's something that has to be practiced and refined, tweaked and tailored. It's difficult at first but the more you use it and the more varied experiences you have using it, the better you become at it.

Is it worth it?

Back in 2009, when I had a Stickk contract to help me lose weight, I frequently asked myself if eating something was worth the possible loss of money that it could cause. By doing this, it helped take the focus off the desire for instant gratification that eating a treat (usually sweet and/or bready) would provide. Over time, this question evolved and the money portion dropped out; it's become more "Is this temporary and fleeing feeling of satisfaction adding or detracting from my overall life satisfaction?" This is a lengthy question to be asking yourself in the moment, but it generally works well.

I've noticed that the indulgent food I find worth it has an accompanying experience that saying no to would detract my overall satisfaction. The food on the Alaskan cruise that Eric and I took is an excellent example of this principle. Each and every one of those meals, indulgent though they were, were absolutely worth it.

Out of sight, out of mind.

As I'm sure anyone who works in an office knows, office areas are filled with people who have candy on their desks and bring in sweet treats year round. Having a strategy (or two) to deal with these situations is important because it helps you make better decisions in the moment.

My strategy for dealing with the random office candy is generally to just avoid it at all costs but if a particular type calls out to me, I will take one piece and return to my desk. I put the piece in my desk drawer out of sight and leave it there for twenty minutes. If after those twenty minutes have elapsed and I haven't forgotten about the candy, I'll eat it. Most of the time work distracts me from the candy and I forget I even put it in my desk drawer.

Deprivation is the enemy.

The moment that I start outlawing specific foods is the selfsame moment that I start fixating on obtaining them. I believe that moderation is key, but moderation looks different for everyone. I have a problem (as in, spoon in the jar) with the dark chocolate peanut butter by Peanut Butter and Company, so my version of moderation is to have it maybe once every two to three months. It's not outlawed but since I know that I can't control myself very well around it I just don't get it as often. I've essentially tricked myself into thinking that I could have it whenever I want but I'm actively choosing not to. I'm not sure that even makes sense but hopefully someone gets it!

Be a role model.

Lately, I've been asking myself if something that I'm doing is what I'd want to see Cecilia do because copying parental behaviors is what kids do best. So, my goal is to create a relationship with the food in my life that withstands the scrutiny of one small, but growing human. I think that's the hardest part of this entire endeavor. She's my little blank slate. I don't want to be the one who gives her a complex about what she eats and I want to teach her how to enjoy food in a healthy way. The best way to do that is to be someone she can look up to.