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Monday, 13 September 2021 11:11

Planning for Fun

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In the last blog, we spent some time thinking about how to make our weight journey fun. We looked at changing our attitude toward the changes we want to make and we compared the process to getting ready to take a vacation. I mentioned we would want to make plans for the actual journey, to make it more enjoyable, and we compared it to taking games, music, and videos along on a car trip or on an airplane. Let’s look at what that kind of planning actually looks like when we’re talking about the journey to our weight goals.

Whenever I want to get housework done, I make sure I have some music playing. It might be my favorite oldies, or it might be classical, or sometimes jazz. Playing music makes me feel less alone. It keeps me company and it makes the work I’m doing seem easier to do. I’m not sure why it works that way, I just know it does.

So, what will help me keep a lighthearted attitude when working toward my weight goals? Remember, we’re focusing on our attitudes and thoughts in this process. We all know how to read a diet plan, we don’t need any help with that. We want to have an attitude that this can be fun and we want our go-to thoughts to be positive and supportive toward ourselves and the toward the journey.

I have a little library of guided meditation recordings that I can listen to during the week. Maybe you have an inspirational talk on YouTube that keeps you on track, or maybe it’s a podcast. If we’re going to retrain our brains to think of this journey as fun and exciting, what can we use to do that mental training? We want to fill our heads with all the positive, lighthearted, inspirational sounds we can find.

Another thing I find helpful is to make up an affirmation that either lightens my spirits or helps me take myself a less seriously. Sometimes a single affirmation can do both. A simple internet search would return lists and lists of affirmations, but usually I want just one or two. That makes it easier for me to remember them and I’m more likely to repeat the affirmation to myself more often. If I’ve made it up on my own instead of researching it, I feel more connected to it. But if you’re new to using and writing affirmations, by all means, use all your resources to find something that works for you.

One of the affirmations I like to use is,

‘Every choice I make today feels good in my body and in my heart.’

If that doesn’t sound true to you, if you don’t quite believe that for yourself, you can start with being willing. You could use an affirmation like,

‘I’m willing to find joy in each step on my weight journey.’

Planning to have our inspirational recordings, podcasts, music, and affirmations handy on a daily basis is great! We are setting ourself up with the tools necessary to lift our spirits on any given day at any given moment. Now let’s do some planning a little farther out.

Even on a journey to a vacation destination, we can get tired. We’re not in our usual routine, we’re not surrounded by our favorite things and people. We begin to feel some fatigue and maybe get a little grouchy as we get tired at the end of the day. We don’t have the option to change our minds about going on the trip. We’re on the way and we’ll keep on going because we’ve done a lot of planning for this trip and the end result will feel great!

The same is true when we talk about a journey to weight loss. It will feel fun and exciting in the beginning, but as time wears on and everything feels unfamiliar, we get discouraged and grouchy. Unlike being on an airplane or taking a car trip, we have the choice to stop making an effort and go back to our old food and exercise habits. So how can we build in some fun for later in the journey? What would help us keep our spirits up when the going gets rough, when it all feels unfamiliar, and we start to get grouchy?

We want to make up a list of the things that lift our spirits. The time to make the list is at the beginning of the journey. We want this list available to us when the going gets rough, so we can pull it out and remember what it is that makes this journey worthwhile.

I recommend this be a list of things we don’t do regularly. I have talked about our energy boosters, the people, places, and things that energize us and keep us going. I like to think of the energy boosters as ongoing, regular happenings that keep me motivated on a daily and weekly basis. We want a different list of things that we don’t do as often, but that can give us a much needed, long lasting boost of feel-good energy.

My list includes things like a long catch-up chat with a friend who lives across the country, trying a new recipe, learning to play a new song, shopping for new clothes (sometimes), losing myself in a good book, having lunch with someone I haven’t seen for a while, finding a binge-worthy show to watch for an evening.

It might seem like none of the things I my list have anything to do with weight management, but they absolutely do. They help me interrupt my pattern of feeling like sticking to my plan is too hard to do. They get me out of the ‘grumpies’ and into a relaxed, happy frame of mind. They each satisfy me on some level that brings me joy and leaves me feeling more peaceful.

So, at the beginning of your journey, or wherever you are on your journey now, stop for a minute and make up your own list. Make a plan for what you’ll do when you get discouraged. Be prepared to re-set your mind and find the joy and the harmony that will keep you going on the road to your desired life and goals.

Nothing we do in this life happens by accident. In some way or other we have trained, practiced, not trained, not practiced, or in some way put things in motion that result in the circumstances of our lives. Some of that training and practice happens in our thoughts. Some of it happens in our actions. All of it works together to bring about results. So, why wouldn’t we want to make plans for fun? The more realistically we plan, and the more we practice by choosing consciously and joyfully, the more our results will come out the way we want them to.

When I blogged about motivation, I said that our underlying motivation is to be happy and to live a joyful life. Well, that’s going to take some planning. And just like the vacation we planned, the end result is so worth it!

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Betty Brink

Betty Brink is an expert on the mental and emotional aspects of dieting and body image. She is the author of "The Main Meal: The New Perspective on Weight Loss." In seminars, speeches, and consultations, she demonstrates practical methods to quiet the diet chatter, and to empower yourself to make conscious choices in diet, in life, and in relationships.

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