About 17 years ago I got a puppy. Elsa was just so cute and so full of life! Before her, I had a dog named Nikki and I lived in the country, so we kind of trained each other in a loose, informal way of communicating and bonding. This time, with Elsa, I was living in the city, so I decided I would train her more formally to respond to commands.
Most of us plan a big reward for that day when we reach our weight goal. Maybe it’s a vacation to a dream destination that we’ve always wanted to take. Maybe it’s a whole new wardrobe. Maybe it’s a day at a theme park, or maybe it’s engaging in that activity with friends, children, or grandchildren that our former limitations kept us from.
If money were no object, and life circumstances were no problem, what would your ideal day look like? Start at the beginning and put your ideal day together. Where would you wake up? When would you wake up, what time of day? Who would be there with you? What would you do first thing, if anything?
Do you give yourself credit for all of the skills you develop, all of the thoughts you turn around, and all of the behaviors you change? One of our biggest challenges as human beings is to give ourselves credit for our accomplishments. We tend to focus on our challenges, on what we can’t do, or on what we don’t like about ourselves. One research study showed that 70% of our spontaneous thoughts are negative. So, we have to make a deliberate choice to focus on the positive in order to beat that statistic. And I not only believe we can retrain our attention from negative to positive, I know it to be true because I’ve done it for myself.
We’ve talked about the different ways we can reward ourselves on an ongoing basis. Can you think of how you will reward yourself when you get to your eventual goal? In order to be ready to reward ourselves, we have to do some advance planning. If it’s a trip, we may need to save money, look into accommodations, transportation costs, things to do and see at our destination.
Once upon a time, my Dad told us about a book he read where the author said he was inspired to give thanks for everything, especially the ‘bad’ or challenging things in his life. So, my Dad tried this out one day when he was driving down the main commercial street in his neighborhood. This street had a traffic light at nearly every block and, as was usually the case, he was hitting every red light. He started saying, “thank you for the red light, thank you for the red light, thank you for the red light,” at every corner. Pretty soon, instead of being frustrated and angry, he was laughing!
No matter what food plan we’ve chosen to follow, whether it’s a strict diet that eliminates certain types of food, or a plan that allows everything in limited portions, at some point we find that we deprive ourselves of some type of food. We seem to have no self-control or ability to stop when it comes to that particular food. Quite often, we use that food as a reward for reaching a milestone weight, or for having done something over and above our normal exercise routine.
I’ve decided I need to lose weight and I want to lose weight. I’m excited about the diet program I just enrolled in or the plan I just started. For the first few weeks I follow the plan to the letter and I see results! Hooray! The weight loss in the first few weeks is dramatic and I feel like all my hard work and all these changes are worth it.
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