Thursday, March 5, 2009

Positive First

The theme for this week seems to be "junk food" and people feeling guilty and obsessing over eating too much of it.

I'm still working on my methods for getting people to first focus on what they've done well, and second talk about things that haven't been going so well. Let's say last week, you identified a few things to work on for seven days. Maybe you wanted to stop eating after 9pm, or you tried to go to the gym one extra time, or you bought whole grain bread and more vegetables.

So when I ask you how its going, you tell me that you really screwed up because you went to the Olive Garden for dinner and had one of those cheesy pasta-y dishes with extra grated cheese on top... Oh, and three days ago, you ate a half a package of oreos, and you've only been to the gym twice.

Maybe you are feeling really guilty because you didn't stick to your plan for the whole week, and once you did one thing "wrong" it was much easier to do something else outside of your plan.

But maybe if you list the things you did well compared to the week before....

Went to the gym twice instead of once
Ate salads 4 days of the week instead of none
Drank three extra bottles of water
Smoked one less cigarette
Ate out one less time
Ate half the package of oreos instead of the whole thing

...Maybe this perspective is not only more optimistic and healthier, but it makes it more likely that you will be motivated to keep trying.

What if you make little improvements (sometimes over and over again) every week? What does that look like in 3 months? 6 months? A year? Five years?

When you are trying to be healthy, be proud of yourself for doing the healthy things you do. Then go back to the planning phase to address the other things. Feeling guilty is not helpful!

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