Tomorrow is my son and youngest child’s 9th birthday. I’m so happy that he’s maturing and getting older. I’ve never been one to prefer babies over big kids.
But with his birthday comes so pretty big food challenges for me. There’s going to be the Not My Food (NMF) celebration at home, the NMF leftovers in our house from that, and then the NMF celebration at school.
Given my intention to strengthen my resistance muscle in 2017 (and onward), I wanted to share with you my strategies for getting through something that in the past might have had a solid chance of derailing my healthy eating plan.
In no particular order, here are my strategies. I hope that you will consider trying at least one of them on for size when you’ve got a challenging food situation. As with all advice, take what works for you and ditch the rest! Don’t get caught up in the ideas that seem awful to you. We’re all different!
This is a very popular tool from Bright Line Eating. Essentially, you go to your support people before you head to the event and you say, “I’m bookending this situation.” You give the details of what you will be confronting and your plan for sticking with your plan. Then, after the event or situation is over, you report back to your support folks. It’s a great way of keeping your eye on the prize. Your level of awareness around your intention is at an all time high when you are bookending, so you don’t get the chance of falling into that trap of falling asleep and having that NMF accidentally landing in your mouth (how did that get here?).
#2 Limiting my exposure
After the big blowing out of the candles and distribution of the NMF, my plan is to put it away quickly and then get out of the kitchen for the duration of the others eating it. I want to expose myself to NMF enough to develop the muscle, but not get crazy and overwhelm myself with more than I can handle right now.
#3 Enlisting the help of willing family members
I feel very fortunate in that I can share with my husband and my seventeen year old daughter any food challenges that I am currently having and ask them to keep me honest. What works so well about this is that they are right there next to me during a lot of my most challenging situations. And I don’t mind being vulnerable with them at all.
#4 Publicly Setting my Intentions
Being honest about my struggles and intentions here on my blog, in my Facebook support groups, with close friends, BLE buddies and my Mastermind Group.
#5 Thinking only abstractly about the NMF
This is a really cool technique. It’s been mentioned many times by Susan Pierce Thompson and in a book I’m currently reading called Secrets from the Eating Lab by Traci Mann, PhD. Professor Mann calls this, “Change how you think about tempting foods.” A research study showed that children were more successful at resisting a given treat when they “were told to think of it abstractly, in terms of it’s size, shape or color . . . rather than thinking specifically about it’s taste or smell . . .”
So I’m not going to ruminate on the remembered taste or texture or pleasure I have gotten from indulging in the particular NMFs in the past. Instead, when I look at them, I’m going to think of them abstractly, as if I was looking at a chemistry experiment or a children’s plastic toy.
#6 Avoiding Rumination
If I find myself ruminating about the NMF, I will use all of the great self-talk strategies from the book Thin from Within by Joseph Luciani. I know that the longer I vacillate between the thoughts of “should I?” or “shouldn’t I?” the more likely it will be that I will cave. So if I find myself in that position, I’ve got to quickly decide that the answer is a firm “no” and change my mental television channel! If you missed my interview with Dr. Luciani, you can catch it here.
#7 Surrendering this challenge to my higher power
It really helps me to visualize that someone upstairs has my back and that they are going to take care of things for my benefit. It involves trusting that no matter what happens, everything will all be for my best in the end. Even if I screw this up royally. Why? Because if I do, I’m going to get more data for my collection effort and I’m certainly going to learn something! If this kind of thing isn’t your thang, just skip it!
This is a big one and I almost forgot it! But thanks to someone in BLE for reminding me because it’s soooo essential to my success.
For anyone unfamiliar with ODAAT, it stands for “One Day at a Time,” which is really the only way to handle myself and my thoughts about NMF that I might miss from time to time. I just say to myself, “This is just for today. I have no idea whether or not I am going to decide to eat NMF tomorrow. But for right now, this is what’s making me happy: not eating that food. I reserve the right to change my mind entirely about this tomorrow!”
#9 Journalling after the fact
This is also a technique that I picked up on from Thin from Within. I jot my thoughts about my eating experiences down in a dedicated journal to simply these thoughts and experiences. I have found that this is incredibly effective in reinforcing my good habits and making any changes that I need to make if I have slipped up a bit. Dr. Luciani gives very explicit ideas for how to effectively journal after a slip, including time of day, physical hunger level, trigger foods, what happened to your thinking during the episode and much more. Even if I don’t slip up, I want to record how I handled a situation so that I can refer to it in the future.
This may sound like a lot to go through simply to maintain my program, but I feel it is well worth the effort considering the benefits that I am getting from sticking with my plan. I feel happy, I feel thin and I feel free, and there’s almost nothing I wouldn’t do to keep it that way. I also want to live a full life where I can be around NMF at tons of social situations and celebrations and not have it derail me. None of this seems difficult or a pain in the butt. It’s a challenge, but I enjoy this challenge. It’s simply what I need to do in order to have peace around food.
A big thank you to everyone who is part of my team and supporting me during these challenging days! You know who you are! xoxoxo