So I talked about accountability last week. This week I want to talk about the stories we tell ourselves to justify our decisions and or actions.
We can talk ourselves into and out of a lot of different things depending on what we want and how we perceive what it is we want. For example if we are trying to reduce calories and shed some weight but we are faced with our favorite treat. We may think to ourselves well it doesn’t happen very often or just this once won't hurt. Both of these statements could be very true, depending on the circumstances. If just this once is everyday it will definitely impact your shedding weight goal. So whether or not you do it will depend on how strong your desire to shed weight is. For many people when they are just starting out on a weight reduction journey the desire is very strong and so is our lets call it will power. Our decisions are made at this time in the frame of mind that all my hard work in resisting all those things will be wasted if I give in, so more often than not we will make a decision that is better for our health. Yet as we get further into a program or closer to our goal things are seen in a different light. The desire is not as strong as it was in the beginning thus we do not always make a healthy choice. We start telling ourselves stories that justify our decisions so we can accept them. In other words we tell ourselves what we want to hear to make us feel better about our decisions. Now this is good for our piece of mind which is why we do it, but not always good for our health. We don’t usually need to talk ourselves out of eating more vegetables and fruits.
How can we get around this? Well I am not sure I can answer that. For each person the answer will be different and use a different method to help overcome some of the obstacles that we continually run into. There are all kinds of strategies that I have talked to people about using. Avoidance is the most common. Especially in the beginning for many it is easier to cope by just not doing some of the things that will cause that stress or put things that we do not want in front of us. For example if you are just getting started you probably don’t want to attend a big function with lots of finger foods and not a lot of real food since it will make it very hard to get the nutrition that you need from the food served. One strategy I suggest is that if you need to go, make sure you eat before you get there then you will not be hungry and will not need to try and figure out what you should or shouldn’t have.
Another issue people often run into is alcohol. It has a ton of calories and in general is not great for your system however many people want to indulge and that is your decision to make, just don’t use the excuse that I had to drink because everyone expected it. You get to choose what you want to do and own it. If you want to have a drink, have one don’t make excuses, it will affect whether or not you are shedding pounds or not, but that is your choice. If you don’t want to drink then don’t I always recommend sparkling water instead.
So you need to pay attention to the stories you tell yourself and you can do this by journaling and or having an accountability partner. If you have it written down you can reflect back and hopefully be able to understand why you did what you did. In some cases you will want to change your behavior or way of thinking, in other cases you will just live with it and move on.
Tune in next week for more discussion about lifestyle and food.
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