December 10, 2013
Having gained and lost many pounds over the course of my life, I have become very familiar with what I like to call “the negotiation”. You might be familiar with this, it is the negotiation that occurs in your head and frequently sounds something like this:
“Having beers and M&M’s after work is a good stress reliever, plus I worked out this morning so it’s ok.”
“I just can’t focus on eating right; there are just too many things going on right now. I’ll start back eating right next week. Or after the holidays. Or when the big work project is over. Or when things settle down at home.”
And my personal favorite:
“Well I just blew it by eating that cookie at work and since I’m going to have to start over anyway, I might as well eat that pint of Ben & Jerry’s.”
Any of these sound familiar? Over the years I have developed the ability to justify poor eating. I became the master of excuses. And I always knew the ones that worked on me.
Of course the problem with becoming this master negotiator is that I never consistently ate healthy for any length of time. I would “do good” for a week, a month, and sometimes even a couple of months, but inevitably I would go back to the old eating habits that made me fat and unhealthy in the first place. Then when things got to the point that I couldn’t button my pants and felt miserable, I would start the cycle all over again. Fortunately I started recognizing what I was doing and my inner negotiations became much less effective, saving me from my own version of Groundhog Day.
So how do you learn to avoid these types of negotiations with yourself? The first step is to recognize them when they are happening which will start to make them less effective. Then figure out a “counter negotiation” that is really effective on you. My best counter-negotiation is reminding myself how I feel when nothing in my closet fits anymore. Your counter negotiation might be how you feel when you are overweight or how it will impact your ability to do the things that you love. Whatever it is, make sure that it is very powerful to you so that you are successful at out negotiating your toughest opponent – yourself.