Stepping Outside of
Yourself to Change

Many of us are great at giving advice--to other people. What is hard is applying some of that great advice to yourself.

It's difficult for us to be rational and logical with our own decisions. Emotions are wants get the best of us almost before we realize what we're doing. Here is a technique to help yourself step outside of your own experience and make a different choice this time.


Problem:'Sneaking' food

Many of us stray off our diet plans when no one else is looking. While you may make yourself a healthy breakfast and lunch, it's easy to grab a bite of this or a nibble of that. The thinking goes, 'this little bit won't hurt,' 'I should just finish this off and then there won't be any left to tempt me,' etc. This is a pattern that quite often begins in childhood and therefore can be difficult to break. Of course, most people couldn't care less about what you eat or don't eat, however it is still most common for people to sneak food when no one else is looking.

Solution:

Before you sneak the food, think what you would say to a child who you catch about to do this. You might ask, 'Are you really hungry right now?' If the answer is yes, you might suggest a healthier snack such as a piece of fruit or a yogurt, or consider having lunch a bit earlier than usual. If the answer is no, you might suggest something to keep the child busy because boredom is probably the reason he or she is looking to eat. If the child is overwhelmed or otherwise in a negative emotional state, you might encourage him or her to talk about it rather than stuff it down with food. Commit to having this dialouge with yourself before allowing yourself to indulge. We are only cheating ourselves when we sneak.


Problem: You're discouraged because you've missed a few workouts

You realize you missed a couple of workouts this week and you start thinking, 'What's the point? I can't stick to anything. I might as well give up.'

Solution:

What might you say to your best friend who has started thinking this way? Most likely you'd tell your them not to be so hard on themselves. You'd point out how well they have been doing especially considering everything else that's been going on, and encourage your friend to just keep doing their best and it will pay off in the end. This is a very positive and encouraging approach, however when 'talking' to ourselves we tend to get sucked into a negative spiral of self doubt very quickly.


Problem: Results aren't happening fast enough

You've been eating well and working out for two whole weeks, and the scale just hasn't budged. Those oreos are looking better and better all the time.

Solution:

What would you say to someone brand new to exercise who comes to you for advice? Most likely you'd explain how building muscle sometimes causes slight weight increases that can offset the loss of fat that is happening at the same time. You'd point out how much better the person is already looking, and that they are doing all the right things. You'd explain that it's just a matter of time before the scale starts moving down.

In those moments where you just feel like throwing in the towel, try to step outside of your own head and think about what you'd say to someone else who is struggling in a similar way. You'll be surprised at how easy it can be to snap yourself out of a potentially negative downward spiral where you just want to give up.

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