Creating Win Scenarios

000dr bowdenI recently acquired a copy of Johnny Bowden’s book, The Best of The Rogue Nutritionist, wherein Dr. Johnny writes about habit.  You know I’m a big fan of anyone writing intelligently about habit, and that I often share what I hear on that subject here.  I’m gonna do it again today.

Note: The book is about nutrition, but addresses a strategy for developing good habits in an easier way. That is what I will talk about in this post.

In his book, Dr. Bowden writes about his belief that habit is a big part of what keeps us overweight and out of shape.  I concur.

He says that of the 5 biggest obstacles to health and well being, habit and conditioning are the worst.

He says we are beginning to be conditioned by our surrounding and caretakers from the moment we pop from the womb.

He says that our own unique combination of favored or loathed people, places, and things create in us habits that are hard to break.

Think about that for a minute.

What people do you absolutely love, or avoid at all cost?

What places have become your “happy place,” and which the abode of the boogie man?

Which activities make you tingle with excitement, shudder with dread, or salivate with the thought of a taste sensation?

Ever lay with your back against the wall, knees pulled up tight to your chest, blankets covering all but your eye holes as you stared into the a darkness that is your room?  Me, too!  Wasn’t it conditioning that made you so afraid?  I know this was my reaction to a lonely bedroom as a teenager, after staying up late, watching horror flicks.  I’m a wimp, so I didn’t do much of that as a kid, but enough to know I didn’t want to make scary movies a habit.

I’m enjoying Dr. Bowden’s book, small as it may be (it’s a teeny, tiny thing), and am impressed with his theories on habit. Early on in my reading, on page 25 of the booklet, I read this: “…when we undertake weight loss or body transformation, we need to trick ourselves into winning, at least until we’re hooked.” 

Dr. Bowden was talking about exercise when he penned that sentence, but what he wrote relates to any of those new habits we are trying to form when we begin the journey to weight reduction and a fitter self.  He went on to write about a strategy for creating winning scenarios that includes setting “preposterously, stupendously easy goals” when trying to form a new habit or learn a new behavior, like running, or dancing, or apportioning food onto a plate in the correct amounts.

Again, referring to exercise, but applicable to any new habit-forming behavior, Dr. Bowden writes, “The subconscious doesn’t evaluate big or little, but only knows success or failure.”  My take on that: If you set easy goals and achieve them, it is wayyyy better than setting harder goals and failing to follow through.

Makes sense.

I’ve been giving this advice to my friends who are parents for decades.  Example:  Don’t tell your child that if they hit their brother one more time you will send them to bed without supper. You can’t survive a tirade that goes on for hours, and a hungry kid is a force to be reckoned with, you will fail.  Better to tell Junior to go in his room for five minutes, and mean it, than to threaten something you cannot be fully committed to achieving.

My take away from this early reading of Dr. Bowden’s book:  Work hard to set easily attainable goals whenever you want to learn a new habit or condition yourself to do something unfamiliar.  Keep it simple, keep it easy, and you’ll keep wanting to win.  Your unconscious mind will register the win you’ve created and before you know it you will have developed a habit that helps you reach your goal without all the struggle and set backs that go along with a line of repeated failures.

No one wants to fail.  Everyone wants to win!

What habit are you working to develop today?  Describe your most recent win.

How do you do it…

DSC_0389…how do you say NO to that face?

Answer: You don’t!

But if you don’t, then you have to be willing to make a picnic lunch to eat out in the newly greened grass; chase boys around with a bubble wand and later assist them in their battery powered jeep; roll downhill with them, and then across the flat part of the lawn, just because they want to do it and want you to do it with them; and/or sit cross-legged on the living room floor for hours, playing with blocks, legos, and sticker books.

You drive them to the Easter Egg Hunt, and help them find the sparkle egg, so they can win a prize. You sign them up for the basket draw and you look startled when their name is drawn and they are declared winner. You do all these things because you want them to know that they are important, ultimately important to you, and that you love them and want the best for them.

These are the same reasons why I continue to get back on the clean eating wagon after I have fallen off.

This is the source of my motivation to exercise when I don’t feel like it–yeah, it comes from this place.

This is why I am taking better care of myself today than at any other time in my life, because changing the destructive things about myself is hard, but if I want to be a different person, a person who knows self-love, self-worth, self-discipline and the impact of influencing others for good, I have to find a way to dig down deep and discover a tenacity that once alluded me.

I have to want to get better, and that begins with love and concern for me.

Is this face the face that launched  my recovery?  No, but it is one of the faces that keeps it going strong.  I want to live a vital, energetic life for as many years as God has given me, and I don’t want to say I can’t roll downhill because I’m too heavy to walk back up again.  I want to walk, run, jog, skip, bike ride, and hike myself to healthy town, in part because of this face.

When I am tempted to eat that cookie or a bowl of ice cream, I remember that life is not about how much food I can swallow on any given day. It’s about staying healthy and being able to enjoy the good times as they roll by me.  Good times that include this face and others.

I will not return to those days of food lust and immovable fat.  I want more, and I will have it, because change is possible, and it begins with ME!

Why do you want to change?  What keeps you going when before you would have quit?

A Couple Things…

dog walking

It seems like forever since I wrote about my weight and fitness efforts, and don’t you know it, the date of my last post proves that it has been almost forever!  Apparently, I’m no good at being consistent with this discipline.  I need to do better.

The Stretch Receptor Works
I obtained the book Unprocessed a few weeks ago, and in it Chef AJ talks about stretch receptors. I’m not sure if mine went MIA a couple of decades ago, or if I was born without such a thing, but whatever the case I have not felt like I a stretch receptor for years before today. Today, I sat at my desk with a bowl of home-made beef stew and a plate of grapes in front of me and felt full before it was all gone. AMAZING! I actually felt full before I had finished eating. Will wonders never cease?  I’ve been praying about my food obsessions for a while now.  God is good.

I also been reading another book that has done me some good lately, in addition to Unprocessed.

Compulsive Overeater
I am a compulsive overeater and I’ve known that for a while. I’m also a sugar addict, so you can guess how hard it is to say NO to food of any kind, but sugar in particular.  It’s difficult for me to stop eating when warm, hearty, tasty food is sitting right in front of me. It’s HARD. One technique I learned about eating from Compulsive Overeater is to leave one bite of food on my plate at the end of every meal. I’d used this strategy before, but was never able to get completely free of sugar doing so. Today, I admit that even if I could be completely clean of sugar, it wouldn’t last for long. I have a sweet tooth and it gives me fits. I am learning, however, that I can control the type, amount, and frequency of sugar that I eat, and thereby escape the power it holds over me to some extent.

I refuse to live in a sugar-less dungeon all my life, but neither do I want to be snorting the stuff every day. Hopefully, by using this method of leaving something behind, I will find some balance between slavery and bliss.

Stressful Food Events
This weekend there is a couple’s event being sponsored at my church.  A candlelight supper will be followed by a movie aimed at romance in marriage, or at least that’s what I am expecting.  My hub wants to go. I have mixed feelings.  I feel like there are two aspects to this event that can set me up for failure in life.  First, eating with other people in a romantic setting feels weird and forced to me.  I have learned how dangerous it can be for folks like me to set the stage of life with food.  To do so gives it too much power in my life.

I like to keep food in its place: at home, on the kitchen table.  I’m self-conscious about eating in candlelight. I am definitely not a romantic.

The second uncomfortable component attached to this event comes from the fact that I did not sign up for the project, but instead had tickets given to me by a friend whose cousin died, keeping her from attending.  Actually, my husband was given the tickets by her husband, who is obviously not going to go without his romantic partner by his side. Do men ever enjoy this type of event, really?  I think my guy just hates to say NO to anyone, so he gets roped into this kinda thing from time to time.

Again, eating by candlelight with other people in the room feels weird and forced to me–these are the type of occasions when food can take me down.  I’m not sure what we will decide to do about this event. 

Frustrations with the Scale
I have plateaued and it’s really beginning to bug me.  I have lost and gained the same three pounds over and over again for at least two months, maybe three.  I was excited about spring coming, and now believe I have a case of Plantar fasciitis.  Fun!  My heel hurts so much that I am afraid I cannot walk this spring.  I’m trying to do whatever I can to get this injury healed before the snow abates. I want to walk, but if the heel doesn’t heal, I don’t see how I can.

So frustrating!

Clean Eating Continues
I’m continuing my search for more ways to eat clean and live a healthy lifestyle. I can’t stop or I know my blood sugar levels will rise once more.  I have to stay the course, but with so many distractions, it’s hard.  I’m looking for a good book to read on the topic, and would encourage feedback from anyone reading this post.

What do you do to lose weight, when you can’t do what you want to do? What are your plans for outdoors exercise this spring?  Which exercises seem most nature to you?

Calcium Slow Down

Calcium: have you ever had a problem with this supplement?

I’ve recently started taking Calcium supplements again, and the results have not been good. I don’t know if this is a problem common to others, but whenever I put additional calcium into my body, my digestive system slows to almost a crawl.  What’s with that? 

A few days ago I talked to a friend about the slow down.  She knows that I have switched to a whole, raw foods diet and gotten away from processed foods, well, for the most part.  We talked about what was happening with me, and possible options.  In the end, it seemed like stopping the calcium supplements was the best choice for me, so I did. 

I worry about all the potential health affects of not getting enough calcium into my body.  And I worry about the different types of calcium I might ingest, chemically created calcium, that is,  not from plant based or animal based sources.  I worry that I will get osteoporosis.  All women have to worry about calcium intake, right? 

I am really struggling with the thought of taking these supplements again.  Can’t I get enough calcium from the plant/animal based foods I eat, to keep me healthy and growing strong bones?

What do you think about supplements?  Do they ever affect you badly or slow down your digestive system?  What supplements do you take on a daily basis?   

Where’s the wagon?

Today, I’m going to concentrate on logging my food. The reason I am doing this instead of writing a post about my experiences with food, is because I HAD A BAD FOOD WEEKEND–I fell off the wagon. By Monday afternoon, not only was I not on the wagon with the wagon crew, but I didn’t even know where the wagon was located.  I was feeling lost again.  I knew I needed to find the wagon, get back on board, and resume my journey to healthy eating.  Eating unprocessed, raw, whole, natural foods is what I need to do to get there.  I can’t afford delays.  I need the help a better nutritional load can provide NOW. I’m writing this, hoping to move in the direction of the wagon. I think I see it over there…

Today is Tuesday. 

I WANTED TO GO TO MCDONALD’S for lunch and have a soft serve cone and a sugar free vanilla iced coffee. I did not do that. I’m not sure why I didn’t do that, but I think God was helping me do something better.  I also hope that unprocessed whole food distinctions are taking hold, and that I will once again be drawn to food that is good for me, food that is not junk. I’m hoping.

Breakfast: Burger King Sausage Biscuit with white milk.

Lunch:
Subway grilled chicken 6″ sub on whole wheat, with lettuce, spinach, green peppers, pickles, olives, mayo (small amount), and oil and vinegar, a navel Orange and water to drink.

I will probably have some more protein in the afternoon, about 2pm, and then try to eat a healthy dinner.  I’ll log the results tomorrow (Wed).

Dinner:  Green salad with taco seasoned ground round and black beans, green beans and brussel sprouts that were steamed, cantaloupe, and some home-made oatmeal bread with whole wheat flour.  Water to drink, hot air Popcorn for snack before bed.