I had an experience when I was about 14 years old that has always stuck with me. It was a woman I admired giving a lesson about making good choices in our lives. She said something to the effect of, "If you decide right now that you will never have a drink of alcohol, and I mean really really make that choice right now, then when you are faced with the decision later in your life, it won't even be a temptation. You won't even think twice about it, you'll just say no." I distinctly remember going home that day and writing down on a piece of paper the following:
I will never drink alcohol
I will never use any drugs or tobacco
I will not have sex before I'm married
That piece of paper soon got lost in the abyss of my teenage-self's messy room, but the words on that paper-and the internal decision that went with them-stayed with me throughout the rest of my life. That wise woman was right. There were times after that lesson when I was faced with questions about drinking-even teasing & pressure from friends-but I didn't even have to think. I just said no thanks. Soon people knew what my views were on the topic and they didn't ask. Those things weren't even a temptation or appealing to me because I had made the decision a long time ago that I wouldn't participate. It became easy & to this day I don't regret those choices.
Now think about this process in comparison to our relationship with food. Food is as much a temptation and addiction for me as alcohol, drugs, and sex are to others. Unfortunately, I can't just say no to all food and be okay. I-like all of us-have got to find a balance & learn to enjoy food in a way that also allows me to maintain a healthy weight. The week before I started TSFL, I worked on preparing myself mentally. I knew that one of-if not the only-key factor to my success would be making the decision to commit 100% to this program. Deciding that until I reached my goal weight, I would not have certain foods, I would not cheat on my program, I would not give in to tempting foods, etc. Deciding that I would choose health. Deciding that I was going to do this no matter how hard it got or what things crossed my path. So I grabbed a sheet of paper and sat down with my husband and made a list. I wrote down the following:
I will follow the take shape for life program exactly as outlined for as long as it takes me to reach my goal weight. I will keep a food journal on a daily basis and realize that I will miss out on lots of my favorite foods this summer. That's okay though...I'm deciding to be healthy and I'm choosing to do it for me.
Notice a couple things: (1) I didn't set a time limit. I didn't say, "I'll stick to this for three months, but if I'm not to my goal, I'll give up." I committed for as long as it took to get to my goal weight and learn be confident in the fact that I knew how to stay there. (2) I also recognized-realistically-that there were going to be things I'd miss. This didn't mean I couldn't participate at all, just that I knew I'd be faced with foods I love and wouldn't eat them because I'd made the decision not to. It's so important that we are honest with ourselves. We won't be caught off guard this way.
And guess what? 8 weeks into my program and I've stayed firm to the decision I made. I have been around a TON of good food. I have had people tell me it's okay to just have a couple bites. I have baked cakes/cookies/treats for friends & family, and made dinners for my husband that I chose not to eat. Has it been tough? Yeah, occasionally I crave different things. But as far as whether I'd give into temptation, there's never even been a moment's hesitation because I took a vital step 8 weeks ago in making that decision and writing it down. Now it's easy to decline. The decision is made before I'm even faced with the choice. Try it yourself-decide now to make a change. Choose now to be healthy!