Multiple choice: You stayed on your plan, your diet, your whatever, all week. When you weighed in you were a pound higher than last week. You A) Jump up and down and shout – HOORAYYYY!!! B) You growl at the next person you see. C) You blame the plan, the diet, the whatever, because since you followed it perfectly – IT must be to blame. And you quit. D) You accept the blip in time and look at your week and where you might make some changes.
Well? All of you probably are D, right? I have to be honest and tell you that I’ve done all of the above. Sometimes the pound up is a victory depending on what I ate. Sometimes I’ve growled. Sometimes I blamed the plan. And sometimes I actually DECIDED to view that gain and make changes.
I was fortunate to attend a great meeting this morning on making decisions. It was very enlightening! I’ve made some great decisions in my life. I’ve also made a lot of doozies!! I’m a parent and shake my head often at my kids’ decisions. (What parent hasn’t?) But to frame this from a weight loss perspective I am amazed at some of the decisions we make – as people, as dieters, as organizations, as governments.
The research shows that we make over 200 food decisions every day. Only about a dozen of those are conscious. I believe that. Think about it. Will I have breakfast? If I do, will it be eggs, oatmeal or donuts? If I have I have eggs will they be poached, scrambled, boiled, or over easy? If they’re over easy will there be toast. I could go on and on and that’s just before 6:00 a.m.!
With every decision we make there are consequences. Some of those consequences are immediate (oh no! I shouldn’t have had that extra bowl of chili!) Some are not as immediate – a gain at the scale the following week or perhaps higher cholesterol at the next doctor’s appointment. Maybe all the food decisions we make when we’re in our 20s and 30s result in Type 2 diabetes later in life. Bottom line is that with every decision, there is a result.
So why do we make them so hastily? Why can’t we think first? Why can’t we choose neither or both to either/or questions? Shall I have bacon or spinach? Both! Shall I work out or have a beer? Neither! Why do we need to reinvent the wheel with each time we try to lose weight? Can we learn from our own past successes? Maybe even get help from someone or some group that can help and are experts?
Ever ask an expert something 10 different ways phrased differently because you wanted a different answer? Ever want to eat something for no other reason than “I wanna”? We tend to make decisions based on our own set of emotions and beliefs. (Think politics!) But I wonder how different food and exercise decisions would be if they weren’t based on emotion. How would we eat if we were paired with someone not emotionally attached to us as our decision makers? I’d like that scenario (unless they told me to eat mushrooms. Then we’d have a problem.) But for good or for bad, we are on our own. And sometimes we want to eat too much. And sometimes we want to sit on the couch instead of working out. And sometimes we want the fast food fries. We obviously can’t wait on every food decision we make, but we can wait on some. Maybe if you really want the fries tonight, you can postpone them. Maybe tell yourself yes to the fries, but not until the day after tomorrow. And then who knows? Maybe the day after tomorrow you might not want them anymore. The emotion telling you to have them today is no longer there. Put some space between your emotion and your decision.
And allow and own your mistakes. Guess what? Out of all the decisions you make – you’re going to be wrong. A lot. It’s okay. Forgive yourself.
Make bad ones. Learn!
Make good ones. Celebrate!
Make more. Do it differently. Keep learning. Keep deciding.