Are you sabotaging your weight loss goals with your mind? Part 6: I deserve a treat

Welcome back. I am continuing with my series on how your thoughts help or sabotage your goals. This week, I want to discuss the “I deserve this” thought.

After a long day or week at work or a stressful interaction, we often turn to dessert or alcohol to “treat” ourselves. I get it. I used to sit with a treat in front of TV almost every night with a big bowl of popcorn and some dark chocolate. It’s totally pleasurable to just lose yourself in yummy snacks and a great TV show. And, we think often think that snacks in front of the TV or at the movies enhance our pleasure.

Not gonna lie…food and alcohol is a pleasure

But are you using it to solve all of your pleasure needs? How’s that working for you? If you are not at your goal weight, consider 1) choosing to eat your treats strategically (I always suggest the my clients schedule their treats) and 2) finding other things that bring you pleasure. I used to have a small glass of red wine every night at dinner. I found something that I like even better – the NY Times Crossword puzzle and that I cannot both be slightly buzzed on wine and do the puzzle. I choose the puzzle. And, I still love watching great TV  (I’ve loving The Good Place, Mozart in the Jungle and Blackish right now by the way). But, I realized that the snacks don’t really enhance the experience like I used to believe they did.

Do some self-inquiry

Ask yourself:

  1. Are my regular treats interfering with my weight loss goals?
  2. What problem am I trying to solve by having this cookie or glass of wine? Is it really working?  (hint…that food and alcohol is probably causing more problems and not really solving any for you).
  3. How will I feel about myself tomorrow if I DON’T have the cookie? Proud, happy?
  4. How will I feel about myself tomorrow morning if I DO have the cookie? Regretful?
  5. What else might I do to relax?

What activities spark joy or relaxation (besides food and alcohol)

I suggest making a physical list on a piece of paper, index card or on an electrical device or somewhere easily accessible  to you of 10 things that spark joy and/or relaxation. Here are some of mine.  Update your list regularly adding new ideas and taking away things that no longer work for you.

Why write a list?

This list is a handy tool for when you get the urge to eat or drink after a stressful day. Pull it out when you have the thought “I deserve a treat.” You DO deserve a treat but you also deserve to get to your long term weight loss goals. After you make your list, keep it handy.  If you start using these activities instead of your go-to snack or drink, you will reinforce habits that serve you.