Opportunities to Change Your Thoughts & Change Your Life!

Opportunities to Change Your Thoughts & Change Your Life!

TriggersChanging habits can be hard, but making a valuable investment of time and effort to change your thought patterns and daily choices will lead to new priorities, new habits, and a changed life!

Instead of allowing triggers to justify unhealthy food and beverage choices, train yourself to respond differently. This means finding new ways to cope with triggers like:

  • The sight of your favorite restaurant or coffee shop
  • The aroma of freshly baked cookies
  • The sound of a can being opened
  • A stressful day at work
  • An argument with your spouse

First, consider what thoughts and emotions arise when you encounter your most common triggers. Do you think or say to yourself things like:

  • “I deserve a treat”
  • “I have been so good, one diet soda won’t hurt”
  • “I need a break. I will eat one cookie tonight”

Unfortunately, most of us will not stop at one, and the cycle of thoughts, unhealthy choices, and negative feelings will continue.

The good news is that you have the opportunity to break this cycle at any time!

Instead of entertaining thoughts and emotions that justify your choice to eat, replace those thoughts with ones that encourage and empower you to respond to that trigger by making a healthy choice. Tell yourself, “Yes, I worked hard today. I need to relax. Instead of snack I am going to sit down in my favorite chair for 30 minutes and read my new book.” Or “I had such a stressful day at work today. I feel like stopping for ice cream, but I know that that is not going to decrease my stress. Instead, I am going to take a walk on the beach. That will help me relax and burn off extra calories!”

So, the next time you are tempted to eat in response to the sight of a restaurant or advertisement, the smell of a sweet treat, the stress of your job, or the hurtful words of a friend or loved one, resolve to change your thoughts and then make a different choice. Train yourself to relax, manage stress, & enjoy life in ways that do not include eating.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started…

  • Schedule a ½ hour massage or go get a manicure/pedicure.
  • Take a nap–sometimes we need sleep more than anything. Address the real need.
  • Curl up on the couch with a soft blanket and a new magazine or book, and immerse yourself in the adventure.
  • Enjoy your favorite TV show or movie without snacking. Cuddle with your significant other or knit or drink water. Keep your hands full of something other than food.
  • Exercise – take a walk or go to the gym. Endorphins are released during physical activity so exercise often to enhance weight loss and improve mood.
  • Light a candle, listen to your favorite music, and take a hot bath.
  • Play a game with your child or grandchild.
  • Assemble a scrapbook or organize your photos online.
  • Write a letter or thank you note to a family member, friend, or co-worker.
  • Surf the internet – consider planning a future vacation that includes healthful food, regular physical activity, and a beautiful landscape.

Marcy Abner, RD