There's something wrong with the bathroom scales!
I don't know about you but mine are currently providing some information I'd rather was incorrect. In true IT fashion I've turned them off and on again, but to no avail. I've even changed the batteries but they persist in providing the same reading. Its as if gravity has increased...
New Year is traditionally the time for resolutions, promises we make to ourselves and occasionally keep. And of course, after the Christmas food and treats, a time when many people are considering their diet. Setting off with good intentions first step is often standing on those bathroom scales to know where we are starting from. And that is where the trouble begins.
First problem is the bathroom scales are in the bathroom. Yes, I know that if you want to monitor your weight it makes sense to do so at the same time each day, and wearing few clothes so that you get a consistent picture, and so first thing in the morning in the bathroom is a sensible place to be. But trust me, its the start of the problems. Let me explain. Monitoring your weight is a mixed blessing. You get on the scales at the beginning of your diet and it gives you a weight. For many people the fixation then becomes measuring the output, rather than being the actions necessary for change. They get on the scales every morning seeking positive feedback. While the scales offer a reading that is headed in the right direction, there is a level of motivation to continue. However for many people, they aren't really prepared to deal with the sense of failure when the change is slower than they want, or halts. And for most people, at some point in their desire to achieve a healthy weight, the change will slow down, or even go the other way. And so within a short space of time many of the good intentions are left behind and the 'diet' has failed.
Now how about if those scales were next to the fridge? What if the bearer of bad tidings (aka the bathroom scales) was right next to the source of temptation? Often when people weigh themselves and there are a few more pounds / kgs than they would like there to be, its after the event - its the next morning after the pizza from the night before. And there is a sense of guilt. Well, one way to deal with guilt, is avoid the action that leads to it. Perhaps a reminder of the consequences placed a little closer to where the choices are made might help.
And how about those choices? Well, talking to people who are struggling to maintain a healthy weight the vast majority know what to eat and drink, and what to avoid, or keep to a minimum, and the need for regular exercise. Almost all of them know that the easiest way to resist temptation is not to buy it in the first place. It seems that for many of us, the issue with maintaining a healthy weight is not about knowledge, we know what to do, the issue is with doing it. The issues are with the habit we find hard to break, and with our relationship with food.
Comfort food. Foods that we crave, and often are associated with feeling tired, or fed up. Now there's an interesting phrase fed up! Most of us would associate 'fed up' with feeling down or miserable, and of course is also just how it can feel when you've had too large a meal and your body has diverted all its energy to digestion. Winter is a time for soups and stews, hearty warming food to keep out the cold. And these can certainly be part of a healthy diet, so perhaps there is an opportunity here. Perhaps with little more thought about healthy warming food, we can make some switches to more suitable comforting food.
Ever experienced that sense of on or off when it comes to food? You can manage not to start eating the chocolate, or you can start and find you eat all of it. For many people its achieving a balance that is hard, finding that stop button. So much of maintaining a healthy weight is about self moderation, so why is that so hard to do? Why is it that we know what we need to do, what we should do, and how to do it, and yet still not do it?
I work with one particularly talented colleague who has some great leadership skills and have asked her to take on some areas of work that she has had no previous experience in at all. Each time she has excelled and when she asked why I had chosen her the first time I explained that knowledge is the easy part, and I had no concerns that she could learn everything that she would need to know, I'd chosen her for her personal values, beliefs and behaviours. Those are harder to change and learn.
So is our relationship with food more about our relationship with ourselves? Is food just a diversionary tactic to avoid looking more carefully at our own beliefs, values and behaviours? I was running an NLP Practitioner course recently and we were learning about Like to Dislike, a really simple technique for changing our perspective on something. The feedback over the coming weeks was really interesting. It was not so much that the trainees had come to 'dislike' the food that had been the subject of the technique, so much they just no longer had any interest in it, it was no longer attractive. What if we could just make things that sabotage our goals less attractive?
The odd thing about new year resolutions is that no-one makes us have them, we choose to have them. And yet having chosen them, we then don't follow through and stick with them. So if you find yourself there this year ask yourself what was truly important about the goal? What are the consequences of not achieving it? What are the benefits? How will you reward yourself for putting enough effort it? Are you prepared to be 100% responsible for achieving your goal? If not, then avoid the guilt by not kidding yourself about setting the goal.
Or if you'd like some help to explore any of these issues, reach out to us