I know you’ve heard of one-day at a time, but one-minute at a time? Come on, who needs that? Hum, maybe you do.
If you’ve struggled repeatedly, yet continue to fail in your efforts, what’s going wrong? Was it the way you tried to stop, quit, or cut down, was too restrictive? Did you say, “I’ll never eat ice cream again,” or “From now on I’m not eating that.” When you set such absolute restrictions on yourself and then the cravings and urges keep hitting you, washing over you like waves on the shore, relentlessly, repeatedly, it’s not unlikely that eventually you’ll relent. “I can’t do it. I don’t have the will power. I’ll never lose this weight.” The waves won’t stop coming unless you learn to ride them.
Learn to Ride the Waves
Get out your boogie board, and you’ll be glad for those waves. Think differently about the situation. So you’re riding a wave of desire – ah, there’s the crest, now you’re free falling down the other side – most likely you’ve forgotten about the wave entirely by now. Next thing you know, here comes another wave. What do you do? You ride it. Just ride it, and you’ll go over another and another. Habits hit hard, but each successive wave is a little less intense, a little shorter. By riding the waves you’ll find you can learn to surf them, then even enjoy them as they lose their power over you.
Sit on your hands if you have to, but ride the craving out. It won’t last. The toughest times are those first few days because that’s when your desire to continue old habits is highest and your will to ride out the craving is at its lowest. Even though your desire to change may be very high, the will to withstand those waves is low simply because your “usual” pattern of behavior is to dive right in.
Stay out of the Water
Post a “No Swimming” sign for the next wave. You can go swimming anytime but not this wave. Just this one wave. One minute at a time. If you have a habit of overeating, no matter what time of day, realize it’s just a habit. No different than a habit of biting your nails, twirling your hair, or picking lint off your sweater. Habits are acquired, repetitive tasks. They usually help us feel better simply because their repetitive nature is soothing. Habits can be broken if you are willing to ride the waves. If you’ve tried the “I’ll never eat …” again approach and it didn’t work, try the one-day at a time or one-minute at a time approach.
When the urge strikes, decide right then to ride this one out. Tell yourself, “I’m riding this wave,” and then as Nike says, Just Do It. That means you decide in advance that you will wait, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, or 5 minutes; whatever time works for you. Decide how many minutes you will wait before you’ll go ahead and do whatever you are wanting to do. A few minutes gives you a chance for the wave to crest and you’ll be amazed how often it does.
Every single time you ride that wave and get to the other side it gets easier and easier. Now, for you, it could be that it takes a thousand waves before it gets easier but I can guarantee it will. The day will come when you’ll realize you used to have a problem with this food or that, or you used to eat an entire bag of chips every night, but you no longer do. Now if you want a cookie, you eat a cookie but that crazy desire to eat them all has gone. The tide has turned.
Try the W.H.A.C.K approach. Read Changing Beliefs, Your First Step to Permanent Weight Loss. Free Ebook.