Weight Loss Tips Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

One issue that pops up time and again for my clients (and me too) is that of the “comfort zone.” How many of you have once been at your goal weight but then found yourself slowly creeping back up? The odd thing about those situations is that you know what you are doing differently, perhaps not exercising consistently anymore, or starting to eat nighttime snacks more often, or …?

Those little habits and patterns are persistent buggers and unless you keep at it, even though you think they are gone, they may come back like the zombies in “Night of the Living Dead.” Hundreds of them holding your favorite foods in their outstretched hands, begging you to eat me, eat me!

Ah, but there is something you can do to zap the zombies: just be persistent. Whenever you are making a habit change the struggle isn’t so much between good and evil as between comfort and discomfort. At first, change, no matter how small, creates discomfort. Try putting on your pants the other leg first today – you’ll see what I mean.

Do Something Differently

Try eating with the wrong hand, or driving a new route to work. It takes real effort to jump off our usual path, and even if you tried to drive a new route, day after day, one day while off in a daydream, you’d take the old, familiar route without even realizing it, until suddenly, “Oh, my gosh, how did I get here?” LOL

I think a disciplined approach to EFT and NLP can be helpful. By that I mean nothing more stringent than each morning when you first arise, a quick round of EFT on any issues from the day before that might have bothered you, just to shake off any lingering “stuff” so you can tackle the new day fresh. “Even though I didn’t like the way that clerk looked at me, I deeply and completely accept myself.”

Then again in the evening, while getting in bed, or even while brushing your teeth, a quick round on anything that happened that day that might have been bothersome, “Even though I got angry in traffic today, I deeply and completely accept myself.”

I think the EFT is very helpful on those little daily stressors – the annoyances, the “stuff” that builds up and causes us to want to stuff down the bad feelings with food or alcohol as the case may be. When you use it on everything, even the seemingly insignificant things, it will handle those issues that most matter.

So much of our issues are beneath the surface, and rather than spending a decade in therapy, why not just start tapping away the trouble, one bite at a time

Dieting: When Life Gets In The Way

That pesky thing called life. It has a way of fouling up the best laid plans, doesn’t it?

First you decide you’re going to start keeping your car cleaner, thinking, “I know, I’ll wash it every Saturday morning.” Great. You have a plan. Saturday comes along and someone calls inviting you to go golfing. “I was going to wash the car, but I can do it later this afternoon,” and off you go. Maybe you do wash the car later that afternoon…

Next week Saturday comes along and someone invited you camping so you’re in the woods, thinking, “Oh, well, can’t wash the car from here, can I?”

Next week, you’ve forgotten all about your car washing plan, so even though you’re not busy you’re thinking, “I don’t really FEEL like washing the car right now. I’ll do it later,” and so it goes.

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” — John Lennon

I’ve seen it happen in my own life, time and again, as soon as I make a plan, something foils it. I join the gym, and get the flu. My car breaks down the first night of a new class. When the ground is dry it doesn’t rain, and as soon as you wash the car, it does. This isn’t meant to set us up with a pessimistic outlook but just to point out why persistence in the face of obstacles is what separates the haves from the have nots.

It’s not what happens but what you DO with what happens that matters.

The best approach is one-day-at-a-time, or even lesser intervals depending on what it is. With smoking for instance, it can be one half-hour at a time, and with food or eating, it can be one meal at a time, one hunger at a time, or whatever works for you.

For me, if I say I won’t do something anymore, it never lasts, but if I wake up in the morning and decide for that day, and only that day, that I will do something or follow through with something, then it does happen. There’s a real rush of accomplishment when you wake up and realize that yesterday you did follow-through. You accomplished what you set out to do. And that’s when it’s easy to decide your intention for that day (or that hour).

Let the success build, and let the lapses pass. It takes practice to get proficient, so just plan to keep at it. Small lapses aren’t failures, they are only lapses, and you then decided for the next time period. You will find that you are following through more often than not, as time goes by. Doing this allows you to pre-plan when you know you’ll not stick to your eating plan, and thus, makes it okay. When you give yourself permission it’s amazing how much less you’ll feel like overdoing it.

What about when you decide and something comes up unexpectedly? For instance, you decided you’re going to work out on Monday, Wednesday and Friday’s after work at 6:00 PM. This works great on Monday and Wednesday but Friday someone asks you to join them after work for a beer or dinner. Maybe that cute co-worker you’ve had your eye on.

What do you do? Do you say, “No, thanks, I have to work out,” and risk never getting to know that person, or “No, I already have plans,” and sound like a jerk, or “Maybe some other time,” and you know there’ll never be another time, or “Yes, that sounds great,” and then you berate yourself for being a wimp and not following through with your workout plan. Either way you’re not going to feel good about your decision, are you? You’re setting yourself up to fail.

A better plan: First, before you decide what you want to do, think it through completely. This is part of the “Creating a Compelling Outcome” process (taught in my 8-week course and used in private sessions as well). When you decide what you’d like to do you must also consider everything else that will be affected, and whether your plan is workable in the real world.

If you thought about it before-hand you may have realized that things would often come up Friday evenings, so you decided to work out on Monday and Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings, or some other schedule. Thinking about what might interfere is why many people do their working out in the early morning hours. Working out in the morning virtually ensures nothing else will come up. No one invites you out for 6:00 AM except maybe your running partner!

If you want to get up early, think it through. Are you a night person? Early morning hours probably won’t work for you, but some other time will. Do you have a spouse who’d complain loudly? Consider them as well, but don’t let others wishes keep you from following through, just consider others, and any objections they may have. Then you can figure out in advance how you could counter those objections. It’s basically a way to look at your plans from all the angles, figure out the danger zones, decide in advance on strategies to keep you on track.

Secondly, once in awhile you won’t be able to keep to your plan. That’s okay. Holidays interfere with gym hours. I’ve been annoyed when the gym was closed on Christmas Day!

If you’re making changes in your eating habits, do the same thing. I’ve done this successfully with many eating habits such as my old “Once a week burgers and fries habit” which is now down to seldom or a couple of times a year. I did this by taking my four times a month burgers and fries habit and cutting it first back to three times a month. Then twice a month, then it was easy enough to just stop. Once I broke the regular cycle, it was easy.

I never did go to once a month. Even if you associate your eating with your best times, you can still make changes successfully when you realize that not everybody’s life revolves around food – many things do, special occasions, etc., but not everything.

Basic Steps for Creating a Compelling Outcome:

1. Decide what you want

2. What else will happen if you achieve this?

3. Will anyone else be affected?

4. What resources do you already have that will help you achieve this, i.e. time, equipment, money, support?

5. Do you need any other resources to achieve this such as money, time, etc?

6. Is achieving this within your ability and control?

7. Will anyone else object?

8. What is the first step toward achieving this now?

These are basically the types of questions to ask yourself. Choose an outcome, go through the above questions and if you find you cannot answer them to your satisfaction, go back and change the outcome, then go through the questions again. Do this as many times as is necessary until you’ve found an outcome you know you can achieve, and then you will achieve it.

Remember too, you’re not setting up a perfectionist situation, but a plan you can live with and work with. Choose one small thing to change, one habit, one event. Achieving small wins daily builds to enormous successes, and life goes on. Enjoy every moment of it.

Then, when those special situations arise, you’ll know what to do, because you’ve already planned ahead, and even if you abandon your plan, for a vacation perhaps, you just get right back on track when you return feeling refreshed and excited to get started again. Relaxing like this on a vacation many find they eat a lot, play a lot and any weight they gain is lost within days of their return.

My ideas are meant to help you generate some of your own. More ideas to come. Keep those cards and letters coming too! I love your input.

NLP Weight Loss: How You See Yourself Part 3

How Do You See Yourself – Part 3

Making a Change when Others Don’t Want you To

In NLP there is a process called “Creating a Compelling Outcome.” Your outcome is what you really want, but knowing what you want is only a small part. Finding a way to achieve it, and whether it is even possible to ache comes first. When you decide to make a change consider everything that will be affected by your decision to change as well. This is how you can uncover hidden aspects that may have derailed your plans in the past, and make adjustments to take care of them before they become problems in the future. Your family members for instance. Who hasn’t tried to diet only to have their spouse surprise them an invitation to dinner at their favorite restaurant? Who hasn’t decided to stop eating snacks only to find their kids got bags of chips and dig for Friday night?

When you decide to make a change it’s as if the whole world suddenly conspires against you. If you really WANT to make a change, whether it be in your eating habits, exercise, work, play, or any habit at all, first stop and check whether this change will work for you and those around you.

1. Put yourself first. If you stopped to consider others before you took any action, you’d likely never do anything. No one wants anything to change in their lives. If you asked how they’d feel about your plans to make a change, they’d likely say, “No. I can’t go without pizza, I’ll starve.” Your husband may make a face when you mention eating less fatty foods and more vegetables. Your parents express surprise and alarm that you might do something unhealthy. “We’re only looking out for what’s best for you, honey” they’ll say while handing you a plate full of cookies. Sure they are.

By family dynamic I mean the world around you. Who you live with, who you work with, everyone you interact with is affected when you change. That’s why friends and family who at first are so helpful and supportive may start to snarl and growl when you ask, “What kind of food will be at the party?” Your change is forcing change in them as well.

Even when a bad marriage ends, it’s still difficult to say goodbye. Change interrupts our easy existence – it requires thought and effort. But look at the end result. A healthier body, a shapelier body. Less effort to walk the steps, more energy, enthusiasm and exuberance for everything you do. There are so many reasons to get started making a change, it’s just a small matter to deal with those around you.

2. Your Family Means You No Harm, Really. Understand, even though your family may fight your efforts to change, they do mean you well. They are just doing what comes naturally when the boats is rocked, i.e. they try to stabilize it. They try to get you to go “back to normal.” They want things to stay the same – after all, it’s working just fine, right? Even if there is trouble, it’s easier to stay the same.

3. Consider the Obstacles. Think through your plans to change and face obstacles head-on before they occur. For instance, you’ve decided you want to get up an hour earlier and exercise. This seems like a great idea, so now you imagine your usual morning routine and how it will change.

Example: You usually get up at 7:00 AM but not you’ve decided to get up at 6:00 AM. That means your alarm will go off earlier, interrupting the blissful sleep of your adoring partner. Are they happy about this? Probably not. No one likes their sleep interrupted, so what do you do? Do you just say, “Oh, okay, I won’t get up earlier after all. I don’t want to disturb you in your perfect life. I’ll just crawl back into my hole and wait until you die and then …” No, it’s not necessary to go quite that far. Instead think about what you want and why you want it.

You see them complaining, you see them making faces and acting disturbed, but you also see yourself quietly getting up and closing the door behind you. Then you see them slowly getting used to the new routine, complaining less and less. You may even see yourself being loving and supportive. (It could happen). Many couples have separate alarms – it’s not that big a deal. Don’t let your desire to keep your family happy take precedence over making changes that could greatly impact your happiness overall.

Now you’ve thought it through. You want to do this. You’ve pictured yourself scheduling it during the day, but you know it won’t happen. There is never enough time after work, or in the evenings with all the demands on your time and your responsibilities. You’ve determined that getting up an hour earlier is your best choice.

You are going to do this, and it will disturb others in your family. They will need to adjust, yes, but this is important to you, and letting others wants and desires come first isn’t going to solve the problem. It could be your partner will decide to get up with you – after all, who couldn’t use some daily exercise? Or, they will learn to sleep through your alarm, and set theirs for a bit later. It will work. If necessary go get yourself a separate alarm clock, and start using it. They’ll adjust. This is important to you, follow-through.

Make it work by working around others, but don’t let them dictate whether you have the right to make a change. You do have a right. We all have to make sacrifices whether we’re saving for a vacation or trying to get into shape to run a marathon. Show your family by example how to set a goal, then take the daily steps, and achieve it. Your kids will learn and grow from your example. You can also explain how an unhappy parent makes for an unhappy family – in other words, if mommy isn’t happy, the whole family suffers. Say it with a smile and they’ll get the idea.

Scenario #2: You’ve decided you’re going to go to the gym and work out right after work. Your spousal unit complains about this too (they’re the same one who complained about the getting up earlier idea, so you’re trying something else.) Notice how no matter what you want to do, they’re going to complain? Why is that? It’s because they’ve come to know and love their current routine and they don’t want it changed. Even if it means a happier spouse, even if it means a healthier life, they just plain do not want change. No one wants change thrust on them.

This is why it can be difficult, but it’s certainly not impossible to overcome the influence your family and friends will try to assert when you want to make a change. Change affects everyone – keep that in mind, and then make your change anyway.

Plan, Implement Your Plan, Adjust as Necessary, and Plan Again

It’s a process – a road map. It’s not etched in stone. You may make a plan (getting up earlier for instance), try it for a couple of weeks and decide it isn’t working for you. Fine. Change the plan. Maybe you could work out early on Saturday and Sunday, plus one more day during the week. A lot of people are able to go the gym or go for a walk on their lunch hour.

Use EFT For Challenges Outside Influences Throw At You.

“Even though my husband doesn’t want me to get up earlier, I deeply and completely accept myself and him anyway.”

“Even though I don’t want to upset my family, I deeply and completely accept myself.”

“Even though no one is supporting me in my efforts to eat better, I deeply and completely accept myself.”

“Even though it seems that no matter what I try, someone complains, I deeply and completely accept myself.”

Working through the emotional issues that crop up when you try to make a change and come up against challenges, is easy with EFT.