Yesterday: I maintained the integrity of my reduced calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I met my daily water goal, and I stayed well connected with exceptional support.
Yesterday was a good one. I really enjoyed my food plan, too, and that's important for me. If I'm not happy with my food plan, it isn't going to be something I can continue with any kind of consistency. The time and effort I put into preparing my meals is a way for me to remain mindful. The planning, prepping, weighing, measuring, logging in MFP, and cooking takes much less time than my brain tries to tell me it will. I need that time, though, to keep me mindful and aware of what I'm doing and what I'm eating. The years of mindless eating of whatever and whenever didn't lead to good places. This daily practice helps keep me away from those places.
|Yesterday's Three Meals|
Before you read the rest of this post, I must preface it with this: I must start each and every day humbly admitting that I need help and then, I ask for help in maintaining the non-negotiables of this daily practice. The disease of food addiction/compulsive overeating is a powerful one. I have it. There's no denying this fact because I've lived it my entire life. Not everyone has it. I do.
In order to maintain non-negotiables in the way described below, it takes a structured approach--the practice, each day. All of the elements are important. Staying connected with support, remaining accountable, creating and honoring a personal trigger list, and when it comes to emotional and stress eating triggers--creating enough space, or pause, to act instead of react. Acting on life instead of reacting to life is a big deal along this road. It takes intentional actions each day. These actions act like rails I can hold onto. These actions or elements become pillars supporting the plan each day.
How did you determine your non-negotiables and how do you stick to them when things get hard?
First of all, you determine what's reasonable. Once you define the most critical elements of your plan boundaries- and you've determined they're doable on a typical day- then, you make what I call an iron-clad decision. It's a promise to you from you, to give this element a non-negotiable stance come what may.
Think of it as a boulder in a stream. Life is the rushing water. No matter how fast that water rushes, the boulder isn't moving. The boulder isn't sacrificed or compromised. The water has no choice, but to make its way around it- and it does. And the boulder in the stream stands strong.
On a deeper level, this creates growth/development in other areas, like coping skills- it develops growth in learning what good accountability and support skills are about. The more consistency you gain, the more you'll prove to yourself that it is possible to maintain your plan in the toughest of times.
And that's the idea, a plan, not a diet.
You're developing a plan that takes care of what you need. In honoring your plan, you'll notice the side effect of consistent weight loss. This is what Dr. Lerner (Transformation Planet Podcast Episode 7) means when he speaks of the focus NOT being a diet, but rather, a food plan you can live with indefinitely. And it can still have the boundaries you need to feel satisfied. Especially when you reach maintenance mode and increase your calories.
But again, it's all about the daily plan--and not all about the numbers on the scale. If you take care of your daily plan-the weight loss will come.
How important are your non-negotiable elements?
It is the consistent maintenance of what you're willing to define as non-negotiable that creates growth, and in that--a natural evolution unfolds.
Think once more about the boulder in the stream. The boulder stands strong against the current and because it does, the stream evolves--changes course, grows and with the gift of time, develops different paths and canyons. If the boulder simply moved out of the way every time the water came rushing--the stream would have an easier path--one of least resistance. In the path of least resistance, nothing changes. No growth, no canyons.
I've often written about the effects of maintaining non-negotiables. The only way our food plan develops/evolves over time is by maintaining the integrity of the plan. All growth, all of our positive progress--it all depends on our willingness to create, accept and embrace certain non-negotiable elements of our plan. Determining what's reasonable is VERY important. If your non-negotiable is extreme, doesn't fit what you naturally like--is overly restrictive and monumentally demanding, it'll be a horrible experience.
Make it doable for you.
If we sacrifice our plan for whatever reason, the boundaries are broken and growth is stunted. If we develop a habit of consistently sacrificing the integrity of the non-negotiable elements of our plan, we literally become stuck--and often this "stuck" place becomes the very definition of insanity.
Life keeps coming. And there's no such thing as a "perfect time." There's only here and now and with it, a forever fluctuating rhythm to life. Let life flow around the boulders of your non-negotiables... and with the passage of time, you'll experience growth--you'll see and feel the changes, mentally, spiritually, and physically.
Developing your plan for accountability and support is important.
When we decide to create non-negotiable elements of our plan, we lose a coping option. Excess food was always my number one coping tool, albeit not a good one. It lied to me every time--because it never fixed anything.
When I developed my non-negotiables, it strongly encouraged me to either seek positive ways to cope or find other destructive ways to do it. We gotta cope one way or another.
My skills haven't been and still aren't perfect, but it's a practice each and every day.
Staying connected with good support and seeking out those connections in whatever way you can is critically important. There are many options available!
I'm broadcasting today from a convenience store/restaurant grand opening. My job will include a lot of on-air talk about food. The irony is never lost on me. It's pretty thick, especially when I'm regularly voicing commercials for foods that are at the top of my trigger list. But it is part of my job. I compartmentalize and I remember the practice that helps keep me well one day at a time--and sometimes, one hour at a time!
Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Practice, peace, and calm,
If you're interested in connecting via social media:
I accept friend requests on MyFitnessPal. My daily food logging diary is set to public.
MFP Username: SeanAAnderson
My Twitter: SeanAAnderson
Also--I'd love you to subscribe to my podcast Transformation Planet! You can find it in Apple Podcasts, in the Google Play store for android, and listed wherever you find your favorite podcasts! If you haven't listened before, you'll find 17 episodes waiting for you! More new episodes coming soon!