Thursday, May 21, 2009

“IF, THEN” ~ A Logical Approach to Healthy Living

For as long as I can remember, I’ve lived by the scale. What it says each morning affects not only my mood for the day, but also how I feel about myself. I did try for several months last year to stay off the scale, but ended up gaining five pounds in the process. I was literally lost without it, and was shocked when I got on it and discovered my gain. I’m back to my daily weigh~ins, and probably will stick with them always as they help to keep me on track, but I am trying to readjust the way I look my quest to find contentment with my body. Instead of approaching my efforts as “weight loss” oriented, I am looking at them as more “healthy living” oriented. While the idea/goal of losing X pounds in X days/weeks/months is a good one, my ultimate goal is to live healthy and be happy. In order to do that, I can’t just do a crash diet until I meet my goal weight ~ I have to make lifestyle changes and stick with them always to maintain the body I want.

To be perfectly honest, if I was happy with what I saw when I looked in the mirror and if my clothes fit well, then I really wouldn’t care what the scale says. {Although if it happened to rest at my “dream” weight, I wouldn’t complain!} This leads to my new approach to healthy living ~ “IF, THEN.” I was daydreaming the other day during a meeting {shush ~ don’t tell my boss} about how everything we do has consequences ~ the whole “if…, then…” equation. If my boss discovers I was daydreaming, then I’ll get yelled at; if I watch “Out of the Wild: the Alaska Experiment” with Nate without complaining, then he’ll sit through “Grey’s Anatomy” with me; and so on and so forth.

I can apply this same logical approach to my healthy living strategies, considering the consequences to my actions:

~ If I eat this piece of chocolate at work, then I have to skip the extra piece of bread at dinner.
~ If I work out an extra 10 minutes, then I can treat myself to one tablespoon of my fatty poppy seed dressing.
~ If I do Pilates instead of vegging on the couch, then I am one step closer to reaching my goal of being content with my body.
~ If I go on a four mile hike today, then I can reward myself with pasta with alfredo sauce instead of my usual marinara.
~ If I eat an extra piece of cake tonight, then I will have a new dimple on my butt tomorrow.

My hope is that adopting this “IF, THEN” approach will help me really think about the consequences before grabbing a handful of chips, mini candy bar, cookie, etc. as I walk by the “food table” at work {I am a notoriously horrible impulse snacker}, as well as the other consequences of my daily eating and exercising behaviors.

Do you think my “IF, THEN” approach might help you?


Anonymous said...

See, the If, Then approach would only work for me if someone was poking at me. I have HORRIBLE self control. I don't know how I'm back to my pre-pregnancy weight, because it sure as hell is not because I'm eating right. Sure, I drink almost 100 oz of water a day and I take the stairs at work. But I also am a HUGE snacker. I have a drawer in my desk that is full of mini candy bars, not so mini candy bars, fruit snacks, granola bars and nuts. I try to use the fact that I am breastfeeding as an excuse....but there will come a time (all too soon, I"m sure) where that won't be an excuse anymore. And I'm so tired when I get home from work, I don't want to do anything.

But I wish it did work. This is why I don't smoke or anything else addictive like that...I would be hooked WAY too easily...