Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What's a negativity diet?

I finally gave in and saw my nutrition and lifestyle coach last night -- Heather Pierce, aka Heather Wellness. I few weeks ago I admitted in this blog that I have avoided Heather for more than two months now, because although I might think, write and try to stay on a diet, I have been yo-yoing more than ever. And it was hard for me to face this person who is really committed to my success.

So after we got the hugs and how are yous over, Heather looked me in the eye and said: "How many days until the wedding?" Heather meant business. I could see it in the look she was giving me. And I thought, if Heather means business, so must I.

There are 101 days until our daughter, Kara, marries Bryan, which means my wiggle room is gone. If I don't want to look like a beached whale when they say their vows at the edge of the ocean, I better do something -- and quickly.

We talked a lot last night. Heather asked me some questions I had never considered before, and about the time our session should have ended, she told me she is putting me on a diet, one she calls the Negativity Diet. Of course, it's anything but.

She told me that whenever I use a negative word to describe my diet, or my lack of being true to my diet, I should turn the word or phase into a positive. So when I have been eating really badly, instead of beating myself up, I should turn that into a learning experience, consider what was the trigger that made me reach for the bag of Jelly Bellies rather than a celery stick, and tell myself that that is past, and the celery will help me reach my goal. That's positive.

Heather also mentioned some phrases -- "I wish," "I hope," "I want" -- that I must banish from my vocabulary whenever I think about losing weight, which is always. Heather explained these phrases take the power to succeed away from me, and I am no longer in control of my life. I have to admit that hit home, because if there is one thing I am, it's a control freak.

Instead, I will be strong and confident in my thoughts, and rephrase everything in the present tense:
  • "I will lose weight."
  • "I am eating well."
  • "I am eating what I want to eat and I feel good about it."
Heather says this simple trick, stating everything pro-actively and in the present tense, will put me in control. She also suggested I start writing positive affirmations on note cards or Post-It notes, and scatter them around my home, car and office, in places where I often go. Even if I am not directly looking at the notes, my subconscious is registering that they are there, acting as the first-line of defense to keep me strong and in control.

The first note went up on my computer screen this morning, before I started writing this post. My fridge and pantry will be next. And I think for added reinforcement, my side of our bathroom mirror will get one as well.

And then there's my car. I admitted to Heather last night that after a long day at work, my hour drive home is sometimes curtailed by a stop at a grocery store. And although I am often picking up things for dinner, if I am really tired, sometimes some cookies or red licorice magically appear in my grocery bag. So besides the note, Heather suggested a brilliant way to break that pattern: Stock my car with apples. I love apples -- the taste, the texture, the experience. It is the only fruit that can take me an hour to eat, perfect for my drive home. I take little bites, and chew each bite at least 25 times. By doing this, I can also eat the seeds and the inside core, which prolongs my apple experience. And if I am really hungry, I could eat two apples, or even three. That's a whole lot better than eating a bag of Twizzlers, and will make me say, over and over again: "I am eating what I want and feel really good about it."

In addition, if I have the urge to reach for something that I will not feel good about eating, I will e-mail or call Heather, my own personal diet lifeline. I am back on schedule, seeing her in person every two weeks, but on the off weeks, we have set up a time for me to call and check-in. And yes, I will be regularly checking out her Web site, www.heatherwellness.com, because that alone will inspire me to succeed.

I am also ending each column from now on with the number of days till the wedding: 101. I told you my wiggle room is gone.

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