Change… 10% at a time.

bowl of ice cream

Have you ever wondered where emotional eating comes from?  I did. I know exactly where mine came from.  I was a teenager and my Dad was in charge.  My Mom was on religious holiday.  I had a date and I had been stood up.   Being the drama queen that I was, I cried for hours.

This was my Mom’s department to handle, not my Dad’s.  He was beside himself, not knowing what to do.  Every half hour or so, he would pop his head in and ask if I wanted ice cream.  “NO!  I’d rather die!” I would cry out.

“Come on, let’s go get some ice cream.  It’ll make you feel better.” he would plead.

This went on all afternoon.  Finally, I saw that I needed to help him feel better, so we went for ice cream.  Voila!  I’ve been emotionally eating ever since.  Mad, glad, happy, sad.  Any emotion is a good emotion to eat!

Enter my brother the personal trainer.  A couple of years ago, he said 80% of the time, he eats well and takes care of himself and the other 20%, he has “No worries”.   I love this brilliant line of thinking.  It’s not complicated, not a bunch of calorie or point counting.  Just focus on taking care of yourself most of the time and not giving yourself a hard time when you indulge.

If I take this further, this kind of thinking can be applied to any habit we want to change or new habit we want to create.   If we focus on changing 10% at a time, we can ease into any new way of being.  You can change your posture, the way you talk to yourself, how much more to exercise or what you eat 10% at a time.

When people say, “I’m not eating sugar anymore.”  I know that is a new way of life that probably won’t last.  I think saying, “I’m taking a break from sugar.”  or “I am cutting back on sugar.” is more realistic.  I think when we give ourselves too demanding limits, it is a recipe for failure.  Maybe it’s just me, but if I say I am never eating something again, that’s all I think about and I feel like a victim.

If we have a big goal, it is helpful to add many smaller goals to accomplish on the way to the bigger goal.  For example, if someone wanted to loose 40 lbs.  They could reward themselves every 10lbs lost with a new top or pair of pants… Not this delicious molten lava cake below…

Chocolate Lava Cake

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