We human beings are really interesting when it comes to be told what to do.
We just plain don't like it.
We want to be the masters of our own universe, regardless of the consequences. Truth is we are not very good at thinking about long term consequences. Easy and quick gratification is usually the path we head down. I mean I am well aware that eating one of those delightful ginger bread cookies that just came out of that warm oven is quite enough. But does that stop me from eating three or four (or six)? Not so much.
For instance, just try telling me I should never have something.
Never eat bread. Never have potato chips. Never have (insert your Kryptonite here).
One concept that has helped me tremendously over the years is "Not Now, Later".
Here's Coach Dan John from an article on Medium:
"Never say never. Cookies, cake, beer and bagels are not “off” your low carb diet. It’s just “not now” time. Experience teaches us this: if I tell you that all your dreams will come true if you simply stop eating rutabagas, I promise you I know what is going to happen next. I’m not a prophet; I am a coach. You may have never eaten a rutabaga in your life, but from now on, you are going to crave, demand and insist upon rutabagas. Change rutabagas to anything you like but know this truth about human nature: not now, later.
Whatever it is that you need to put off in terms of diet, time or short-term pain and discomfort, you need to remind yourself that “soon and very soon,” you can submit yourself to a virtual orgy of feasting. The funny thing is this: that day may never come as you realize that this temptress has long been forgotten."
Now, Not Later is a skill that takes time to develop, but it is may be the most important skill you can develop in order to create healthy long-term eating patterns. You don't have to eat "perfectly" (whatever that means), but neither can eat what you want, whenever you want, and expect to be healthy.
How does this work in real life?
We ALL have cravings from time=to-time (at least). When your co-worker puts the cookie plate in the break room at 8 in the morning, just tell yourself you'll have one later, like at lunch. When lunch rolls around, you may find that the only thing left is those gross spice cookies, which you wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole. That's a win.
Or maybe you have a real craving for pizza, like I often do. Instead of running down to Sal's to grab a slice or two, flex your "Not Now, Later" muscle, and plan that as your free meal on the weekend. Then have the pizza, if you still want it.
Just like your legs get stronger when you consistently squat and deadlift, your "Now, Not Later" muscle gets stronger the more you use it. And it feels really good to exercise that kind of control, much better than the very temporary gratification we get from eating those stupid gingerbread cookies!
We are right in the middle of the holiday season, and it is SOOO easy to overindulge in all the delicious food and drink that is out there. Remember, "never" is your enemy.
"Not Now, Later" might just become your best friend.
To your best health,