Let’s Play Dominoes
Thoughts are like dominoes. One thought leads to another which leads to another which leads to another. When you are first learning thought work to help with your eating, it may seem that the thought before eating is really simple. It can feel like the only thought you have is “I would like that” which may make sense to you and feel a bit hard to not act on.
The reality is that, it is probably much more complex than that. Yes, you may have a very simple thought about wanting a food right before you eat it, but that thought may have been influenced by multiple other thoughts throughout the day. Just like a big cascade of dominoes.
If you only ever focus on the thought right before eating, you will be missing a big opportunity to recognize some of the driving issues that may be creating the food craving. Addressing these driving issues by modifying the thoughts related to them will improve the day but also reduce the number food cravings you have.
And that makes your whole weight loss journey easier.
Your alarm goes off in the morning and you feel tired and don’t want to get up. You hit snooze a few too many times. Your first thoughts of the morning are about not really wanting to go to work and wishing you could stay in bed.
Then you get to work and see your day sheet. It is full and there are some add-ons. Your shoulders sag and you think about how long this day is going to be.
Your morning is going all right until you get interrupted by phone calls and suddenly are way behind. You stop doing your notes because you don’t want to leave people waiting in the waiting room.
You think about how you are going to have to spend your lunch hour catching up on your work and hoping that you will get it done before the afternoon starts. The afternoon starts and you are already feeling tired. You think about how you cannot wait to be done.
Towards the end of the afternoon, somebody brings treats into the break room. It feels like you have no choice but to eat them. Right before you eat them you have a thought of how good it would taste and how much you want it.
Sound familiar? I think we have all been through a version of this day at some point.
In this example, all of the thoughts surrounding the events of the day have created a cascade of dominoes to make that food craving feel so compelling. If the day had been different or your thoughts have been different throughout the day, the break room food might not have been so interesting.
How do you use this?
You won’t always be able to tell all of the different thoughts that led up to an episode of eating. And that’s ok- there are probably lots. But, if you keep a curious and compassionate view when you have food cravings you will discover some interesting patterns.
The next time you end up eating something that was not on your plan, ask yourself what you think was going on. What were you thinking that may have contributed to that food craving? When you come up with one answer, ask yourself “What else?”.
See how many things you can come up with.
Then choose one of the thoughts or situations that happened earlier in the day. Decide how you could think differently about this that would make you feel better and more in control.
Changing that one thought earlier in the day will have a positive domino effect and you may find a lot of the other situations or thoughts that bothered you throughout the day will not be as big of issues.
The moral of this story is that there will always be a domino effect with your thoughts. When left alone, your thought dominoes are likely making your day more difficult. When used intentionally, they can make the day so much better. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.
Make sure you click on the player below to listen to this weeks podcast episode for more information.
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