Every year I say it won’t happen again, but every year during the December/January holidays I manage to put on three pounds of weight. So every February I go on a diet to lose it. Last year I landed on a strategy that, unlike every other dieting strategy I have ever tried, actually worked.
It’s my Just-a-minute strategy.
I discovered that telling myself NO doesn’t work. “No, you can’t have that cookie now”, “No, you can’t have that piece of chocolate now”, “No, you can’t have another piece of pie” inevitably started a dialogue with my two-year-old self. It went something like “Why? just this once. Then I’ll be good, I promise. Just one won’t hurt. Besides I’m so hungry…” And the embarrassing thing is that I inevitably lost that juvenile argument.
I finally realized that for me, saying “No” doesn’t work because I inevitably keep thinking about that forbidden fruit, and my two-year-old self keeps nagging with arguments about why she should have it.
So I decided to treat myself like the two-year-old who kept winning the argument. Last year instead of saying “No” to myself, I say something like “yes, you can have it, but read this article first.” Or “yes, but first get the laundry ready.” Or “after you’ve finished doing your budget for this month.” Or “take the trash out first.” And I respond just like a two-year old: out of sight is out of mind. It’s amazing but it breaks that compulsive obsession and I rarely come back after that initial ten or fifteen minutes saying “But you promised! Can I have it now?”
So this year I have three pounds to lose once again. I’m using my “Just-a-minute” strategy. Next month I will make a report on how it’s worked this year. I suspect part of me is still two years old.