Today, I want to share my made up term with you and what it means.
The ‘Vacation effect‘ is when we’re excited about an upcoming vacation or holiday and think, “I’m going to indulge in a few days so why bother now?”
Since we’re not going to be completely in control of our food choices later on, we let it impact our food choices now — days before we’re away or the holiday.
Here’s what most people do:
They let the 5-10% of meals they’re not in control of impact the 90-95% of meals they are in control of. This is what the vacation effect is all about.
“Well I’m going away tomorrow or the holiday is on Thursday so I’ll start “fresh” next Monday, and I’ll eat whatever I want all week.”
Here’s what we want to do:
Let’s flip it. We want to make the most of the 90-95% of meals we are in control of (I know, easier said than done), so that when we’re not, it’s not as big of a deal. This way, we have more flexibility.
Let’s not let an upcoming weekend, vacation or holiday impact us before the actual weekend, vacation or holiday.
We’re still very much in control, if we choose to be.
Besides, the, “If I can’t be perfect all week so why bother now?” is all or nothing thinking.
All or nothing thinking leads to nothing every single time.
What does “perfect” even mean? Chasing perfection is like chasing the wind. It’s highly futile.
We’re much better off focusing on all the meals/snacks we’re able to eat well at, so that when we can’t (or when it’s worthwhile) we can indulge, guilt free.
In other words, let’s focus on the lower hanging fruit first. The routine meals/snacks before we worry about trying to eat well at the Thanksgiving table or while we’re on vacation.
This is not only sustainable, but it makes our indulgences tastier. Tastier because we earned them by eating well at all the routine meals/snacks leading up to it.
It’s always easier said than done. And knowing what to do is very, very different than actually doing it.
Do you always say, “I’ll start fresh once _________ is over?” There’s never a perfect time to start. There’s always something on the horizon.
New client: “I’ve been telling myself tomorrow is the day for the last 15 years.” 15 YEARS!!!
If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’re going to keep on looking and feeling the way you always have. Join MBT, a proven program, and we’ll help you change your mindset. We’ll help you get over ‘all or nothing’ thinking. We’ll help you change your relationship with food. We’ll help you change your habits and behaviors. We’ll teach you how to eat in a sustainable way, a way that allows you to eat all of your favorite foods, guilt free.
The ‘vacation effect’ is one of the countless ways we rationalize our indulgent eating. It’s one of the countless ways we rationalize a lack of action. Having expert support/accountability is one of the many ways we’ll help you counter rationalizations like this.
I think all of us will agree that stress makes people eat. Or grief. Or celebration. These emotions are fairly easy to identify and associate with overeating.
We’re all emotional eaters. Some more than others but we all eat emotionally.
Emotional eating is eating to change the way we feel. Many of us eat when we feel stressed or happy or sad.
When we’re feeling like nothing but a big tangled ball of emotions after a long day / week, and we haven’t yet pinpointed what we’re feeling, or why, food seems like an easy way out.
And while food can certainly provide us an escape (albeit a temporary one), sitting with what feels like a big ball of feelings (as opposed to suppressing it with food) can help us sort through things so we can really identify what’s going on.
When there’s a lot going on, the key is to sorta act like Vanilla Ice (wow, never thought I’d write that) and instead of, “Stopping, collaborating and listening” we want to slow down, look, listen and feel.
Because if we don’t, this overwhelming feeling can create so much noise in our head from all of the stuff that is going on in our lives, that the idea of going into what I call a ‘food trance’ seems so appealing. (You know, where you just eat and eat so you don’t have to think and think.)
When we’re tempted to overeat because we feel overwhelmed (and perhaps that’s what you’re feeling), it’s helpful that we:
Be really S P E C I F I C about what our big tangled up ball of emotions actually consists of. Imagine it as a giant rubber band ball (remember those things?) and one by one we want to take off one rubber band at a time.
One by one we’re getting specific and identifying what our ambiguous feelings actually consist of. Essentially, we’re figuring out EXACTLY what is on our mind…
I’m stressed because of A…
I’m overwhelmed because of B…
I have to get X, Y and Z done by the end of the week…
I have to reply to so and so…
I have to RSVP to X.
Get it all out there. All of it!
Then, the real magic happens when we come up with ways to deal with each “rubber band”. Having a plan for each item that is renting space in our head, and knowing exactly what each “rubber band” is, is way more comfortable than feeling like a giant ball of emotions because we have a “million” things on our mind, without any plan.
While food gives us momentary escape (and this is why our short term, irrational mind is so drawn to this), it blocks us from reaching a long-term solution.
When we work to understand exactly what we’re feeling and what is on our mind, life is a little (or a lot) more relaxing, enjoyable and manageable because we’re not as “stressed” or “overwhelmed”. When it comes down to it, we’re usually stressed and overwhelmed because of a few things. Pinpointing what they are makes a big difference in how we feel, and how we feel makes a big difference in how we eat.
Like this post? You’ll love our program! This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to emotional eating. Helping our clients overcome emotional eating is a big part of what we do.
Notice how psychological this post is? This is one of the reasons why MBT works so well. This is why so many “diets” out there fail. They don’t address the psychology of weight loss. For the most part, it’s not a question of knowing what to do!
It’s a question of actually doing it. The answer to that is all in your psychology. Of course, we’ll tell you exactly what to do in order to reach your goals. But we’ll make sure you actually do it day in and day out. That’s the key. It’s one of the reasons why we get the results we do. Learn more about our proven program here.
Let’s get tactical, tactical, I wanna get tactical, let’s get into tactical…
Today, as you might have guessed, I want to get tactical.
First off, a note on why you don’t always get “tactical” posts from me.
I HATE articles that say, “Eat these 10 amazing foods!” Or, “Do these 5 magical exercises!” Why? Because 2/3 of America is not overweight because we don’t know what to do. A lack of knowledge is not the real problem. (If anything there is too much information out there – which causes people to feel confused = do nothing.)
It’s not about a lack of knowledge. It’s about a lack of consistent action. That’s the hard part.
When someone says, “Just eat less and move more!” it makes my blood boil. Sure, “Just eat less and move more!” sounds good but it doesn’t address the psychology of weight loss.
Tactics without the right mindset is like getting bariatric surgery without understanding WHY we’re overeating in the first place. If we don’t understand the root cause, we’re just delaying the inevitable —–> gaining the weight back.
Without a foundation, people’s efforts are a waste of time. This isn’t even taking into account all of the unsustainable diets people try to follow (the could I see myself doing this in five years from now type of diet. If yes = good! If no “Um, I can’t see myself only drinking shakes 3x a day in five years from now” – that = bad.).
I can write a whole book on this so I’ll get into the tactics now.
But I encourage you to check out this post I wrote a while back, “Why I’ll probably never write a bestselling health and fitness book“.
Many of you tell me that you always feel hungry. I hear you!
First off, let’s ask ourselves this question while we’re thinking rationally: Is it possible to be hungry all the time?
Rationally, we know that it’s not possible to be hungry all the time. So what gives?
Well, most of the time it’s EMOTIONAL hunger NOT physical.
Physical hunger comes on gradually. Emotional hunger comes on suddenly. Real hunger can be satisfied with any food. Yes, that’s right – if raw broccoli doesn’t satisfy our hunger, we’re not physically hungry. If the idea of eating vegetables doesn’t seem appealing to us we’re not physically hungry.
Tip: Many times we finish the food in front of us simply because it’s, well, in front of us. Try asking yourself this question mid-meal, “Would I eat raw broccoli right now?” If the answer is no, you’re not physically hungry anymore.
Tip: That’s why the easiest way to eat less is to serve ourselves less. We can’t eat what’s not there.
Emotional hunger comes with a craving for a specific food. And unfortunately, it’s usually not for broccoli.
When we get ‘hungry’ it’s worth asking ourselves a few questions:
1. How long has it been since I’ve eaten?
2. What was the last thing I ate?
3. Was it something nutritious?
If you suspect your hunger might be emotional, ask yourself what you might be really hungry for?
Perhaps, it’s affection, assistance, rest, excitement, peace of mind…
Is it possible to have the need met by someone? How about by yourself?
Here’s the challenge: Many times we feel like our needs can’t or won’t get met so food becomes our escape.
When we’re ‘hungry’ that is one need we feel like we can control.
ABOUT TO EMOTIONALLY EAT?
As you know, I’m a big fan of asking ourselves questions. Questions change our perspective. And that’s what it’s all about.
If you’re about to emotionally eat, ask yourself:
1. What’s really bothering me? Or what am I really hungry for?
2. What can I do about it?
3. Why don’t I do anything about it? —-> This is the kicker. Because while it might be “easier” in the short run to choose to be powerLESS in the moment rather than be powerFUL, it’s like the annoying door to door salesmen. If we don’t answer the door, they’ll keep knocking. Why not answer it sooner rather than later.
Unless you answer the door, you’ll just keep suppressing emotions.
Can’t be powerFUL, no matter what?
Sometimes, it can be very helpful to explore what it feels like to have the need go unmet by simply writing about it, and many clients have reported that this eases the discomfort, and of course, like all discomfort (and pleasure) it subsides.
This is also how to find out what you might really want out of your life because typically we’d shovel food into our mouth so we don’t have to experience or face the feelings.
When we’re not suppressing those feelings, they’ll come to the surface, and we’ll be able to see what it is we really want.
Otherwise, we’re using food to cover up feelings.
Feelings that might be preventing us from becoming the person we really want to be.
Are you an emotional eater? This is the tip of the iceberg of what you’ll learn as an MBT client. Consider joining my proven program to help you overcome emotional eating once and for all. If it worked for all of these clients, it’ll work for you too. (Guaranteed or your money back. That’s how much I believe in what we offer.)
On Sunday, I watched the NYC marathon from a bunch of different points along the 26.219 route.
As usual, I purposely saved the finish line for my last stop. This is where the good stuff is. This is where the inspiration is.
People crossing the finish line 6+ hours into a marathon are not running through the finish line. They are barely jogging. Many are walking, usually limping, and in a lot of visible pain.
So, as I was watching person after person cross the finish line with their arms up in triumph, a recurring thought kept hitting me:
These people resolved that, no matter what, they were going to finish. No matter how long it took them, they’d cross that line!
In this journey of life, there aren’t many cut and dry markers like start and finish lines.
However, there are a ton of marathons we choose to enter (whether we realize it or not).
Let’s define a marathon in life as a process.
—> The reason why getting the body we want is so hard is because it’s a process. Not an event.
Dating is a process. Building a company is a process. Establishing trust is a process. And getting the body we want is a process.
Events, on the other hand, are easier to manage, and get excited about.
For example, going to the gym is an event. We go, we exercise, and we’re done. Events are usually harder to start but easier to keep on going once we start.
Weight loss, though, is a process. Processes are usually easier to start but much harder to keep on going. Weight loss requires us to show up each day, meal after meal. Processes consist of lots of events. (This is why having daily support and accountability is so important for weight loss. Otherwise, it’s too easy to disappear.)
Hopefully, whatever marathons we choose to pursue are worthwhile ones. It’s easier to get through the inevitable discomfort we’ll face when we focus on the benefits. Of course having support makes all of the difference – and in fact, every runner I asked post marathon said the cheering of the crowd is what kept them going.
But here’s the critical mistake so many of us make: If we’re going to decide to start a marathon, let’s decide up front that we will not quit when the going gets tough.
No matter what it takes, let’s fight to back that commitment up.
Here’s the thing:
When it’s easy…it’s easy. It’s not always easy though.
There’s going to be challenging days and weeks. There’s going to be times when we don’t feel like continuing. There’s going to be times when we’re bored. There’s going to be times when we question everything. There’s going to be tough times! This is inevitable.
It’s “easy” to run the first few miles of the marathon. Some easily make it to mile 20 or so. But then “The Wall” hits. Success doesn’t happen when it feels easy. Success happens when we hit the wall. (This is why I believe in our program so much. We’re with you every single day, through the ups and downs giving you expert feedback and guidance, until you reach your goal.)
One of my friends is a couple’s counselor. She has a flawless track record.
It’s pretty simple. She asks them one question.
The one question that sets her apart and makes her successful is this:
At the very beginning, before the first session, she asks her patients: “Are you considering divorce?”
If the answer is yes, she refuses to take them on.
Because there really aren’t degrees of commitment. As soon as we consider giving up on anything, we are looking for reasons to support that decision.
If we, instead, commit to a project, or mission, or marriage, then we look for reasons to stick with it.
And when it comes to our health and fitness the reasons to stick with it are endless.
P.S. As a product of divorced parents, I am in no way, shape or form advocating that parents should stick to their marriage, if it’s not working. I think the best thing parents can do for their children is be happy themselves (whether it’s together or not). Although, people who are happier with themselves are usually in happier relationships. As they say, it takes one person to be in a happy relationship.
Ha! I have to laugh at the subject line because it reminds me of those TV commercials — “Do you wish you had more time in the day? Do you think about the future? Do you think about the past? Do you worry sometimes? Do you breathe?”
Suddenly, I’m all like “Oh my…I think I have that!”
It’s like Medical Students’ Disease — a condition frequently reported in medical students, who perceive themselves or others to be experiencing the diseases(s) they are studying.
Anyway, I digress….
Let’s talk about reality today. No, not reality TV! (Although, I could talk about that too.)
I’m talking about reality, like, LIFE.
Reality is always worth talking about.
When our life feels like it’s all out of whack, our diet and exercise tends to mimic that. When we’re stressed or upset or anxious, we tend to forget about everything else – especially eating well and exercising.
Whenever we’re unhappy about something that’s out of our control, we are fighting reality. Whether it’s traffic, people in our life, weather, and a million other things. Anything that we can’t control is what I call reality.
Why does this matter?
The less we fight reality, and love what is, the less we’ll suffer and the happier we’ll be…
…and the happier we are, the less emotional eating we’ll do, and the less our health and fitness will suffer.
Why bother loving reality or what is? Besides what I just wrote above, here’s why: No amount of wishing or hoping will change it. No matter how much we hope or wish, we can’t change things we can’t control.
But WHY we insist?
“Why is this happening? Why did it happen? Why is it like this? Why did he/she do that? Why me? Why is the bus late!?! Why is there so much traffic!?!? Why is he like that?! Why is my kid misbehaving?! Why is she so unappreciative!? Why is he such a jerk!? Why is my boss a jerk?! What are my customers/clients so rude? Why????????????????????”
Cats meow and dogs bark! And whatever happened happened. No amount of fighting or hoping can or will change it.
The sooner we become a lover of reality, of accepting what is, the happier we’ll be and the less we’ll suffer.
Fighting reality is like hoping a cat will bark and a dog will meow.
Don’t think for a second I don’t freak out every now and then. Everything I write is aspirational. However, I do believe we can try to make the best of our lives. I do believe we can *try* to not dwell on things we can’t control.
For me, saying, “Cats meow, dogs bark and whatever happened happened,” helps puts things into perspective. It reminds that it is what it is. Besides, when is it not what it is?
It reminds me to stop crying over spilled milk.
A cat will always meow. A dog will always bark. And reality…will always be reality.
I find that focusing on things we CAN control, and actually taking control, is far more empowering.
Here’s an exercise that has helped many MBT-ers:
Step 1) Get out a sheet of paper or open up a new word document.
Step 2) Make a list of everything on your mind that is bothering you. Everything!
Step 3) Make another list of everything on that first list (step 2) that you can actually control.
Step 4) Only focus on that second list.
Here’s the tricky part: Sometimes, it’s easier to only focus on what we can’t control. Why? It’s easier to remain stuck than take action.
It’s easier to play the blame game.
Remember: Blame = Be Lame.
Blaming will make you feel lame. It’ll make you feel powerless. It’ll make you feel out of control.
Want a mantra next time you’re fighting reality? Use mine!
“If I can’t change what is, I might as well love what is. Otherwise, I’m going to suffer.”
What are some things you fight that are beyond your control?
What are you going to do next time you find yourself fighting it?
Why do I write about topics like this? Because it drives me crazy when “experts” believe better health is only about eating these “10 magic foods” or doing these “miracle exercises”. Fortunately, I don’t live in a bubble like they apparently do. Life happens! Life gets tricky. Life gets hard.
Everything impacts everything.
One of the key things I’ve realized: Being healthy and fit makes it easier to be happy. And being happy makes it easier to be healthy and fit.
I hope this post helps you protect / increase your happiness!