Having something to look forward to is often an important component of stress management and treating depression. It can be very helpful to find a way to reward yourself every day. Can you make your shower an experience rather than a task to complete? Can you find some alone time at the end of the day to just breath (even if you have to lock yourself in the bathroom)? I’ve found a fun way to integrate this technique for a more joyful life and be more disciplined with my diet.
When I go out to eat, which happens a few times each week for business things, I stretch my dollar and shrink my waistline by making sure to save some to take home, leaving me leftovers to look forward to. If I stick strictly to this principle, it will also prevent me ordering french fries, which rarely warm up well.
In general, the servings at restaurants are obscene compared to the size of your stomach (about the size of your hand when empty). I have certainly gotten used to eating more than that at a meal. We have also all heard that it is better to eat several small meals throughout the day than just a few big meals. It is easier to restrict my intake when I know that if I am hungry again in a few hours, I can eat the rest. The same idea works at home, too, where we often eat more in a sitting than what can fit in our stomach.
Americans in general are not very good with delayed gratification, but it works for me to think about having something to look forward to and extending my experience, rather than self-restriction.
July 13th, 2009