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The Power Of No

Like many people, I’m a creature of habit. As such, I find that when I want to change a behavior, the hardest part is breaking myself of the patterns that I associate with it.For example, when I quit smoking after two decades of puffing, it helped a great deal that some of the things I associated with my nicotine fix had been taken away… by force. For example, bars and smoking went hand in hand for me. There was nothing I loved more than throwing back a few drinks while lighting up an endless string of cigarettes. But then, New York City passed laws making it necessary for smokers to partake of their vice outside.

That was all well and good in the warm months, but once winter hit?

Did I mention that I’m also someone who doesn’t like weather? Rain, sleet, snow… all can make me whine like a baby whose candy was stolen as he sat in a soiled diaper.

It took a couple tries, but eventually, I managed to snuff out my nicotine addiction.Dieting, however, has never proven to be a particularly successful venture for me. I like food. A lot. And not just any foods, but the ones that are the worst for you. Remember when they came up with the “eat all the meat you want” diet? If that had been carbs instead of meat, I’d have been golden.

For me, a life without breads and potatoes isn’t a life worth living.Another problem area has always been random snacking… especially at the office.

Junk Food Meme

Like most workplaces, mine has a table on which people tend to put snacks. You know, the Halloween candy you weren’t able to hand out, or the leftover cake from Aunt Millie’s birthday party. Rarely is the table used for, say, carrots and fat-free dip… not that I’d be particularly tempted if it was! And although I’m not really a big snacker at home, I find little nibbly bits strewn about the office as tempting as honey to a bear.

Go-Live Supplies

And so, I’ve developed a trick or two that I use to prevent myself from partaking in the tasty treats. The first involves something we all do when trying to diet, pick up an exercise regime, start exercising or otherwise alter our behavior: turn it into a challenge. A little voice in my head says, “Okay, it’s been five days since you ate from the snack table. Let’s go for six!” Like pretty much every smoker on the planet, I used this same trick when quitting. After all, giving up smoking or snacking forever seems like a big deal… doing it for one more day? That’s totally doable.The other game I play is a tad more personal, and like just about everything else in my life, it involves a TV show. In this case, GREY’S ANATOMY.

There was a scene last season in which an intern named Heather — whom Dr. Yang had dubbed “Mousey” — did something she wasn’t supposed to. What it was doesn’t really matter, what does is how Yang reacted, which you can see in this clip:

When I’m walking past the snack table and I see the homemade peanut butter cups brought in by my friend Cheryl or the bagels used to celebrate someone’s birthday, I play that clip in my head. “Mousy! No!”I’m pretty sure I’ve never actually said the words aloud while banging on something… but when I’m hungry, anything’s possible.

Right now, I’m on day five of having successfully avoided the snack table, and that’s a start… especially since I’m going to be going on a cruise in just over two weeks!  But I have a feeling that it’s going to be a long time before I stop running that GREY’S ANATOMY clip in my head.

What tricks do you use when trying to lose a little weight?

Photo credit: Creative Commons License Go-Live Supplies by Nate Grigg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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2 Comments on The Power Of No

  1. Richard – I’m in the starting phase of a diet – I do like you and talk myself out of snacks. I try not to even look at the snack aisles in the market, and make do with yogurt instead of desserts or the tempting bowl of ice cream ( ok – I’ll confess- I never bothered dishing it into a bowl — spooned straight from the carton).
    Good luck to you – I know I need all the luck I can dig up!

  2. I love to cook so I make sure I have LOTS of snacky yummys that I can have! When I don’t have those things around ( like recently because I’ve been sick ) I totally fall off the wagon. I am extraordinarily lazy so if I have something that is “allowed” close to hand I am not going to get up and walk into the garage to the outside freezer to dig for the Thin Mints I hid from the children out there. Slowly ( very slowly 6 years and 77 pounds off ) the weight is creeping off. Yah, if I was more serious I could get it off faster. Probably a lot faster but then I couldn’t have those off wagon days when the Thin Mints are calling me with their siren song out the garage. 😉

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