Easter weekend does come with it’s challenges, but that’s ok, because you’ve learned all the techniques you need to look after yourself this weekend. Challenge that inner voice that’s tempting you to move away from the direction of your goals – and towards the Easter eggs or the Easter roast.
This little voice makes suggestions, asks questions, has opinions – sometimes helpful, sometimes not – and it’s very good at nagging and persuading us to behave in unhelpful ways. “Go, on just have one”, “You can sort it tomorrow”, “You’ve had a tough day, nobody will know”, “Everyone else is doing it”, and on. And on. And on.
One effective yet simple way of dealing with this unwanted, intrusive thinking (because, of course, that is what your inner voice is – thoughts) is to use the STOP technique: consciously issuing the command “STOP!” when you experience a negative, unhelpful thought. You then replace that thought with something more useful. It’s also a lot easier and quicker to do than your inner voice might be telling you!
Interrupting bothersome thoughts with a STOP gives you the opportunity to think more helpfully, breaking the negative-thought habits and reinforcing a sense of reassurance. If unhealthy thought patterns have influenced how you feel and how you behave, so too will healthy and beneficial thoughts — but in a much better way, of course!
So here’s how you STOP it.
Stop stands for:
S – Step away from the situation
This might mean stepping away literally, like walking out of the room, or it could mean stepping away mentally – dragging your attention from the situation (think of the, “Oh look at that interesting thing over there” distraction technique that’s so effective at diverting small children, or for playing adolescent jokes on your friends). Doing either will interrupt the automatic progression to an unhelpful habit or behaviour pattern.
T – Think
Take a deep breath, breathe slowly in and out, and check how helpful these thoughts are. Ask yourself:
- Are these thoughts really based on facts, or are they my opinions and interpretations?
- Are these thoughts helpful or unhelpful?
- Is my reaction in proportion to what has actually happened?
- How am I feeling?
O – A
Ask yourself how you could respond to keep yourself on track with your goals. Remember, you do have a choice. Ask yourself:
- What would someone else think about this situation?
- What advice would I give to someone else this was happening to?
- How important is it now, and how important will it be tomorrow, next week, in six months’ time?
- What is it that I really want to start doing instead?
P – Proceed
Go ahead with the new response you’ve chosen, then ask yourself:
- What’s happened as a result of my new response?
- Does it fit in with how I want to live my life – including my weight goals?
- How do I feel now?
If it’s been effective, take this new approach again next time this situation crops up, and you’ll turn it into a helpful habit.
Remembering to STOP
Give yourself a visual reminder to STOP – keep a picture of a ‘stop’ road sign or the word STOP in your wallet or on your phone as a screensaver, or wear or carry something, like a particular ring or a stone in your pocket, to act as a physical reminder to STOP. Another great tip is to say your STOP out loud – that makes it even more powerful.
For extra support over the bank holiday weekend, the LighterLife Customer Services opening hours are:
Friday 30th March: 11am to 5pm
Saturday 31st March: 10am to 6pm
Sunday 1st April: Closed
Monday 2nd April: 11am to 5pm