How to stay on your plan even when having a bad day

The first thing we need to do is be the observer of our thoughts and feelings. I had a rough day at work yesterday and wanted a glass of wine to numb my feelings of frustration when I got home but I did not have one because I had not planned it in advance. I just felt my feelings and decided to have my own back and not give in to my primitive brain.

When we have something go wrong or have negative feelings our primitive brain’s reaction is to go the the habit that is the easiest which is usually eating, drinking, or shopping but could be hours on the internet mindlessly scrolling on facebook or the internet. This keeps us from dealing with our feelings but does not solve the situation.

What I have learned from Brooke Castillo and self coaching is that our primitive brain wants to run the show and wants us to use the fastest, most efficient patterned response we have already set up. We can however use our pre-frontal cortex which is our higher brain and decide for ourselves what we want to do. That’s why deciding what to eat and drink ahead of time is so helpful because it takes all the drama out of decision making and you are able to tell your primitive or toddler brain that no you are not going to eat a box of cookies or whatever your usual habit is just because you had a bad day.

Brooke uses a self coaching model that helps put things in perspective. Here is the model:

C is for circumstance or the facts of the situation and circumstances are always neutral. Your past is a circumstance.

T is for thought and for example our thought about what happened in the past or what happened at work today is what causes the drama or me to have negative feelings.

F is for feelings, positive and negative; allowing all emotion and realizing it cannot hurt us. Our feeling is just a physical sensation in our bodies.

A is for action, what did we do because of our thoughts or feelings

R is the result of our thoughts, feelings our actions created and will prove the thought

Here is an example of how to use the model. This would have been me prior to doing this work:

C: Ms. X said she did not want to see me today, she only wanted to see the doctor

T: She was so rude.

F: Frustrated

A: Drank unplanned 2 glasses of wine or ate cookies off plan

R: Gain weight

Here is an example of what really happened:

C: Ms. X said she did not want to see me today, she only wanted to see the doctor

T: She is allowed to think whatever she wants to think

F: Neutral or in control

A: Do not give in to urge for glass of wine. Notice my primitive brain telling me I should have a glass of wine but allowing the feelings of frustration instead and know it is a normal part of life to feel frustrated

R: Stay on eating plan and honor my commitments

Realizing that 50% of life will suck and 50% will be great really helps keep things in perspective. Believing that our life is always supposed to go as planned only sets us up for failure and is not reality which causes a lot of suffering. Suffering is optional, we can choose to think a different thought, which is mind blowing.

Next week: How to find a compelling reason for weight loss

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