There’s an old saying in the weight-loss industry that today’s lunch is next month’s body.
It’s an interesting way of saying that everything counts and regardless of how well we justify our poor decisions we can never escape the consequences of those decisions.
And that’s exactly where The Habit of Saying No proved to be an enormous boon to my friend Christine.
Like so many of us, Christine struggled with her weight for much of her life. By her own admission she has tried program after program, read book after book, joined gyms, enrolled in aerobics, yoga and every other known weight-loss and fitness regimen, all, to no avail.
Christine’s challenge – and for many of us – was her seeming inability to say no when temptation presented itself, particularly if it followed a few days of discipline success.
By way of example, Christine explained to me that she would arrange to meet a friend for lunch and immediately seek out the salad portion of the menu.
Out of sheer habit she would then direct her attention to the rest of the menu and invariably land on something that was definitely not part of her nutrition program.
It is long been said that humans are rational beings. I disagree. In my opinion the more correct statement would be that humans are rationalizing beings and Christine has often proven to be no exception.
Once her attention was focused on the menu items that did not comply with her eating regimen her self-justification process would begin and she would easily convince himself that she was deserving of the burger and fries, that it really was no big deal and that she’d earned the right by virtue of dutifully following the program for the past few days.
Later that day the anger and remorse would kick in and she would berate herself for her “weakness” and lack of self-discipline. She would vow never to do that again.
Until the next time.
Tired and frustrated by her repeated behavior, Christine decided to adopt The Habit of Saying No.
And she added a new habit – The Habit of Saying Yes to The Future – to her practice.
What this meant is that Christine told herself to say no to those powerful temptations that would prevent her ideal weight from ever becoming a reality and focus instead on loudly saying yes to those days in the future when her scale, and the fit of her clothes both told her she was winning.
We’ve talked about The Habit of Saying No being a necessary one if you want to learn to say yes to ourselves and to overcome those feelings of guilt and anguish that go hand-in-glove with saying yes when we want to say no.
Christine simply applied The Habit of Saying No to her own short-term cravings and in so doing developed the habit of saying yes to the weight, health, body and vibrancy she has longed for most of her life.
The Habit of Saying No is nothing if not resourceful and its use has applications that can benefit us in ways we have probably never imagined.
If we can just remember that each time we say no to one thing we are saying yes to another and each time we say yes, we are also saying no to something else then good decision-making becomes a function of exploring those yes’s and no’s and deciding which one will give us a happier tomorrow.
And if it’s true that today’s lunch is next month body, then a happier tomorrow is what we all want.
Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.