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6. Once you have jotted down everything related to minutes before you ate (you may start out with very little to say but as you warm to this exercise, you will find yourself recording more and more information), consider how you felt directly afterwards. Did you feel satiated and serene? Did you feel proud of your food choices? Were you satisfied with all your selections? Did you feel stuffed and uncomfortable? Did you feel guilty about choices you made? Were you angry with yourself for giving in to temptation and blowing your diet for day? Did food make you light and energetic or heavy and sleepy? Did you think about tomorrow morning's weigh-in with dread or anticipation?
7. Take a look at day from perspective of now (last thing in evening or a look back following morning). Try to look at your entries as if they belonged to someone else. As a dispassionate third party, what are your conclusions about individual who recorded this data? Is this a self-aware, consciously motivated person or someone who lives on auto-pilot with little planning or direction? Is this someone who has internalized their diet goals and attempts to control their environment and intake? Is this an individual who merely 'talks talk" but pursues actions that break those verbal rules? Is this a happy person who is cheerfully continuing weight struggle with a sense of humor and self-forgiveness? Or is this someone who resents conspiracies of nature which attempt to load on as much fat as possible, to ward off some improbable future famine?
8. If you are generally satisfied with day's food intake, give yourself a mental pat on back and relish day's accomplishment. Promise yourself that one great day proves forever that you can do it. Identify a small, non-edible, reward for your self-discipline, inner strength, and personal commitment. Record your conclusions and bask in self-satisfaction you so richly deserve.
9. If you feel disappointed in what you read, remind yourself that it is only one day in a lifetime of thousands of days. Forgive yourself and start over. Think about one or two changes you can make so following day's record will not be quite so disappointing. Guard against swearing that today will be perfect: you are not going to get there overnight but you will get there, over time, slowly, one step at a time. You are learning to take baby steps that will nudge your food intake into closer alignment with your goals. You are going to gradually add techniques to your arsenal of weapons to keep temptation at bay. The simple fact of intake awareness will keep slowly propelling you towards goals you have so carefully set.
10. At end of your entry, enter your weight for day - it will always fluctuate a little bit but will show you how you are doing when viewed over a period of time.
Virginia Bola is a licensed psychologist and an admitted diet fanatic. She specializes in therapeutic reframing and the effects of attitudes and motivation on individual goals. The author of The Wolf at the Door: An Unemployment Survival Manual, and a free ezine, The Worker's Edge, she is currently working on a psychologically-based weight control book: Diet with an Attitude. She can be reached at http://dietwithanattitude.blogspot.com