101 new activities
Listen to podcasts while driving. Listen to your favourite music. Practice smiling. Practice an instrument. Read a book. Take a dance class. Take a day off from work. Go for a hike. Make a picnic. Plan a trick. Watch funny YouTube videos. Take a class. Go into nature. Go to your local park. Join a club. Take yoga. Spend more time with positive people. Go camping. Reorganize. Go to a local park. Paint. Get a back rub or massage. Do a random act of kindness. Start a home improvement project. Join a creative writing group. Cuddle with someone or something. Take a comedy workshop. Create a web site. Join a gym. Go to a play. Attend a sporting event. Play a board game. Join a book club. Reach out to a friend. Become a coach. Go to a speaking event. Join a speaking group. Take singing lessons. Have a party. Join a cooking class. Make a vision board. Write down your goals. Create a bucket list. Brain storm ideas. Watch funny T.V. shows. Go to a comedy club. Do something artistic. Pamper yourself at a spa. Do pop up exercises. Start a blog. Join a team. Do fantasy sports. Get involved with a non-profit. Be silly. Sign up for a seminar. Go on a road trip. Have a random experience. Do something fun with your children. Take up knitting. Join marshal arts. Get a pet. Enjoy your pet! Go to church. Get rid of some of your stuff. Create a date planner. Find positive quotes. Organize. Take up a new activity. Get a life coach. Go to counselling. Try a new aerobic exercise. Do a yard project. Take up photography. Make jewelry. Get a new degree. Get a new certification. Go dancing. Donate blood. Visit an art gallery. Go to a zoo. Go to a botanical garden. take a friend out to lunch. Brain storm rewards you can give yourself. Sign up for a challenging event like a marathon. Collect something. Go cycling. Take a chance at a new hairstyle. Clean out your car. Teach someone. Go out to dinner. Write a thank you letter. Get a new wardrobe. Plan a surprise event. Make a special meal. Take up a craft. Learn a new language. Find an inspiring place. Learn to play a game. Try out different restaurants. Go to the beach. Do karaoke. Meditate. Read. Study. Go to a library. Go to a coffee shop. Take care of a plant. Build a model. Clean. Learn something new. Take care of your teeth. Have a facial. Have a makeover at the mall. Have a sauna. Get a tan. Draw up a fake tattoo. Have a manicure/ pedicure. Buy new bedsheets. Buy new undergarments. Get your eyebrows done. Sit outside. Invest in an exceptional experience. Enjoy some fine wine.
Create your own list and actually do it. This is your life and you need to excel out it. Take yourself out of your comfort zone and start to engage in life. We are made of our experiences and so therefore you need to be able to get out and experience life. You will never have this moment ever again so go out and enjoy life and realize that there is way more to life than carbohydrates.
How to maintain energy strength for self-control success
The Emotionally Focussed Eating program uses a SUD scale of 0-10. The measurement of 5 in the middle is your standard. In order to navigate your thoughts feelings and behaviours there are three fazes, the first faze is your operating faze; you think that you want to do something. Then you test that out by doing it in order to attain feed-back. Then you exit because it either went well and you keep doing it or it did not go well so you go back to the operation faze in order to rethink it.
The next faze is promotion. Now there are two different types of people in regards to promotion, there are those that are promotion based and those that are prevention based. Promotion based people are eager to achieve success, they set goals, create strategies, and just do it. Those that have a prevention focus are vigilant and always trying to avoid making mistakes.
So in order to be able to improve your self control, no matter which category you fall in, you have to have an implementation intention. The implementation intention needs to be put in place when you have a desire to do something. As soon as a person starts to think about their desire to do then what happens is they start to battle against themselves of whether it is appropriate or not, based upon whatever the persons standard is.
So lets look at that 0-10 scale. Number 5 represents ambivalence. Between 6-10 represents your promotion focus and anything under the 5 represents your prevention focus. Ambivalence means that you are neither here nor there, you can either do it or not do it. It opens the door with you to fight and/or debate with yourself, meaning that you have set a goal but you are not all in. You are somewhere at the 5 or lower, and you know this as soon as it is that you do not follow through on whatever it is you set out to do. You therefore can not override your impulse to give up and therefore you do not have self-control.
So in order to be able to improve your self-control you need to be able to set up an implementation intention that gets your mind out of the middle and moves you up the scale towards the 10. Meaning that you have to have not only the inspiration and motivation to attain your goal, you need to have a clear and specific plan. You have to be able to identify what your standard actually really is, that is appropriate to your new intention, in order to be able to attain your desired behaviour.
If your standard is to eat 6 doughnuts then that is what it is that you are going to do because you are somewhere on the SUD scale between 0-5. In order to change that standard to eating 0 doughnuts it means that you are going to have to navigate through changing your thoughts and feelings and therefore resulting behaviour, meaning that you are now on the SUD scale somewhere between 6-10.
So in order to be able to set up an implementation intention that takes you above ambivalent you have to be able to set up an agreement with yourself that starts with ‘if’ and then goes to ‘then’. So for example, ‘If I go to work tomorrow and there is a box of doughnuts, then I will identify how many carbohydrates there is in the doughnut and compare it to what I would like to weigh and then I will make a decision to not eat the doughnuts because they are not keto.’ Therefore not an option and I am now at 10.
Self Affirmation For Today;
I am Braver Than I Believe, Stronger Than I Seem, Smarter Than I Think- Pooh Bear
Success VS. Failure
In order to succeed you need to be inspired to achieve, as well as motivated to achieve. In order to be able to achieve self-control you need to be able to override your impulses that tell you to give up. By overriding that impulse you are agreeing with a standard of what is appropriate for you. So there are three parts to this process;
So for example, you go to work and someone has brought in a box of doughnuts. So the first thing that will happen is that you will have an urge, you have seen it, or smelled it, and you start to think about it, and envision eating it. Next, you start to engage in self-control, what is your motivation to override that impulse? If you decide to override that impulse it means that you have adhered to your own internal standard of desirable behaviour of what is appropriate, if you don’t override that urge then it also means that you have also adhered to a standard of what is appropriate either internally or externally.
Urges and impulses can be overridden. In order to override an urge, the first component is to self-monitor. In the Emotionally Focussed Eating program you are asked to self-monitor your food consumption by item, feelings, body reactions, carbohydrate as well as caloric daily totals, and daily weighing. It has been proven that the more a person monitors their weight every day that the result is, that they have healthier weight levels. There is a correlation between food intake and weight, and it is important to be able to self-monitor on a daily basis in order to be able to practice self-control. By doing this, keeping track, you become more responsible with your nutrition and you begin to memorize this behaviour so that one day you can just do it by rote.
The second component is to do with standards, standards are what is appropriate in a given situation either externally or internally. A standard is the BMI or HAWII or the identification with a specific diet plan like the keto, and/or specific clothing or size of clothing you want to wear. This provides a standard measurement in order to be able to know exactly what is appropriate in order to attain your standard of desirable behaviour.
The third component is measuring your strength of energy. This is a measurement in regards to your physical or mental exhaustion as well as how stressed and/or fatigued you feel. This is our measurement of HALTT (hungry, angry, lonely, tired/thirsty). When these things happen then there can easily be a self-control failure. So it is good to have a way of measuring these stressors so that you know exactly where you are and therefore can respond appropriately in regards to maintaining self-control.
Why is it so hard to have self-control?
A main topic when dealing with anything that you want to limit, yet long to do, is to do with self- control. People say it all the time, “well, all you need to do is control yourself”. Self-control is actually listed as one of the ‘fruits of the spirit’ so it actually has a biblical basis, Seven Fruits; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. So I think this is actually a good basis for when we look at how to care for ourselves as well as our self-affirmations.
So the question, is taking on a new lifestyle with monitoring what and how much you eat to do with self control? Studies have shown that there is a fifty percent failure rate in regards to self- control. Freud believed that we are always working against ourselves, our instincts, our drives, and the management of our behaviour as being either appropriate, or not. We have a mind energy system which provides an energy resource of self-control. So what is really interesting is that we all have limited energy, the older we get the less energy we have, and the more we deplete that energy, the more we deplete our self-control ability. Any time when it is that we are trying so hard to avoid something, example: do not think of the pink elephant, the more we become mentally exhausted. We actually begin to suffer, become depleted, and eventually can not control our impulses. The more we go on like this, the less control we have to the point of no control, as time goes on.
Often we talk about monitoring. This is the basis of cognitive behavioural therapy, by monitoring your thoughts, your feelings, and your actions, the idea is that you will be able to maintain your centre. What is really interesting though, is that the more you restrain yourself, the less you are able to override your impulses, so that it is not so much about the monitoring about your thoughts, feelings, or actions, but it is about monitoring the strength that you have to override an urge. The strength is to do with how much energy you actually really have at your disposal.
When you are depleted of self-control energy then the less passion that you have for what you are wanting to accomplish. This reminds me of anorexics, they tend to sleep a lot so that they can miss out on food, but I suppose to also recharge their ability to resist eating food.
The key, is actually in the recharging of your limited energy resource of self-control in order to be able to overcome that 50% failure rate. The more you practice that, the more you will become smarter and better at whatever it is that you are wanting to accomplish.
Recharging your self control system is based in both biological processes as well as psychological processes. In order to be able to recharge your metabolic energy the first thing that you will need to be able to do is to get good sleep. The less sleep you get and the more disrupted your sleep pattern, the more depleted your self control energy will be. The next thing is to have a boost of energy first thing in the morning. Caloric intake increases your energy level so that if you fill or recharge that energy first thing in the morning you will be able to maintain your self-control much more likely throughout the day.
For me, my boost first thing in the morning is coffee with cream and sometimes I eat a breakfast of eggs. I find if I over recharge my energy system then my body wants me to keep it up and I find it has the opposite effect.
Physiologically, recharging self-control offsets the negative consequences of depletion of energy and enables persistence in the face of failure. So to recharge your self-control system psychologically you need to be able to have a self-affirmation exercise based in the ‘fruits of the spirit’ to continue to align with your values, purpose, and meaning of your new lifestyle as well as how you now look at food. This gives your energy system the boost it needs to continue to maintain self-control energy throughout the day.
The goal to achieve ‘clear mindedness’ in regards to the maintenance of a healthy diet is to be able to understand the link between negative emotions and pain. Understanding the link helps you to be able to not only tolerate your own feelings and what it is that your truly wanting, but to also moderate your own hyper-vigalence of survival. Once life is not about survival any longer food obsession will disappear. Once food obsession is no longer a driving force and the emotions are now controlled, the goal becomes learning to accept yourself regardless of any negative aspects. You will be able to recognize your own worthiness, even when everything is not perfect, and will also help you to stop overly scrutinizing yourself and your physical symptoms. You will be able to learn how to maintain control of your eating habits because when you feel your body you will no longer be controlled by your anxiety. As the mind clears the physical symptoms of hunger or tummy gurgling or cravings they will be just those sensations, manageable and tolerable. You will be able to tolerate whatever the feelings are, and therefore will be able to manage the pain.
The Emotionally Focussed Eating Program aims to heal the damage which has been inflicted in the past, yet continues to reverberate and therefore is a driving force in the present. Sigmond Freud believed that the only way to forget is to remember and sometimes it is not so much about the physiological memory, as it is to do with emotional memory. By taking aim at these memories the goal is to help resolve the emotional issues that have arisen from past events by revisiting them, and healing the power of those emotional wounds. Sometimes the emotional wounding is not necessarily to do with a specific past event from childhood or relationships, surgeries or car accidents, but has to do with failed attempts at weight loss. Failed attempts can also be emotionally damaging and start to become self-fulfilling prophecies of continued non-success.
Once the weight loss becomes true, then what also has a tendency to happen is that the body starts to feel different. This difference in feeling state can also cause anxiety as the body starts to change. The changing body also changes how people begin to look at you, which again can trigger situations from the past and/ or self-image issues. Normal human behaviour is that we have images in our mind of how we see ourselves and how we see others and when changes happen, we don’t like change, and we start to say to ourselves and to others “change back”. This too can be an anxiety laden hidden driving force.
My experience with being uncomfortable with change is the physical differences I noticed in my body. When I now sit down on hard surfaces I could feel my ass bones, sometimes I would feel colder than normal because I didn’t have as much fluff to keep me warm, and I found people touched me more (not in a creepy way, but when I was bigger I found people went out of their way not to touch me. Now I get a lot of people putting their hand on my elbow to notify me that they are there or guiding me by placing their hand on my upper back.) It is so strange, because before, what I was huge people would say to me if I touched them “your disgusting, don’e touch me’, so I associate that in my mind, and flinch. More to work on!
Learned maladaptive attachment tendencies as well as trauma related tendencies are interconnected experiences that influence each other, resulting in real or perceived threat to safety and or existence. Defences to which can be loosely categorized into three systems in order to preserve survival. The first, is relational seeking actions, the second is mobilizing defences that organize overt action, and the third, are immobilizing defences, that in gender a lack of physical action.
Relation seeking actions are to do with behaviours relating to the need for an attachment cry when feeling distressed in times of stress and threat. Mobilizing defences are when escape seems to be possible, which is to do with running away from danger or running towards safety, meaning that there are automatic movements executed within the thought pattern in the event of a potential threat, such as putting your food on the plate even though you are not hungry. Immobilizing defences are to do with passive avoidance such as passively eating which is a survival strategy. There are three types of immobilizing defences.
The first is a freeze response which is an alert immobility, the second is a death response which is a floppy immobility, and the third response is submissive behaviour. These defensive strategies are intended to increase safety and increase survival, yet become liabilities when used frequently and automatically. Reminders of past trauma become indicators of current danger, which sets up your defensive systems which, become default behaviours. Habitual engagement of the defences of fight, flight, and relationship seeking actions impair adaptive functioning. When an attachment relationship has induced negative emotions and negative thoughts, physical tendencies also ensue and it means that physical tendencies will reinforce chronic negative emotions and cognitive distortions.
Individuals who are securely attached demonstrate the ability to ask for and use help when they are overwhelmed, and use regulatory strategies and centring. Individuals with insecurities and avoidance attachment histories have a tendency to avoid others when stressed, becoming dis-regulated and pushing away support. Others with avoidant histories have the feeling that no one will respond and have a lack of vitality. Those with insecure ambivalent histories have clinging behaviour, increased affect, and bodily agitation at the threat of separation. Those with unresolved attachment trauma are torn between the secure relationship and their profound fear of it.
What is really interesting is, that both trauma and attachment related physical tendencies are influenced by emotions. Posture and other movements on experience, interpretation and expression of emotion are determinants of resulting emotion. When the spine is slumped, individuals have a tendency to feel less proud as apposed to when the spine is upright and in an erect posture, and those that have a posture and facial expression associated with sadness, happiness or anger, are more likely to recall events that contain a similar emotional balance.
So, it is important to recognize that gestures, facial expression, and posture are not only reflections of emotion but are also indicative of interpretation of personal experience. As such, the way we hold our body is indicative of how we feel, which paves the way for particular positive emotions, which in turn motivates positive physical action.
The body has a survival system to any threatening circumstance. This system is usually triggered by external events, yet it can also be triggered to the perception of threat to ones well being. When there is a threat, your brain decides if there is danger, and this isn’t done consciously, this is to do with you limbic system and your body prepares to take appropriate action and that action is either fight, flight or freeze to the point of shut down.
If fight or flight is engaged, then your brain will mobilize your bodies energy to activate what is possible, to take action required for survival, meaning that your brain will become alert to anything that is a cue for survival. Seeing food means that adrenaline will be released in the blood stream by the adrenal glands, your heart will pump faster shooting oxygen rich blood out to your arms and legs to prepare the muscles to take action, your breathing capacity will increase and the digestive process will slow down. You may tremble and shake, the mouth become drier, and you may experience butterflies in your stomach, and/or feel nauseous in order to better meet the physical or psychological challenge in order to survive.
Thoughts have emotional components, and most of our conscious awareness tends to be on the thoughts with little awareness on their underlying emotions. The more rational and problem solving part of the brain becomes inhibited, and as such during these threatening situations our ability to think our way out of the problem is compromised. Your body is repeatedly preparing you for action to survive the experience, so that, when you are confronted by a fast food restaurant or a trigger of cookies on the plate, these are psychological challenges rather than physical challenges, for which our anxiety prepares us. Stress and anxiety is usually associated with increased muscular tension and stress.
Excessive levels of stress can cause a depletion in the levels of neurotransmitters, resulting in mood and sleep problems and a reduction of serotonin absorption when GABA levels become low. Poor sleep equals a weakened immune system, which equals a greater inflammation and subsequent increased emotional and physical pain. Lower levels of dopamine also result in a poor mood. Negative emotions are to do with survival, whereas positive emotions are to do with the expansion of capacities and growth as new experiences and meanings become integrated into how you view yourself. They are motivations to organize new directions as well as setting new goals.
The goal of new experiences in regards to diet, weight loss, and a new lifestyle, is to surrender to the experience of flow and of being in the zone, and to make it make sense to you as personal authorship. When transformed activities are satisfying and pleasurable, and marked by recognition processes, then it makes us become who we feel ourselves to be, making it coherent and inevitable, natural and fundamental with positive emotions, providing motivations that refuel the rewiring, broadening and building and creating a new you.
Today is a day that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Today I achieved something that I have been fighting to win for years. When I was twelve years old I weighed myself and I was a shocking 217 pounds. I weighed more than my 6ft2” father. After that I continued to gain until I reached my pinnacle of 268 pounds. The lowest I have ever gotten was in my first year of college and I reached 208 pounds, I was so excited because I surpassed by lowest weight and I was so close to reaching what the weight loss community calls ONE-derland. But alas, I sabotaged myself because of the deep rooted issues that weren’t properly dealt with. I gained 30 pounds and thus started my journey to take a year, sort myself out, and reach 180 pounds.
Today I woke up, took a wiz, and weighed myself. For the past few days I had been bouncing around the 201’s. Seriously, the scale was torturing me, keeping me in suspense by showing 201.8 then 201.6 then 201.2 then back to 201.8 again. I looked down today and gasped, yes, I gasped. Finally, I have reached 199.6. For the first time in my entire adult life I have reached onederland and it feels great. For so long it feels like I have been making myself promises and sabotaging myself time and time again. Telling myself that I can do it this time and proving that I actually couldn’t.
Taking the time and actually admitting that I needed help and putting in the work to sort through it all is the cause of my success. I have a supportive wonderful family who understands the importance of my health, whether physical, mental or emotional. I honestly believe that if I continued to push down all the festering poisonous feelings I had accumulated over the years, instead of being 199.6 I would be back up to 268 or worse.
Joining the Emotionally Focussed Eating program was the best present I have ever given myself. It was difficult and painful and I had no idea how much processing I had left to do with my past traumas. I cried so many times going over and retelling how I was mistreated by people and how it had sunken so deep into the core of my very being that I felt like I would never escape it. I arrived home somedays so emotionally exhausted I felt like I would never be happy again. Fortunately, I actually decided to enforce the coping strategies I was taught, instead of eating my emotions to drown them out I confronted them, my feelings of anger, sadness, frustration and guilt were actually being resolved.
If you have been struggling to lose weight and feel like you are an emotional eater like me, then give yourself a present and join the Emotionally Focussed Eating program. I am worth the success, I am strong enough to achieve my goals, I am worthy and receive all the love the universe has to offer me, and so are you.
Waves of Sleep
What we do during the day will either enhance of hinder the sleep that we would get at night. The chances are, if you have excessive amounts of caffein during the day or especially after a certain time during the day, this will produce a sense of arousal and therefore make sleep difficult. Some people can handle caffein all day long, but others of us cannot, and we can only handle caffein to a certain time limit. For me I do not have anything caffeinated after 3pm, at the maximum 5pm, but you have to run your own tests to be able to know your own limit. The same goes for the last time of the day in which you eat.
Being physically and psychologically active during the day is also an oportunity to optimize your chances of a good sleep, going to bed when you are physically tired because of your physical activity during the day, is likely to help a good sleep. So, having a good exercise routine is an important part of not only optimizing health, but enhancing the oportunity for a good sound sleep. Also, when you increase your body temperature with either exercise, a sauna, hot bath, or hot tub (or alcohol intake) around three hours prior to your bed time, also creates physiological readiness for a good sound sleep.
Situations that get in the way of good sound sleep are to do with anxiety, perhaps it is to do with anxiety with what happened today or anxiety with what will happen tomorrow, then you are less likely to sleep well. The goal is to be able to develop a routine which will help to dissipate your built up stress hormones that have accumulated during your day as well, it is important to create an evening ritual of sleep hygiene of preparing for sleep which might include meditation, yoga, prayer, or relaxation exercises, as well as perhaps listening to music. Everyone needs to find what works for them.
It is important to be able to experiment with a range of calming options. It is important to view sleep similar to how it is that we digest, meaning that it doesn't really take a conscious effort. When you try too hard it means that you are making it a conscious effort, instead sleep is about a subconscious effort, meaning that you don't actually have to think about it, it is something that you allow to happen, just like breathing. Your circadian cycle is your bodies natural clock, the circadian cycle works through a complex interplay of various hormones.
When you have a regular sleep time that you have practiced as a part of your daily routine, you will excrete hormones that enhance sleep into your blood supply in which you will fall asleep at consistent times. As well, you will awake at consistent times. If you have a disrupted sleep pattern, you will wake up at an inappropriate time, in which you will have to start altering your circadian cycle, forcing it into the pattern that you want. You can do this by setting your alarm clock at the time that is your ideal wake up time. You may not be able to force yourself asleep, but you can definitely force yourself awake. The goal of which is to stay out of bed, changing your circadian rhythm which forces you to be more tired when you want to go to bed as long as it is you stay awake during the day and not fall pray to napping.
Brain Emotional Systems, Lust and Sex!
There is a core sensualist system in everyone creating sexual urges that link up with the seeking system, that we talked about earlier. Of course males and females link up with that seeking system differently. A females sexuality is more strongly regulated by oxytocin circuits creating sexual appetite facilitated by dopamine seeking urges. Estrogen promotes oxytocin transition in the brain in order for females to be receptive to desire. Testosterone on the other hand is strongly regulated for male sexuality intensifying male sexual assertiveness as well as jealousy.
As human beings, we exercise extensive restraint over these urges because we have our higher cognitive functioning’s which can block the free flow of libidinal energy. This libidinal energy can get in the way of quality and ability to sleep as well, after all, if you are exciting yourself, expect to be excited! Here is the kicker, if that sexual excitement results in satisfaction of your needs (the care/nurturance seeking system) it will be conducive to sleep! However, if it does not lead to satisfaction of your needs, not resulting in the feeling of care/nurturance, then the sexual activity will actually have the opposite effect. That opposite effect can result in emotional pain, psychological pain, stimulate the panic grief system, lower self esteem, make you feel bad about yourself, making it more difficult to sleep. This increase in the feeling of psychic pain will as a result, stimulate the need to find the need for these energies else where.
In order to facilitate the need for strong bonding and the release of that oxytocin, instead will be directed towards a self expression in other ways, in order to soothe the self in sympathy. The emotional attachment and regulation of meaningful whole bodied dynamics associated with the core sensualist system, therefore needs to be acted on elsewhere and can be found with the ingestion of food (usually, high fat, high carbs, high salt). Emotions are meant to be both corrective and integrative for living inside the body of an active mobile self-agent. Emotional changes mediate feelings adjusting and maintaining the energy resources of the body. Emotions pay attention to the world outside of the self always aiming to mediate how the self perceives their environment.
This adaptive functioning directs itself to both a positive approach of behaviour or a negative withdrawal. The negative withdrawal is a way to self-protect against negativity, bad feelings and stress. The positive approach of behaviour results in the further need to acquire more positivity, good feelings and benefits. Emotions depend greatly on self-perceptions of events and circumstances, which can bring creative benefits of the feeling of adventure and further needs of experience but also, can go the other way, to distortions or delusions. Anxiety can result, which can make the present and/or future feel unbearable. When emotions are associated with past negative experience, it can give rise to phobias, addictions, and obsessions. When emotions are associated with past positive experience, it can give rise to positive self-aesthetic or positive moral self-evaluations to seek satisfying actions in the present or the future of more sexual excitement. Negative emotions are for survival and trigger survivalist activities such as eating, sleeping, drinking etc. in order to avoid the fact that needs have not been met. When needs are not met, then negative emotions can ensue, causing all of these survivalists tactics to go off the rails.