Diets do work! And research has shown that adding time management strategies to diet planning can build a winning combination. By determining your preferred time perspective, you can intentionally choose the diet approach that will be most successful for you. This series of posts will show you how.
Determine your preferred time perspective (TP)
Are you past-oriented? In other words, do you look back with fondness or regret to what was or what might have been? Are you future-oriented? For example, are you a planner, a goal oriented individual. Or do you live for the present moment, savoring all that this instant has to offer you?
Only 6-8% of people today are using a flexible time perspective, able to focus on the strategy that best fits the given moment, but the exciting truth is that this skill can be learned. And if you can teach yourself to do this, your dieting success will improve by leaps and bounds!
This series of posts on diet tips and strategies focuses on the ways you can become conscious of how time works for you, and against you. By becoming aware of what time perspective is most likely to succeed in any given situation, you then have the ability to choose how to react.
Three Simple Steps for using Time Perspective in Dieting
In order to be an effective TP dieter, ask yourself:
- What is the immediate dieting danger point for you in the situation?
- What action is called for?
- What is the best time perspective to use?
Break the Link with the Past
There is an old refrain that says, “If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.” This time, you want to change that historical pattern.
When smokers want to quit smoking, they focus on the link-associations that have built their iron clad relationship with cigarettes in the past. Cigarettes and coffee in the morning. A cigarette after dinner. A smoking break during a long meeting. By focusing on the harmful link, smokers are able to break the connection.
Harmful eating can sidetrack the most determined dieter by the same link-association with past habits. Do you connect theater attendance with a big bag of popcorn and a coke? Or watching football on Saturday afternoon with nachos and beer? It is the same principle. Become aware of the danger point: That commercial for Budweiser or McDs. What action is called for: eating or not. What is the best time perspective to use? The past link will lead to continuing downfall; being in the present moment will aid success!
Focus on the Future
Work to make a conscious choice to plan for future success.
When holidays or illness cause you to pause your diet, set a short timeframe window to the future. Give yourself permission to eat whatever you want, but only for 12 hours. At the end of that time, put the ice cream in the trash to melt, wash the remaining cake down the garbage disposal, and resume your diet where you hit the pause button.
Danger point: An occasion where a pause in dieting is called for. Action called for: when to resume. Best time perspective: A short-term future orientation
Be present in the NOW
If you can become aware of what is happening, right now, you will be able to change it.
I like to think of this as the ‘one minute rule.’ So many danger points for dieting occur in the moment. That split second when you have a choice to do or not to do. For example, when driving past your favorite fast food haven, when walking into the lunchroom on break, when waiting in line at the grocery store.
Let’s take the last one, the grocery store gauntlet. You are stressed and hungry. The guy ahead of you didn’t bring his supermarket card, the clerk’s register tape runs out, the kids behind you are cranky and whiny. Your line inches along until at last! You can start putting your beans and bread on the belt…you come to the last item of (healthy) produce in your basket, and then you wait.
You look to the left to check out what Brad & Angelina’s twins are doing, to the front: is that guy done yet? and then to the right, and you spot it…Twix, Hershey bars, Snickers bars, a plethora of chocolate heaven!
Stop! You have a one minute window. Become aware of the danger point and label it: ‘candy bar rack.’ S-L-O-W-L-Y turn back to the magazine rack and survey Jennifer one last time, put your purse or billfold in your dominant hand, and choose the action: to wait one minute. Best time perspective: stay in the NOW.
Eating gets my full attention
3 Even FASTER ways to battle Fast Food Cravings
How to cultivate healthy habits and keep them working for you
Dieting ambiguity: Dealing with supporters who are saboteurs
Diet planning made simple
Tips & Strategies for dieting in the public eye
17 best motivational diet books of all time
Power boost your diet using these time management tips