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The Family Feud – Psychology Of Weight Loss – Part 2

by Dr. John H. Sklare

In last month’s newsletter, I introduced you to a concept that I call The Family Feud.  As you may recall, I call it The Family Feud because the internal emotional eating conflict that it describes reminds me of the struggle for control that goes on between parents and their children every day.  Controlling an impulsive child, as any parent can tell you, is always a handful.  A similar battle plays itself out in the mind of the dieter every single time they make an eating decision.  Now, in Part 2 of this article, I would like to take this to the next level and show you how you can use this Adult/Child paradigm to win the weight control battle.

Today I would like to offer you an activity directed at increasing your awareness, of this Family Feud conflict, so that you can become more mindful and less mindless about the eating choices that you make.  The purpose is to help you become a more goal oriented and health conscious thinker.  After all, awareness is the key to change.  Awareness operates much like a beam of light in a very dark room.  It breaks through the darkness, shows the way and allows you to move with confidence.  As I always say, there is one incredible moment when the decision to eat is made.  If you can manage that moment, you can solve this problem.  Managing that moment begins with the revealing light that awareness produces.

Speaking of the relationship between a beam of light and awareness, let me offer you another analogy that helps drive this point home.  Consider the headlights on your car.  Imagine that you’re driving down a long country road on a very dark night.  There are no streetlights so all that you can see is what is revealed by whatever falls into the range of your headlights.  Even though there is an entire world around you, you only see what your headlights reveal.  This is very similar to how your awareness works.  In a way, your awareness operates in a very similar manner as your headlights.  Where you focus your awareness determines what you see as well.  Following that logic, if you expand the scope of your awareness, you can see things that were invisible to you before.  With that in mind, I would like to offer you a powerful activity that will throw the spotlight of awareness on that potentially life altering moment of truth when the decision to eat is made.  The goal is to increase your awareness by making you more mindful and less mindless about the food choices that you make.

I must say that I have been using this concept for many years and am very pleased to see the impact that The Family Feud has had on so many lives.  It is such a universally understandable and identifiable concept that it seems to click with people immediately.  The comments and emails that I have received over the years confirms how helpful, enlightening and empowering this imagery can be.  Putting theory into practice, however, is what creates real change in your everyday life.  In learning theory, this is called transfer.  This is where you take some intellectual understanding or knowledge and put it into practice in the real world.  In an attempt to facilitate that transfer, increase your scope of awareness and help you learn how to use The Family Feud to make healthier eating decisions, I offer you the following suggestion.

This is ideal for those people who keep a journal.  By the way, if you are not presently doing so, please consider beginning.  Research shows that it’s an integral part of the success formula and it is also a great way to release feelings and emotions while helping you to become more mindful about what, when and why you eat.  Journaling provides yet another way for you to get more personally and actively involved in the weight loss solution.  My experience tells me that people tend to do better when they are active participants in the process as opposed to simply being passive recipients of information.

So, for those of you who journal, I suggest you create another column in your journal.  Every time you put food into your mouth, and I do mean every time, I want you to record either an A or a C in that new column.  You need to determine, prior to putting anything into your mouth, who is making this eating decision.  Is it the responsible, health-conscious and mindful Adult within you making this food choice or is it the impulsive, health-indifferent and mindless Child?  Then, put an A for adult or a C for child next to that entry.  If you choose not to keep a journal, you can just use a piece of paper to track your choices.

You can then tally the A’s and C’s at the end of each day or week and get a very good idea about where your eating decisions are coming from.  The goal is to maximize your A decisions and minimize your C decisions.  This gives you an objective way to measure your progress from week to week.  You might even want to track this on a chart, post it somewhere where you will see it often and use it as a motivation to succeed.  This will greatly increase your awareness of the choices that you make and throw a spotlight on that moment when the decision to eat is made.  This can truly be transformational because it is only in that very moment that the opportunity for real change actually presents itself.  As I mentioned earlier, if you can manage that moment, you can solve this problem.  The purpose of this activity is to eliminate what I call the MEE Syndrome (Mindless Emotional Eating) by creating more mindful and less mindless eating.  Awareness is absolutely the key to change and this activity will definitely increase your awareness.  By contemplating A or C before every eating decision, you will put yourself in the perfect position to choose mindfully, promote healthy change and begin winning The Family Feud!

Wishing You Great Health!
Dr. John H. Sklare
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