I started watching this program last week, kind of by accident.

Along with millions of other people, I hit a certain poundage at few years ago, and said, “this far and no further!” Since then, I’ve been trying to get to what I believe is a healthy weight.  Not so much that i want to be thin as I want to be fit.

Consequently, over the last few years, starting at 175, I’ve lost 35 pounds, gained back 10, then another 5, lost it, gained it back, etc. I’ve never hit my goal weight which is somewhere in the 125 to 135 range – I believe I’ll know I’m there when I hit it.

Last night’s show was on cravings, and host Paul McKenna tried to have us associate something negative and yucky with the foods we most crave, while balancing that with thoughts about something that made us feel good but didn’t involve eating. The idea being that when one has a craving, one brings in the negative thoughts and then follows that with the positive ones, and the craving will simply fade away.

The most interesting thing Paul said on this week’s show was that the imagination is more powerful than the will. We want the food not because we need it, but because we are imagining how wonderful it will taste or how happy it will make us feel. When we can break that thought – for example, by having us think, even for a moment, that maybe it won’t taste all that great – we have a chance at controlling the desire.

That exercise brought to my mind the time I ate some dates that had gone bad. I’ve always loved dates (along with pretty well anything with lots of sugar and sweetness). And I don’t think I ever checked to see they were fresh – I just popped a couple them into my mouth.

It took only seconds to realize that the dates tasted absolutely horrible. I started gagging and quickly spit them out. But the taste remained in my mouth. I drank some water and then found something else to eat just to try to take the taste away.

I didn’t eat dates again for at least three months. And then I was very cautious. The funny thing is that even though that happened over 40 years ago, to this day, I never have dates without remembering that one time they tasted so terrible, and I always kind of prepare myself for the worst before I eat one.

So, now I have to convince my mind that eating what I crave (usually chocolate or other sugary things) isn’t all my imagination tells me it will be. Intellectually, I know that. I’ve had times where I ate something thinking it would make me feel better and it didn’t. But for now, I’m going to use my imagination to help my willpower, every time I crave something my body doesn’t need, I’m going to remember how those dates tasted, and then I’m going to remember how great I feel when I can put on a smashing new outfit that’s a single digit size.


April 5, 2008

About the author 

N. J. Lindquist

N. J. Lindquist is the award-winning author of books, articles, short stories, and blog posts. She also edits and publishes the "Hot Apple Cider" anthologies. A former high school teacher, N. J. co-founded The Word Guild and teaches workshops for writers as well as speaking on various topics including creativity and leadership.

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