How to Control Your Eating Choices

November 25, 2009

Listen to a short podcast on how your brain works and why you lose control of your eating choices:

[ Or, download this podcast. ]

This podcast is an excerpt from the CD Control Your Eating & Achieve Your Ideal Weight. Click here to buy this CD and learn the simple and effective 6-step process for gaining control of your eating choices.

Or get this CD free by joining the Peaceful Productivity Group coaching program.

How to Control Your Eating

Tell me if you’ve had this experience: You stuff yourself at some meal or event, and afterward when you’re thinking about what a glutton you were, you promise yourself that you’ll never do that again. Starting now, you’re turning over a new leaf. Things are going to be different! And they are…for a few days, maybe. But before you know it, your old eating habits have returned. Why?

A few years ago, I restricted myself to a special diet — vegetables and fruits only — for 6 weeks as part of a cleanse program I was doing. I was shocked by how difficult it was. I craved things like pizza and cookies, not out of hunger, but out of an emotional need for them. I had no idea just how much my emotions had been controlling my eating choices until I tried to stop eating my “comfort foods.”

Maybe you’re aware of your emotional attachment to certain foods, maybe you’re not. But food choice is just one of the ways we are controlled by our emotions.

To understand why, let’s look at how the brain works.

Whenever you experience something with any of your five senses, that signal travels through your nervous system to your brain. It enters you brain at the back and travels across the brain to the front, where rational thinking takes place. But before it reaches the front of your brain it travels through the limbic system. This is the emotional center of the brain.

If these details don’t interest you, then pay attention to this:

Every experience you have goes through the emotional center of your brain before it gets to the rational center!

This has two stunning implications:

  1. Every experience has an emotional component whether you’re conscious of it or not.
  2. If your emotional reaction is strong enough, it will determine your response before you even have a single rational thought about the experience.

As logical as you think you are (I know some of you think you’re Spock, but you’re not) you are first and foremost an emotional creature. To be successful in life — whether it’s food or business or relationships — you must learn how to manage your emotions. The extent to which you can manage your emotions is referred to as Emotional Intelligence (EQ for short).

In order to make a lifestyle change like changing your eating habits, you must have a high level of personal EQ. Without it, your actions and reactions become emotional compulsions instead of rational choices.

Personal EQ consists of two parts:

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Self-management

Self-awareness of your emotions is increased simply by asking yourself throughout the day, “What am I feeling right now? Why am I feeling this way?”

Self-management of your emotions is increased by asking yourself the additional question, “What am I going to do with this emotion right now?”

If you ask yourself these questions, you might still choose to eat a piece of chocolate to cheer yourself up. But the key difference is that you’ll do it consciously.

At the very least, by being conscious of your choice you’ll end up eating less chocolate. With each bite you can repeat the questions: “Okay, now what am I feeling? And what do I choose to do with this emotion?” You won’t get lost in unconscious binging.

And over time, you’ll find yourself making different choices in similar situations.

Increasing your self-awareness has a snowball effect (it gets easier the more you do it), and it leads very naturally to increased self-management. Make it a daily practice to ask those questions and you’ll soon feel like an expert.

For training in a simple and effective 6-step process for gaining control of your eating choices, buy the CD Control Your Eating & Achieve Your Ideal Weight.

©2008 Curtis G. Schmitt

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Procrastination: 3 Different Types

September 16, 2008

Listen to a short podcast on the first of 3 different types of procrastination:

[ Or, download this podcast. ]

Procrastination: 3 Different Types

Procrastination is one of the most common productivity challenges. Some people struggle with it often across all areas of their lives, others infrequently in only particular areas of their lives. But most of us have experienced it at one time or another.

The word itself does little in the way of helping us identify a solution. It simply describes a phenomenon: The act of putting off something you could do now for later.

But there are several reasons why a person might do such a thing. And different solutions depending on the reason.

I’ve created 3 categories to help my clients understand procrastination and what to do about it:

  1. Chore procrastination
  2. Dream procrastination
  3. Type 3 procrastination (descriptive name, right?)

Chore procrastination is when a person puts off a task that holds little or no intrinsic appeal, but the outcome of the task is valued.

Dream procrastination is when a person puts off a task related to a big goal or dream.

Type 3 procrastination is a catch-all category for procrastination that doesn’t involve a dream or a chore. Typically, this type requires a closer look to understand what it’s really about.

These are generalizations. Often a person’s own brand of procrastination blends the three. But before you can overcome your procrastination, identify which type or types it is.

Is what you’re procrastinating simply a chore, or is it related to some big goal or dream you’re pursuing?

If it’s neither, or you’re not sure, look closer at what the result will be if you completed the task you were procrastinating. What will that result be (describe it in as much detail as you can)? Why is that result important? Is that result related to one of your big goals or dreams?

Your answers may lead you to the conclusion that the result is not important to you. In which case you need to ask yourself why this task is on your to-do list at all. (I’ve written more about this subject in a previous post.)

If you try to overcome your procrastination before you identify what type or types it is, you’re likely to fail and frustrate yourself. Once you know the type, you can get to the business of solving it.

©2008 Curtis G. Schmitt

Overcoming Procrastination

To learn more about identifying the 3 different types of procrastination and how exactly you can solve each, register for a powerful and fun teleclass at http://www.TurnOnToLife.com/teleclass/procrastination.html


Can Procrastination Be Good?

September 8, 2008

Listen to a short podcast on how procrastination can actually be a good thing.

[ Or, download this podcast. ]

The GOOD Kind of Procrastination

Many people come to me wanting help overcoming their procrastination. My first question to them is this:

Is it the good kind of procrastination or the bad kind?

“Curtis, what in the world is the GOOD kind of procrastination?”

I’m happy you asked. 🙂

There are different reasons for procrastination. Some are fear based, and those are the ones that I help my clients overcome.

But procrastination can also be a signpost that your actions and your values are out of sync. In other words, procrastination can reveal that you’ve committed to something that isn’t important to you.

For example, for years and years I pursued music. I put together bands, I wrote and recorded songs, I took guitar lessons. It was my “dream” to be a successful musician, and everyone around me knew it.

Yet I procrastinated 90% of the time. Why?

What I ultimately learned was that years earlier I’d created an identity for myself as a musician. I fell in love with the IDEA of playing music. But my heart wasn’t in it. I rarely enjoyed it, and it was always a struggle for me.

Procrastination was a warning sign that I’d made a choice that didn’t serve me. It was like a blinking red warning light that something was out of whack in my life.

When I finally stopped pursuing music, it was such a relief. I felt like I’d been released from prison–my own prison that I’d created out of an expectation I had for myself.

So before you try to “overcome” your procrastination, take a look at where it’s coming from.

Understanding Procrastination

If you find yourself procrastinating (especially if it’s ongoing procrastination), ask yourself these questions:

1. What specifically am I procrastinating?

This may seem obvious, but often it’s not. “I procrastinate my work.” Okay, so what kinds of work, exactly? Be specific.

2. Why am I procrastinating?

Don’t settle for the first answer that comes to you, especially if it doesn’t contain an insight. Keep asking yourself (lovingly, not like an interrogator) until you learn something about the source of your procrastination.

3. What choice will serve me the most?

Remember my music example? If I’d asked this question and been open to an honest answer, I would have seen much sooner how music wasn’t serving me.

Trying to overcome your procrastination without first understanding where it’s coming from can make you feel worse by adding layers of guilt on top of a choice that isn’t serving you in the first place.

©2008 Curtis G. Schmitt

Overcoming Procrastination

I’ve identified 3 different types of procrastination. Each type has a different solution. If you try to overcome one type of procrastination with the wrong kind of solution, you’ll fail and frustrate yourself.

To find out more about this powerful teleclass, and to learn how to identify and overcome the different types of procrastination, visit http://www.TurnOnToLife.com/teleclass/procrastination.html