One concept I've been using lately is something shared with me by my son that is a principle from addiction treatment. It is called "Fast-forward the fantasy." The concept is that when we are tempted to indulge in something that we know is not good for us, the draw to it can be extremely powerful. During those moments of temptation, we seem to only think about the physical pleasure we will receive if we indulge. Our minds quickly supply all the rationalization we may need: "you can start over tomorrow," "just once won't hurt," or "you deserve it because life has been so ... (Fill in the blank...stressful, empty, etc." But, rather than giving in to the temptation, one can instead fast-forward in time past the point of indulging in whatever it is that we are trying to overcome. Often, after a moment of pleasure comes reality -- guilt, regret, emptiness, helplessness, frustration, and a literal feeling of "coming down" off of whatever artificial high the addiction has produced. The trick behind fast forwarding the fantasy is to think about and even try to experience in advance those feelings that will come if you do decide to indulge. They are much less alluring than the feelings that lead one to indulge in the first place. For me, this has been really helpful in the areas of salty foods and sugary foods. Sugary foods make me week and give me acid reflux. Instead of imagining the sugar-high produced after eating them, if I instead think of the feeling of physical weakness and the acidic feeling in my stomach, I find that the temptation loses much of its allure. Likewise, if I think of salty foods as drying up my body of the moisture it needs and raising my blood pressure, the trade off hardly seems worth it. I hope to continue assembling tools like this to fight the addictions I face relating to food, and I'm grateful to my son for sharing these ideas with me.
Spent forever yesterday trying to get this blog to automatically generate an excerpt from a post, if none exists. Right now, I've got to go into the post settings and either type or copy/paste from the original post in order for it to show up as an excerpt in a feed from the blog. That is a minor pain, but I should not have spent 3+ hours trying to figure it out. Kept thinking I was close to getting it, only to find out I was wrong. Anyway, back to posting excerpts manually for now.
Sometimes I'm that way with food as well. I spend way too much time obsessing over tiny parts of food, like whether something has 1 g of sugar added, when there is a much larger picture to attend to. After all, avoiding that 1g of sugar today and then a month from now downing 300mg of sugar by binging puts the 1g today in perspective. But, I have a hard time being moderate sometimes. I like to go all out for something, get exhausted and then collapse and give up. I say I like to, but that isn't accurate. It actually makes me angry with myself when I do that, but it is a pattern I've repeated over and over.