The ability to discipline yourself to delay gratification in the short term in order to enjoy greater rewards in the long term, is the indispensable prerequisite for success.
― Brian Tracy
We live in an instant gratification society. We can have almost anything we want with the press of a buy button. Unfortunately, long term goals (such as overcoming overeating and weight loss) still have to be achieved the old fashioned way – with effort, time, and sacrifice.
The need for instant gratification is one of the biggest reasons why people can’t overcome overeating, lose weight, and/ or keep it off permanently. When faced with a temptation, such as a scrumptious cookie, that weight loss goal looks very far away and might even appear as a pipe dream. The cookie is beckoning right now, and so is the satisfaction and pleasure it promises, so what the heck, might as well go for the sure thing, right?
It’s a case of stimulus and response. You see the cookie; you eat the cookie. Often followed by regret and, “Why did I eat that cookie?”
Temptations are everywhere and they won’t be going away after you lose the weight. So, what can you do when faced with temptation? This is where the power of the pause comes in.
When you’re triggered to binge or overeat, you need to pause and ask yourself, “Am I really hungry?” If not, “What am I feeling or needing in this moment?” Then ask, “What might I do instead?”
Make a list of things you can do when the urge to eat hits. Find ways to distract yourself. Cravings and urges pass as long as you occupy your mind with something else. Sometimes all you need to do is pause and take 3 deep breaths.
Pausing is a skill and gets easier with practice. Think of it like a muscle: if you’ve been giving in to your impulses all the time, this muscle is quite flabby. It will get firmer with continual practice.
Sometimes there is no need or feeling being expressed and you just want that darn cookie. Then you need to pause and ask yourself, “Is this aligned with what I really want?” And I don’t mean what you want in the moment, but in the long term. Sometimes the answer will be yes and sometimes it will be no.
You can still lose weight having a cookie occasionally, truly savoring it, and eating it mindfully. But let’s get real; you can’t eat every cookie or dessert you’re tempted by. This is the recipe for obesity.
You can have it all, just not all the time, and not in large amounts. This is where moderation and limits come in. The only way to set limits is to be able to delay gratification. Without it, you’re a slave to your desires and impulses, and that long term goal will remain forever a distant dream.
Are you ready to learn how to make your dream a reality?