The biggest lesson in weight loss success I’ve learned this year is toChoose delayed gratification when it comes to weight loss goals over immediate rewards. (impulsively indulging).
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Impulse control! It can feel impossible when it comes down to food. It is possible to practice it. We will succeed when we are able to resist temptation now for a greater reward later. All All aspects of life, including weight-loss.
Let’s break this down so you can see how it works in my life:
- The temptation is strong: A treat, a fresh slice of bread and butter, or a second helping, when I know I’ve eaten enough food.
- The choice is yoursImpulsively succumb to the temptation vs. delay gratificationFor a greater reward?
- The greater the rewardAttaining my weight loss goals, and getting the body I want!
Studies have shown that obesity is associated with inability to delay gratification.Source)
Why is this so difficult? Why is it that I’m sometimes able to see? Future rewards will be greater It’s obvious enough that I refuse to eat the cookies in front of my face. And then at other times, I’m drowning in a space between FOMO on food and YOLO!
It’s cause I’m human, and that’s OK! The goal of a weight-loss journey is to PRACTICE You can learn to resist temptation and become more disciplined. It doesn’t mean we’ll never have a treat. However, the more often we practice saying “no” to our impulsive desires the better we do at it.
Delayed gratification, or deferred gratification, is the Resist the temptation to take pleasure immediately in the hope of a long-lasting, valuable reward.. In other words, delayed satisfaction refers to the process the subject goes through when he or she resists the temptation to take an immediate reward over a later reward. (Wikipedia)
Reflecting back on the circumstances surrounding my bikini transformation nearly three years ago (read more about the transformation here), it struck me that there was something different than all the other times that I tried to lose weight.
I believe that 3 years ago, when i signed up for the bikini contest, somehow the “greater reward”The act of picturing me on stage was more powerful than the temptation of any treat.
Three years later, the temptations are a little different. I am rarely tempted by buffet’s and ice cream. However, I do have the urge to indulge. “just a little snack”This can make it difficult for me to obey the impulses. It’s as if I’m in some sort of trance and wake up with my face deep in a bowl of “healthy” cereal.
How can we resist the temptation to seek a greater reward? How can we use impulse control to achieve our weight loss goals?
Eating food brings you joy and satisfaction. It’s tough to compete with. The pleasure and satisfaction of reaching a weight loss goal is sometimes MONTH’S away! We know from human behavior that if we have to choose between a slimmer future or a cookie now, most people will choose the cookie today.
So, how do we practice delayed gratification? How can we practice self control, self regulation, and impulse control? How can we choose between immediate gratification and a future reward?
Here’s some strategies that have helped me in the last few years, and hopefully can help you too.
13 Strategies to practice delayed satisfaction
- Visualizing or imagining the future. This really needs to be number one as it’s the heart of the definition of delayed gratification. (Source). Can you really visualize the person you want to be? If you don’t truly believe the “greater reward” is achievable, you’ll choose the instant results. Start visualizing your future and envisioning a slimmer you.
- Simply You can eat it later.Check out this book I reviewed. “Eat it Later“. Just giving a pause for 10 minutes to several hours before you eat something is practicing delayed gratification. It doesn’t mean you’ll never eat something. You just don’t have to keep eating every single time the impulse strikes.
- Ask Questions- I feel like I’ve been this idea to death, so read about that here. Ask yourself, why you are eating when you aren’t hungry! Really get to the root of your reasons.
- Clean up your environment. An immediate way to practice not eating something impulsively is to not have that food in your house. When I was trying to give up Diet coke, I simply would stop buying it by the case at the grocery store. I could get it at a gas station when I’d get gas, or in a restaurant, but not having it in my pantry created a natural resistance to impulses.
- Put obstacles between you and the temptation. Similar to cleaning up your environment, putting something between you and the cravings can help you practice. One thing that has helped me is not working on my laptop in the kitchen. It’s amazing how just being in the kitchen can make me want to eat something when I’m not hungry.
- Know which distractions work for you. This one needs some explanation. When I have an impulse to eat something when I’m not hungry (the scientific community calls this, “Eating in the absence of hunger”I can usually count on that. Youtube To distract myself from it all, I can use a puzzle or a piece of paper to help me focus. I can distract myself by watching videos on Youtube or sitting down to make a puzzle. This is different than the advice I’ve always hated of “just go for a walk if you need to get away from the kitchen.” Except it’s 10 degrees and snowing today and a walk does NOT sound better than a treat! LOL Here’s my Youtube channel You can watch the video below if you have trouble finding something!
- Choose a reward that is closer in time.If you are interested in a “greater reward” seems to far in the distance, and possibly not achievable, you’ll always choose food. But, what if you chose something that got you more excited than a cookie, but wasn’t so far away? Maybe you lose 10lbs or your pant size. Can you picture that? I have 51 non-food weight-loss rewards that you might find motivating.
- FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and YOLO (Fear of Losing Out) do not apply to food.Fear of missing out is a real fear. You only live once. I feel like we’ve all had these thoughts when it comes to food. For social situations that will last a lifetime, you should save FOMO and YOLO. Your afternoon treat will be HARDLY remembered.
- Recently, I have discovered that a thought that works wonders for me has been to The future reward can be reducedTomorrow! How will I feel tomorrow if I eat too much today? How do I want TO FEEL when I get dressed TOMORROW
- Be a mature adult! Eating food on the way home from the grocery store because you can’t wait till you get home is the ultimate in not being an adult about this. I’d give crackers and snacks to my 2 year old on the way home from the store, but as an adult, can you seriously not wait 10 minutes. (Talking to myself, of course). You can snack while you cook. You know what it is like to cook for 2 minutes in the microwave and then grab a snack from the pantry while waiting? Seriously?? Are you serious? Can I not wait for just two minutes?
- Enjoy the process. If we LIKE eating well and working towards our goals then the delayed gratification may also be a reward.
- Healthy eating should be part of your identity. When I see a hot dog and chips, I know, 100% of the time, I won’t eat it. That’s because I’ve always been the kind of person who doesn’t like hot dogs and chips. Unfortunately, I’m also the person who LOVE’S cookies. So, 75% times a day, I will eat cookies. So who are you? Are you the person who doesn’t overeat because her goals are more important? We can all practice being that person.
- And finally, it’s easier to not be impulsive when we Get enough sleep and meditate! Fatigue is the root cause of all my bad decisions.
I think too many people focus on the idea that most people lose weight, but can’t keep it off. This way of thinking is not going help you. I am living proof that you can lose weight! I’ve done it for almost 3 years now, and I never plan to gain the weight back. So, don’t let that rhetoric get in your head. You can lose weight in the new year if you choose delayed gratification over impulsive food.
Read my Here are 2022 tips and advice for weight loss.