Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 38 Kicking the Pop Machine

Ok, so I give myself away by saying "pop". Yep, a Midwesterner here. For everyone else, that means "kicking the coke machine" or "kicking the soda machine".


"Kicking the pop machine" is a phrase I learned from this previously mentioned friend of mine who teaches personal growth classes. It goes like this. You approach a pop machine with the required change, deposit it, press a button, and out comes your choice. Next day, repeat. The day after that, repeat. Then one day you walk up, deposit your money, press a button and nothing happens. Nothing. No pop. No "sold out" message. Nothing. So what do you do? Push the button again....and again....then the coin return...then another selection. Still nothing happens. Then you kick it, trying desperately to get it to respond in the way you are used to.

Making changes in your life, including those that impact other people (like family members when you are dieting) is sorta like being the pop machine. All along you've been behaving in a certain, predictable way. But on the day that you stop being predictable, you interrupt that routine. And guess what. People like routine.

The process of changing your life and deciding to get healthier means that there will be lots of button pushing and pop-machine kicking going on during the adjustment period. And I don't mean only from other people.

Sometimes the "people" kicking the machine are the "itty bitty shitty committee" (IBSC) in your head. The little impulses that make you want to go back to the old, comfortable ways of doing things. And the more you stick to your plan, the more they turn up the heat and try to get you to go back to the old way of doing things.

There are two very important lessons to be learned from this analogy.

1.) Unplug the pop machine! Remember, you may try several, maybe even dozens of times to get that machine to spit out the pop you want (the expected response), but if the pop never comes, eventually you stop trying. The same is true when you begin changing things for yourself. If you have family or friends that are pushing your buttons and kicking your pop machine, expecting you to order that pizza, head for the fast food joint or otherwise try to get you back into old behavior patterns, if you stand firm and stick to your plan, eventually they wear themselves out trying and move on to other things.

2.) Beware the IBSC! They may be more powerful than a resistant spouse, probably because they know you better and are sneakier! Your inner voice, those little impulses that tempt you, are the ones that need retraining the most. They attach emotions to eating, and changes in your diet cause different emotions to occur. The committee is only interested in repeating the original emotions and the behavior that produces them. So when you begin to make changes in your eating habits, your brain looks for ways to get you back into your old behavior. The committee is very good at making you feel all sorts of things that will cause you to revert to old ways of behaving. They are NOT your friends. Fire the committee! This means that you need to remember that a period of change will always be accompanied by emotional changes and upheaval. Its normal. Working past it is where your success lies. If the inner voice of temptation is screaming, busy your mind with something else, and crank up the volume!

One phrase my committee is really good at is this: "Oh, this one thing won't matter...."

What are your committees good at?

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