Welcome to Week 3 of the Craving Change Challenge! This week we tackle forgiveness and how it relates to your medical weight loss plan. Are you able to let go of recriminations and move forward?
Blame and your weight loss plan can happen on two levels: First, if you have any health issues that happened in part because of how and what you ate over the longer term, you may feel guilt and shame. Second, if you have any slip-ups now on your medical weight loss plan, you may criticize and feel badly about yourself and your lack of 'willpower.' This anger and disappointment may make you want to throw in the towel completely.
Both of these issues have something in common: They focus entirely on the past. Rest assured: You're not alone. We all do it. However, by staying in the past you are not able to take action in the present! This blame and criticism can actually prevent you from making different choices now. It's been said that living in the past is like trying to drive by looking in the rear-view mirror. This 'rear-view driving' makes it tough to see oncoming traffic!
Learning to forgive yourself first involves letting go of the past. Getting back on track involves focusing on the current moment and the opportunity it presents to do something different.
Here are your forgiveness mini-challenges for this week:
Your mini-challenges for Week 3:
Day 1: Visualize forgiveness for the past.
To clear the slate, first you need to let go of the resentment you might have. Here's how to do that:
- Spend a few minutes thinking about the ways you have blamed or criticized yourself in the past. Try to focus on those areas that you feel most impact your medical weight loss program.
- Next, look at a picture of yourself, one that shows you smiling and happy.
- Finally, envision good things happening to you. See yourself as the person in the picture: positive, focused, and achieving your goals. Essentially, imagine yourself free from the guilt and criticism you've placed on yourself. Keep that image in your mind for several minutes and return to it throughout the week, whenever you're tempted to criticize yourself.
This exercise helps you to forgive yourself while still acknowledging your actions. Through this honesty, your mind is free to become present, which is the focus of the rest of the week.
Days 2-7: Focus on your current moments, especially when eating.
This sounds simple, but it can be tough! The idea here is to maintain your awareness of the present moment and banish those voices that may try to bring you back to past challenges, particularly with weight loss and eating. It's so important to stay present when selecting and preparing foods, as well as while you're eating. If you find this difficult, simply acknowledge your frustrations or weakness. You can say something like, "I know I made bad choices at a previous meal, but now I have this meal to eat and I can pay attention to it right now." When choosing, preparing, and eating your foods this week, spend a moment reciting this reminder, or one like it, to stay in the present. If the phantoms from past meals return, simply acknowledge them and let them go. Stay present and keep practicing!
By Day 7, you should be able to identify the ways you're beating yourself up and how to best still those voices. Your daily check-in questions will also help you see how much better you are becoming at being kind to yourself. With practice, this will become a habit—one that will reap rewards with both your medical weight loss program and other goals you want to achieve. Good luck and see you next week!
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