The Art of Not Taking Home the Grand Prize

You know how on game shows, there may be 3 people vying for an awesome grand prize, such as a car or $10,000 round the world trip? But the people who come in second and third place often don’t just get shown the door. They get a consolation prize. 

I think the term “consolation prize” is cute and funny. It consoles you. “I’m sorry you didn’t get what you wanted, but here have this instead!” 

It’s actually a very kind move of the game shows, I think, to acknowledge the disappointment of a contestant who got all excited but then let down (in front of millions of people, to boot). It shows generosity and compassion.  

What if we gave ourselves consolation prizes when things didn’t go our way? Would that have a positive effect?

If might, if it helped us acknowledge and validate our own disappointment or distress. That’s a step up from denying our true feelings like, “nah, I shouldn’t be bothered...

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Your Questions About Eating Just Enough, Answered

There are 16 habits in my book Lean Habits for Lifelong Weight Loss, and several dozen other actions I regularly use with clients as assignments or “behavioral test-drives”. They cover everything from eating disorder recovery to sports nutrition, communicating, finding joy, boosting fiber intake, and managing sleep. And this one is (according to my clients), the hardest one: Eating Just Enough.

It’s Chapter 3 in the book, and from here on you’ll see the abbreviation we often use in my Facebook groups, EJE.

It’s the one most often that people say they work on for a long time. 

It’s the one people revisit most often after they’ve gone through all the other skills.

It’s also the one that, on average, people just entering my world have the lowest skill in. (Most of them report the highest level of skill in Eating Mostly Whole Foods, if you’re curious).

Here’s an example, because we like data, right? Look at this graph....

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A Solution For "I Eat Well... Until I Don't"

Several times a day, I listen to someone describe what and how they eat. One of the benefits of having a coach is that someone outside of your head can, in many ways, have a clearer view of what’s actually going on.

Almost nobody says “I need to eat a bigger breakfast”. Or even “I need to eat a bigger lunch”.

What they do say is, “I eat well, but lose it on the weekends.” Or, “I do great all day, and damn it at night I snack, and can’t stop!” The words vary, but it’s a very common theme: “I eat well, until I don’t.”

What they see is a problem that starts at 7 pm, or starts on Saturday, or just before the kids get home from school...whatever time their particular hot button is. And that may well be the case. If we talk about that place and time and find there is an emotion, fatigue or stressor that happens at that time of day, we’re onto something and can work on changing behavior directly. We...

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What To Do After Emotional Eating

You wake up, only to realize you weren’t sleeping.

You were… off somewhere. Possibly you were caught up in replaying what happened that day. There was an argument, a stinging comment, a decision that didn’t go your way, or an unfair twist of fate.

And what the hell are these crumbs? Oh yes, now it’s coming back… while you were wading thigh-deep in unpleasant emotions, you decided to eat. And now the food is gone, and you barely remember it. And you’re still upset.

In this circumstance, a lot of our clients focus on undoing “the damage." They're concerned about the calories they took in, and how they’ll gain weight unless they do something. They plan a killer gym workout at 5 am. They chop up lettuce for the following days. Or they just head to bed, knowing in the morning things will seem new again, and they can forget the overeating and start fresh.

Heightened emotional states can trigger eating for a number of reasons:...

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