Rhona Epstein, Psy.D.
Are you kidding? Another New Year’s resolution to lose weight? Whether it’s you or a client, all of us are guilty of dreaming we’ll eat better, exercise more, wear more attractive outfits, and put on that bathing suit this summer. The list goes on to the endless fantasies we have of making this year different. (Honestly, how many times have you determined to change, but in just a little while find you’re right back to the same old thing?)
Making resolutions and breaking them is an age-old problem. The Apostle Paul struggled to change, and felt the same confusion and discouragement. “I do not understand what I do,” he said (Romans 7:15, NIV). “What I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”
The solution is to stop dreaming and start deciding. It’s an intentional decision that creates change—not a thought about it, a decision! So how to do that?
For anyone wanting to change eating habits and get off the yo-yo dieting cycle, these steps are important:
Make the decision to change. A decision is an intention and not just a fantasy. The decision requires commitments from you, your passion and desire, and action. It is a choice to make again and again each new day and hour.
Go a new way, pursue things differently. Remember that what you’ve done in the past isn’t working. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. You’ve got try new things for a new result.
Take it one day at a time. Don’t worry about how you ate yesterday or what you’ll do to exercise tomorrow. Keep making the decision now to choose activity and foods, and amounts of them that are good for you at the right times. Will I exercise this one day? Drink the water I was told to drink? Go to the support group I’ve been meaning to try? Taking things one day at a time means we can’t focus on how great we’ll look when we lose twenty pounds. We need to think about how to eat this one meal, this one day, and what else to do now to live healthier and better. Today is all we have, after all. Yesterday is done and tomorrow may or may not come. When we live in a fantasyland of what we should have done or what we could do, we only end up disappointing ourselves. Concentrating on what we are doing now, on the other hand, never fails.
Find support. This is a major part of turning a dream to a decision. Take that piece of humble pie and let people help. Accountability and encouragement go a long way. A good counselor or a support group (and both) can give you guidance, inspiration, know-how, and support when you need it most. People who have made the changes you are hoping to accomplish might know the way out. Call on them and know that can be a strength to do so. A cord of three strands cannot be broken. That means . . .
Depend on God. With support from people around you, your own decisions, and reliance on God, you’ll be able to climb closer to your goal. Too often at the new year, we start a diet and never ask if it is God’s will to restrict ourselves or hurry up and lose weight. God wants what’s best for us. He can help! Transformation doesn’t always happen in the blink of an eye, but over time. Rely on Him for strength to make good choices. Turn to Him instead of food for the things you really hunger. Find rest for your weary heart in His presence. Go to the Real Source of all life to find what you really need, because it’s not in the cupboard. That means decide this year to connect more with God in prayer through the day. Plan time to hear Him by reading His Word. Make appointments with Him to worship and receive His grace. These are decisions and the process of practicing them will get you to your goal.
Rhona Epstein, Psy.D., C.A.C., is a licensed psychologist, certified addictions counselor, and marriage and family therapist in the Philadelphia area, and the author of the new book Food Triggers: End Your Cravings, Eat Well, and Live Better (Worthy Publishing). For more than twenty-five years, she’s lead seminars, conferences, and therapeutic workshops to help people overcome food addiction and its underlying issues. She received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Chestnut Hill College, and her master’s degree in counseling psychology from Temple University. She’s passionate, from her own personal experience and recovery from food addiction, to address the needs of the whole person (mind, body, and spirit). Visit her web site at www.rhonaepstein.com