Faced with something on your fork that shouldn’t be going into your mouth? We’ve all been there. Healthy intentions go right out the window when temptation is in the room. No need to panic. From now on, use the acronym STOPP to save you from the next compulsive bite and free you from any pending guilt. I am so proud when my coaching clients declare, “Oh, I STOPPed that craving right in its tracks.” Champions of Change always stop before they start.
S stands for Seek out Social Support… There is something magical about reaching out to a friend. Research shows social support to be one of the best things you can do to support healthy change. Dare I even propose you use your phone…for a phone call? Get a friend or a family member on the horn and say hello. No need to share, “Hi, I am just calling you so I don’t eat a whole cheese cake.” Be cool about it. As for texting, it’s the next best thing. Not as good as calling, but it will work in a pinch. Reach out and engage with someone any way you can. Temptation is completely zapped by the time you are done with your conversation.
T stands for Talk to God… or Divine Creator, Higher Self, or Goddess, or whatever you want to call it. I say Go Big and go straight to the Source. I love the words of Emmett Fox, a spiritual thought leader from the 1930’s, who calls prayer the Golden Key to Harmony. Fox declares, “You are the channel through which divine action takes place and your part is to get yourself out of the way. All you must do is this: Stop thinking about the difficulty, whatever it is, and think about God instead. If you will do this, the trouble, whatever it is, will presently disappear.” Such wise and wonderful words that work. Turn your attention to God and everything else fades away. For example, when I am stuck in a negative loop about food, I switch my thoughts to God. In my mind, I free verse thoughts like this… God is Love. God loves me. God has my back. I live in a friendly universe. No problem is too big for God. God is Kind. God takes care of me. God is here for me. God helps me. God is Intelligent. God is eternal. God is Truth. Etc. Etc. After a few minutes of this, I am free of the crazy food thoughts. You gotta try it; it’s ahhhh-mazing.
O stand for Ommm…Close your eyes (if you can), quiet your mind, and get in tune with your breath. S….L….O….W it W….A….Y….down. I find that even two minutes of focusing on my breath brings a peaceful quality to the moment and gets me tuned into my values and bigger goals. I don’t need to find a bathroom stall; I don’t need to sneak off to the copy room. I can do it anywhere. No one really knows what I am doing anyway. Trust me on this one, your breath will always bring you back to center where you can think about your choices and curb impulsivity.
P stands for Provide Service… Get out of your shit and go help someone with theirs. Bottom line, when you are helping others you are helping yourself. You can ask anyone around you, “How can I help?” You’ll be amazed at how this little question earns you bonus points with co-workers, friends, and family and keeps you from falling off your diet wagon.
The second P stands for Pursue the New…Get away from the food and find a distraction. Play your favorite song, do some Tai Chi moves, recite French dialogues, count your blessings: do whatever it takes to get your mind onto something new. You can even try the age-old “set the timer for 15 minutes” trick. Often when my alarm goes off, I have no idea why I even set it. It takes a minute for me to remember. That’s a sure sign I did a great job distracting myself and any thoughts of food are outta here!
There you have it…STOPP. Five sure-fire ways to stay on your eating plan and stay away from that first compulsive bite. Try these ideas out at your next moment of temptation. You’ll be feeling stronger and more secure in a few seconds!