Relax

Happy flowers © by Helen Flamme

For most of us, the active weight loss phase brings some stress with it.

I do my best to keep stress in my life to a minimum, but it often sneaks in regardless.  I take a low-stress approach to weight loss, trying constantly to walk the line between pushing myself to do enough to lose weight (or maintain) without making myself diet-crazy.  It’s often a thin line, and while today I am pretty good about minimizing the life-stress of dieting, the simple fact is that making any change in your life brings some stress with it, and even the gentlest diet brings a gentle stress.

Dieting Takes Attention

Dieting usually means holding yourself back from easier choices and from things you want, and also pushing yourself to do things you don’t really feel like doing, such as cutting up vegetables, passing on the offered cookies, and going out for a walk.  Sometimes doing the healthy weight-loss things feels good, but some days you do them when they don’t feel so good, and that struggle requires the famed self-control.

It also takes a lot of attention, because those choices need to keep getting made, over and over again. Breakfast, lunch, gym time, etc.  On easy days when you control your environment the choices may be fewer, on tough days when emotions run high and external circumstances are difficult, there can be literally hundreds of choices you face.  If you keep making good choices, you feel good but you also feel exhausted.  If you don’t always make good choices, you are still exhausted, and now also guilty.

Increased Attention Increases Awareness

In weight loss, the increased attention from those choices leads to the weight loss as the better choices accumulate.

The same attention increases awareness can also be applied to your happiness, and in that case it can actually make you feel happier, by making you more aware of what makes you happy. When I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer I was as stressed out as I’ve ever been in my life. I found that focusing on happiness activities – like writing a “100 Things That Make Me Happy” list and keeping track every day of enjoyable moments in my day, and things that I appreciated really helped me to find peace. Since then, I’ve found the same to be true with dieting.

Being Happy While Dieting

What Ive found is that re-visiting my 100 Things That Make Me Happy in the context of dieting helps me to crystalize the good things in life.  Writing down everyday moments of happiness increases my enjoyment, my appreciation, and takes the focus off dieting.

Increased Emphasis On Happiness Reduces The Drain on Self-Control

I believe what I’ve read about Self-Control being a limited resource .  I believe that you only say “no” to yourself so many times before you say yes.

In my experience, adding in emphasis on happiness helps to boost the self-control meter in the other direction – maybe letting me get a few more moments of self-control without feeling deprived.

World Happy Day is coming, and I’m re-committing to my happiness.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Numbers 71-80 of 100+ Things That Make Me Happy

March 11, 2011 Relax

I’m thrilled to be back with the next installment of  “100+ Things That Make Me Happy“.  The fact that I’m back to writing this up means my life is largely back to normal. 71. Hearing birds singing to each other in the morning I live in Paris, and I love it here, but I especially […]

8 comments Read more →

The Pleasures of Fall

October 22, 2010 Relax

photo credit: Andreas Nilsen I love changing seasons – even when the seasons I like best are ending, there are always new things to look forward to in the one coming in.  Making my list of summer pleasures helped me appreciate some of the things as they came to pass – and therefore I’m repeating […]

7 comments Read more →

Numbers 61-70 of 100+ Things That Make Me Happy

October 13, 2010 Relax

It’s been a while since I’ve added to my list of  “100+ Things That Make Me Happy“.  Over the past several weeks I have spent a lot of time appreciating my daily life, but a lot of the daily pleasures are things in the earlier numbers. 61. Wearing jewelry photo credit: Gauis Caecilius The thing […]

4 comments Read more →

Back to basics week : Daily Pleasures

September 15, 2010 Relax

One of my goals this week has been one of my “back to basics” of focusing on daily pleasures. This is a little happiness-boosting, stress-busting technique that takes little time and pays off big time. In addition to reducing stress and increasing your focus on happiness, I’ve found it also helps me stay focused on […]

6 comments Read more →

Numbers 51-60 of 100+ Things That Make Me Happy

August 31, 2010 Relax

It’s time for another edition of “100+ Things That Make Me Happy“.  One of the best things of this edition, is almost all of it is from actual experiences I’ve had during this first week of summer vacation (and even better, there are still two weeks left of vacation!).  You’ll see several summer pleasures on […]

10 comments Read more →

I Like to Travel, But I LOVE to Come Home

August 28, 2010 Relax

I really like to travel, but I LOVE to come home too. We were on summer vacation for almost 4 weeks. It’s a long time. photo credit: KTVee Before I forget in the day-to-day of my normal life, here’s a list of some things for coming home : Some of the fun stuff I did […]

8 comments Read more →

Pleasures of the Indian Ocean

August 20, 2010 Relax

We are have just started the third and final phase of our long French vacation, after leaving Mauritius we have come to Reunion (a department of France, similar in status as Hawaii in the US).  Midweek next week we head home – and back to normal life. Both islands are in the Indian ocean, quite […]

10 comments Read more →

The Fattest Girl on the Beach

August 17, 2010 Featured

Here in the Indian ocean I’m pretty much the Fattest Girl on the Beach. photo credit: omnia_mutantur (not me! You wouldn’t catch me dead in a bikini bottom) I felt bad about that for about a minute, but mostly I felt bad for even thinking about it – for sizing up the other women & […]

17 comments Read more →

This week’s pleasures, this weekend’s plans

July 23, 2010 Relax

This week I’ve done a better job of keeping track of the daily pleasures of my life.  Not obsessively, not every day, but taking the time to do something nice for myself, and when I’ve been feeling harried, taking the time to write down what those things are. Some of this week’s highlights : This […]

9 comments Read more →

Are You Happy?

July 22, 2010 Relax

I came across this amazing image the other day :  It is presented here with permission, and it’s by Alex Koplin & David Meiklejohn and you can find more about it here. As you know if you read my blog, I think a lot about balance, relaxing and that I follow “happiness” theory a little bit […]

6 comments Read more →

24 Things You Can Do Besides Eat When You’re Bored

July 16, 2010 Featured

Yesterday my plane home got stuck for technical issues and we had a lovely 3 hour wait on the plane while they dealt with repairs and tried to determine how cranky 50 people could get if you enclosed them in a small tin can with enormous heat and no water.  I kept thinking about what […]

13 comments Read more →

Pleasures from Switzerland

July 15, 2010 Relax

I’m traveling in Switzerland this week, and succeeding in most of my goals so far.  It’s not easy.  Lunch yesterday was a Big Challenge but luckily I had appropriate snacks in my hotel room, so I escaped the scene & went to grab something in my room instead. A walk around the lake I even […]

10 comments Read more →

Numbers 41-50 of 100+ Things That Make Me Happy

July 9, 2010 Relax

It’s time for another edition of “100+ Things That Make Me Happy“.  This is actually a partially themed edition, mainly around Summer pleasures, after some brainstorming inspired by a blog post I read recently about anticipating the pleasures of Summer.  This set of my Happy List is a mix of recent & anticipated pleasures, but […]

11 comments Read more →

Pleasures on the Road

June 17, 2010 Relax

Well, my new food journal & pleasure log combo is still working for me & thought I’d update you with some of the pleasures of the last few days. Food wise there is not much exciting to report – you know your diet is going really well when the worst thing you can report is […]

12 comments Read more →