Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? I was thinking about the phrase “dog days of summer” and like all things it got me thinking about weight loss and what lessons Ol’ Rover could teach us. Without further ado, here are dieting tips to train your mind, increase your willpower, and get you best of show at the same time!
1. Reward good behavior
2. Don’t ignore good behavior
3. Do not reward undesirable behavior
4. Do not punish desirable behavior
5. If you are not serious about enforcing a command, don’t give it
6. Develop the proper use of timing
7. Interrupt the behavior pattern you want to change
8. Social interaction
9. Proper exercise
10. Safety and security
11. Food, water and shelter
12. Training leads to skills
Sounds fairly simple, doesn’t it? It should be. I found this list when surfing the web looking for some tips on dog training for our dog, Buddy. Much like my obesity, Buddy came uninvited into my life and proceeded to turn things upside down in the process. He is a great family dog and very loving, but the barking just has to stop. Much like my overeating had to stop.
In searching for some answers to train my lively pup, I stumbled upon a list of 101 dog training tips on 101-dog-training-tips.com. I read the list and they made a great deal of sense to me for my dog’s needs. As I later thought about the list, many of the pointers were exactly what I did while charting my path on the journey of self-improvement through self-motivation, that eventually led me to lose 130 pounds and to maintain it for over 12 years. Let’s pray that Buddy gets it and is able to maintain his improvements for that long, too!
Let’s see if we can teach old dieters a new trick by applying this tips to our plight.
1. Reward good behavior—In my book, Awaken the Diet Within, I dedicate an entire chapter to the benefits of rewarding yourself as you meet the goals that you have set for yourself. My first goal was to avoid eating ice cream for one week. If successful, my reward was a manicure. Two weeks a pedicure. Three weeks a trip to the art museum. You get the picture. Small rewards for reaching my goals. Human dog treats, so to speak!
2. Don’t ignore good behavior–Don’t ignore the positive behaviors that you are making and the insights and awareness that you are building. Those are equally if not more important than the readings on the scale, yet we give far too much credence to the scale!
3. Do not reward undesirable behavior–Absolutely not! If you ‘fall of the wagon’ and eat something that is unhealthy, do not ‘reward’ it or allow it to cause you to overeat for the rest of the day, waiting for the proverbial “tomorrow” to arrive and signal the start of the new dieting day.
4. Do not punish desirable behavior–Think of this as going into deprivation mode. In the past, you may have associated dieting with deprivation, don’t do it this time! Realize that by following the healthy lifestyle that you are now embarking on that you are doing great things for yourself and that the unhealthy ways of the past were in fact, depriving you of optimal health! Punish the bad, praise the good!
5. If you are not serious about enforcing a command, don’t give it–If you are not ready to start this journey, don’t. Wait awhile. Figure out all of the reasons why you want to change, but once you step foot on the path of self-improvement, do so with the intention of adhering solidly to your new way of life. Make no excuses and accept no excuses.
6. Develop the proper use of timing–Timing is everything! Use your time wisely. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that you don’t have time to work out or that fast food is your only option. Plan your time and optimize it. If you are not taking steps in the right direction each day, doing actions that will get your further to your goal, or are worrying about what may lie ahead then you are wasting time! Your timing couldn’t be any better than right now to get started!
7. Interrupt the behavior pattern you want to change–“If you keep doing the same things that you have always done, you are going to keep getting the same results you have always gotten.” Enough said.
8. Social interaction–Get a buddy, a mentor, visit a chat room, etc. You don’t need to be on this path alone, there are a lot of us traveling it. Make it fun and don’t allow yourself to feel lonely. If you want a friend, first be a friend to yourself.
9. Proper exercise–Your body will respond so well to this tip. Start slowly and do as much as you can do depending on your health and level of fitness. I can assure you that if you just start moving, it will be easier each time and soon it will even be fun!
10. Safety and security–Do not fall for fads and gimmicks. Chose your approach wisely. Make sure you are eating a sound nutritional diet and get a physical!
11. Food, water and shelter–The basic human needs. We need food, but we don’t need Twinkies. We need water, not Coke. We need shelter, not a mansion. Get your priorities straight!
12. Training leads to skills–Practice makes perfect! Keep reading positive books, listening to motivational tapes.