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> Back to Self-Care Excerpts List

Self-Care Excerpt from Don't Weight

The Pink Elephant

I want you NOT to think about a pink ceramic elephant. Do NOT picture this twelve-inch tall elephant sitting on the table in front of you. Do NOT think of the lime green inside the ears or the cute little purple toenails. How are you doing? Are you NOT thinking about it? Of course you are thinking about it! That is all you can think about when I am commenting on it at length. It is impossible to NOT think about something. It is virtually impossible to NOT do something. Remember these characteristics of human thinking and behavior when you set your goals.

How many times have you tried not to eat this or that food? Instantly, all you can think of is the forbidden food. You experience powerful cravings. Trying not to eat makes you think about eating. I will never recommend that you NOT eat particular foods. You do not need the cravings. I will encourage you to eat more nutritious foods that you enjoy. That is something you can DO.

Have you ever tried to STOP being sedentary? Every time you notice yourself, you are sitting. It feels like you are doing the exact behavior that you wanted to stop. The truth is, you cannot stop sitting around. You can START moving a little at a time. You CAN take action. That is where you have power, in your actions. There is only frustration in trying to NOT do something.

Have you ever tried NOT to think critical thoughts? "I will stop criticizing my body." or "I will stop thinking I'm lazy." As you think of what kind of thoughts to avoid, you are in the middle of thinking critical thoughts. It is impossible to DO a negative! Instead, I will encourage you to consciously choose a more positive way of phrasing things in your own head and out of your own mouth. "I will appreciate my body." or "I will acknowledge the obstacles to accomplishing my goals." Practice choosing action (what you WILL do), instead of trying NOT to do something.

It takes every second of every minute of every hour of every day to NOT eat, or NOT criticize, or NOT anything. It only takes a moment to eat some healthy food, to appreciate yourself in some way, to get up and feel your body move. It only takes a moment to take an action or think a thought. This is your life. Instead of focusing on what you want to avoid, pay attention to what you want to add to your life. DO something. (By the way, I love pink elephants. I think about them all the time.)

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