The Weekend Warrior
My client Jack had been around the block before.
Atkins diet? Still constipated from it.
Weight watchers? Still watching his weight go up.
Slimming world? He’s the only one in the world not slimming down.
Jack knew the issue. After a long week the weekend turned into a free for all.
Alcohol, Takeaways, the weekend fry.
He knew in his heart this was the reason for not dropping weight.
Yet every Monday Jack would come into our sessions confessing his sins.
Hoping I would give him some prayers as a punishment.
We had to get to the bottom of this.
The Movie of Your Life
Imagine for a moment your life as a movie.
In this movie, you are the main character.
The environment and the world you inhabit is your stage.
In the movie of our lives we presume we are also the director.
Like Steven Spielberg. The person who calls the shots.
Yet if we were really the director, why does someone like Jack still struggle so much with weight loss.
If we really had such control would there be any need for personal trainers?
The reality, control of our behaviour can seem fleeting. Sometimes we can show iron will, not bending to any impulse thrown at us.
At other times, somebody only needs to mention a vice for us to cave in to cravings.
For most people it can feel less like Steven Spielberg and more like a spectator, observing without any power.
Your Weekly Movie
Let’s take a look at Jack’s weekly movie.
Like most jobs, the good comes with the bad.
Some days can whizz along. While others, the stress of the meetings and deadlines can feel like too much.
The whole week can feel like one giant blob of a day.
When Friday rolls around it can feel irresistible to reward for the long week.
Jack may know he needs to monitor his weekly foods and stick with his planned meals.
But Friday he thinks- “Screw it, I deserve this. What’s the point in all this dieting if I can’t enjoy myself. I need to live a little.”
He feels compelled to have a couple of glasses of wine.
Or maybe a Chinese?
Or maybe both?
And that’s fine.
Watch and Repeat
But then he wakes up later, groggy and hungry.
And after a couple of drinks, the last thing on the menu is low fat salad.
Because he slept in, he can’t sleep that night.
Because he can’t sleep, he wakes up tired.
Monday comes and Jack is exhausted starting his week on the wrong foot.
He pushes on because it’s his job.
Friday rolls around and all that stress is relieved.
Jack is exhausted
He feels like he needs a reward.
He can think of a lovely bottle of wine he might open………..
Look back to move forward.
He who does not learn from history, is doomed to repeat it.” -George Santyana
The truth is we when it comes to our behaviour we have a lot less control than we think.
Old habits, social influences, stress, the media we watch. All of these inputs affect our thoughts and our immediate behaviours.
If like most people we let them affect us, our days and weeks are left on autopilot.
Have you ever come to a later month in the year only to say to yourself “where did that year go?”
And to make things worse, feeling like you haven’t accomplished anything.
The Butterfly effect
The butterfly effect is the theory that small seemingly insignificant actions can have dramatic outcomes later.
A butterfly thousands of miles away flapping its wings can cause a minute change in the atmosphere, setting a chain of reactions resulting in a large tornado.
In Jack’s weekly movie, Friday destroys his diet.
But if we look in the past, can we find a butterfly that flapped its wings that lead to the destruction?
When you succumb to cravings, it can be worthwhile to not only look at the behaviour itself.
But also the lead up to the eventual behaviour
For Jack it was the not the end which caused him to get a chinese and wine
But rather his start.
The stress of work acted like a trigger. Survival is the name of the game Monday to Friday.
The same plot recurring over and over.
Ingrained to have a drink at the weekend, it became the path of least resistance.
This lead to oversleeping, further disrupting Jack’s mood and willpower.
Then he couldn’t sleep, Making him more prone to stress and cravings.
The job becomes more stressful than it should making, the Friday escape seem more appealing than ever.
His brain has the connection of drinking on a Friday, making the cravings even more powerful causing a destructive cycle.
Have A Plot Twist
The very thing Jack vows against every weekend comes back to haunt him.
It all started with his one decision to drink and stay up late.
But like any good movie.
Imagine Jack made a plot twist.
On a Friday, he makes the hero’s decision. He says no, I don’t need the wine.
Instead he goes on a 20 minute walk.
All of a sudden he doesn’t collapse on the couch.
With a little more energy from the fresh air he decides to help his wife cook instead of a takeaway.
Exhausted from the activity, he skips the late tv for a good night sleep.
After a great rest, he’s full of energy so decides to go the gym.
Feeling great about his accomplishments, Jack doesn’t want to waste his calories on junk.
He eats healthier and gets another early night.
Jack is now refreshed come Monday. He even opens those emails before work he delayed on Friday……...
One Decision Big Implications
That one decision Jack made.
The decision to walk on a Friday evening, sent his movie in a completely different direction.
Imagine Jack skipped the alcohol and wine every weekend and instead walked and went to the gym while controlling his food intake.
Sometimes one decision makes all the difference.
Instead of being the powerless spectator of your movie, you become the director of your life.
They say don’t sweat the small stuff.
But the small stuff done repeatedly makes the big stuff.
So choose wisely.
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