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Do you inflate your feelings into justifications?

A member of the year-long Weighless program recently posted in our private forum that she is doing really well in so many areas (nailing her daily weigh-ins, moving her body more, making healthy food choices) but one area where she struggles is turning to food when she is bored or stressed.

This is a topic that we cover A LOT in the program, and also in the Change Academy podcast (specifically in an episode called Stop Coping So Well). But I had a recent interaction with a close personal friend that I thought may be helpful.

The story

To set the stage, the idea is that we may create (or at least inflate) the feelings that lead us to indulge or temporarily abandon our goal, out of thin air.

For example, a friend of mine is doing Dry-January (avoiding alcohol for 31 days) and only 5 days into the month he texted me saying that he “really wanted a drink!” I asked him why. He said, “I just finished a carpentry job in the house and that usually means beer.” I asked him what the project was. And he said (after a long pause), “Well, actually, I just put up two shelves…”

And like that, the craving was gone.

He went on with his day and is still on track with his Dry-January.

The takeaway

My point of this story is that his brain, looking for a reason to fall back into the old habit, had turned a simple 10-minute job into a “carpentry project” to justify his urge to have a beer.

The bigger point is that I think we do that with other emotions, too. Stress, boredom, loneliness, celebration – our sneaky brains blow them up so we have a reason to indulge.

So next time you feel yourself reaching into your bag of justifications take a minute and consider: am I really that _______? Or am I inflating this into an excuse (that I will regret later)?

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