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I quit smoking 25 years ago because I was frightened by the way I felt every morning. I
adopted the controlled carbohydrate lifestyle about 19 months ago, because I was frightened
when I looked in the mirror every morning.
Both decisions were among the best I ever made, and both journeys to improved health have been
very much alike. Each required a brain reboot in the beginning, and each required new "software"
to master the art of quitting and change life as I knew it for the better.
I have found myself almost unconsciously reverting to some of the old smoking cessation practices
I learned in a group I joined way back then. That tells me that the behavior modification worked
very well indeed. I remember the instructors mentioning that this method could be used for many
beneficial life changes. I certainly got my money's worth.
I still talk to myself a lot. That may sound a bit dotty, but it sums up a technique that can
really help galvanize one's resolve. It's one thing to think about positive change; it's quite
another to believe in positive change. If you say aloud to yourself (and to others) all the
things you want to believe often enough, the words you hear will impact your subconscious mind
and change what you actually believe.
Try this: Make eye contact with yourself in the mirror and say, with great feeling and animation,
"You're doing so well today! You look better; you feel better, and you're on your way to a GREAT
NEW LIFE! It's so much easier today that it was yesterday, and I can't wait until tomorrow, when
it will get even better."
That felt pretty stupid, right? The amazing thing is that when you get over feeling stupid, and
you talk to yourself often and enthusiastically, it really does get easier.
I now notice myself saying things like, "I used to think that I couldn't live without potatoes.
Now I don't even like them any more - they're too pasty!" The first time I said it, I really
didn't believe it. Now that I've said it so many times, I do. Simple as that.
A form of self-hypnosis, this therapeutic technique costs nothing and can be done almost anywhere.
The corollary practice is to never say aloud what you want to stop believing. After I quit smoking,
it was OK to think that I wanted a cigarette, but it was forbidden to say it aloud. For instance,
I'd never say, "I'd like to eat that entire lemon icebox pie, right now," even if it were true.
Acting on that impulse gave me several unwanted pounds as a birthday present last year.
I remember my smoking cessation instructors saying, "Don't worry about whether or not you'll be
successful, just follow the instructions and do the assignments."
I applied that liberating technique to the Atkins diet. I just read the book and followed the
instructions. Frankly, I never dreamed that I would lose so much weight. When people ask me
how to do it, I tell them to just read the book and follow the instructions. No muss, no fuss,
Diets cause feelings of deprival, right? Not for me. I eat very well. I almost never get hungry.
I like the foods I eat. I eat a great variety of foods. I have repeated those words to myself
and others hundreds of times. While they have always been true, I was reluctant to believe them
at first. With repetition, the words became truly mine.
Other things from the course that have stayed with me include feeling pity for someone I see
eating a great big sub sandwich. I also feel pity for smokers. I was conditioned to feel
that way 25 years ago. The rationale behind the practice is that one doesn't want to be pitiful
or be like persons who are.
When I used to see a cigarette ad in a magazine, the word "LIE" in bold black letters popped
into my head as if by magic. Again, that's conditioning. When I see a news story about the
importance of observing the food pyramid, that word pops up again. I have since learned that
the FP was first devised as a way to fatten livestock, and in all fairness, it works beautifully
The buddy system is also a great way to expedite substantive lifestyle changes. Cut carbs with a
friend. My sweetheart and I did the Atkins Induction Phase together. When I quit smoking, I had
a buddy to call when I got into trouble. Partnerships and collaborations for the greater good
raise all boats, especially when the people in the boats are lightweights!
Crutches can be helpful too. When I quit smoking, I sucked on red plastic coffee stirrers,
chewed them, twirled them, and made doodads out of them. I still eat low carb chocolates, my
crutches, almost every day.
But the most helpful technique I learned was making a list of 100 benefits I got from quitting
smoking. Here's a start on my list of the benefits of a controlled carb lifestyle:
You get the idea.
- I look younger.
- I feel A LOT better.
- I got a new wardrobe four sizes smaller.
- I got some additional work to help pay for my new wardrobe.
- Men look at me differently (Oh, yeah!)
- My sweetheart gets jealous.
- My legs don't rub together when I walk.
- I can cross one leg all the way over the other leg while sitting.
- I don't fall asleep after lunch.
- My knees don't hurt any more.
- My ankles don't swell any more.
- I no longer have heartburn.
- I found my hip bones.
- My double chin is single again.
- I can get up easily after falling down.
- I fit better into an airline seat.
- I have a spring in my walk.
- My arthritis is improved.
- I always liked butter better, anyway.
- I was never crazy about bananas.
- The Market is catching on about low carb.
- My skin and hair are silky smooth.
- My blood work is perfect, according to my doctor.
- I'm pretty proud of myself.
- My mother is so much happier.
Copyright © September 2004 Linda D. Mann and Low Carb Luxury