I love food. I can’t get enough of cooking meals for friends and family. I feel creative and skillful in the kitchen, and am in awe of the way new recipes can give you insight into different cultures without having to leave your own home (a bonus when you’re stuck inside for weeks on end…).
Cooking is an area of my life where I am adventurous and innovative and boldly take risks. I am proud of my skills and motivation. Great!
Not always. I also love to eat, and drink. I love dining out, I love amazing wine, I live for my morning coffee.
Food and booze are my favorite vices.
Let me explain.
I’ll get the sad part over with first: the truth is that I cannot trust my instincts when it comes to food and alcohol.
That’s the first thing that my HG coach woke me up to when we met.
My sneaky patterns around eating and drinking were outed in my first homework assignment.
Honestly, I didn’t think it was that bad. I mean, my weight had always fluctuated and I found it hard to say no to glass 3, 4, and 5, but didn’t everyone?
Especially after the first 2 cocktails…
What my coach allowed me to see – with a spotlight held over it – was that food and booze had control over me.
I had been lying about eating and drinking and how far I would go to protect my bad habits since third grade (when my favorite after-school snack was tablespoons of Nutella straight from the jar eaten while hiding under the kitchen table).
There were also times I spent the money meant for the math tutor on McDonalds, because I needed that double cheeseburger…a meal to lift my spirits.
And let’s not forget frequently ordering enough takeout for two (“to have leftovers for lunch tomorrow”) but stuffing my face, slurping up every last noodle, before the delivery guy had even left the building.
For me, once the bottle was open, or I was one step inside the bakery, it was all over. My sugar-addict brat took over.
But I thought that since I felt sooooo bad after my bread binges and blackouts, wallowed in my guilt for 24-72 hours (easily done with a hangover, some edibles and new episodes of Great British Bake Off), I was paying the right price.
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I mean, I was already following The Method via my husband. He had been working with a coach (to great effect) for a year. We only ate carbs and drank alcohol on the weekends if we were at our goal weight. We were in the best shape of our lives after each losing 50+ pounds and were successfully keeping it off.
The problem was that, because I wasn’t in The Method myself, I didn’t truly understand promises and consequences, so I was out of Personal Integrity.
Side note – my husband and his coach had been trying to bring me in for months. He had also secured a new job and doubled his salary through the work, so I knew it was powerful, but I resisted. My lie to get out of not wanting to go where I knew she would take me was that I wanted to respect his “thing.” What a, frankly, lazy cop out.
Anyway, when I (finally) met with her, I was a mess.
I had been out of work for months and was spinning on the spot, submitting half-assed applications for jobs I didn’t really want so that I wouldn’t be too upset when I never heard back (hi, chicken!), and using my favorite chores, cooking and laundry (yep, I love the old wash, dry, fold – see I’m not all bad), to fill my days, frequently “running out of time” to finish applications or “forgetting” to follow up with that contact.
How did I get out?
Among other things, I found a way to use my dark (food and drink) for light (realizing my dreams).
Here’s how it works.
I make a promise that both supports my schedule and is in alignment with my dreams.
Then, I set a consequence. An annoying one that is (usually) attached to one of my vices.
For example, I needed to get moving on writing this blog. So, I made a promise to write 500 words before 5pm on Tuesday.
If I didn’t get that done, I would lose my second coffee every day for the rest of the week. My word count was 554 by 4:46pm (when my mom called – bonus that I got to catch up with her because I was finished early).
Yesterday, I wanted to apply for a job I was well-qualified for at a company I admire. I could have easily put it off until the application window closed, diverting my attention to other tasks (one of my favorites is “organizing my inbox”) and letting the days slip away.
Instead, I made a promise to apply for that job AND follow up with a personal referral or introduction, and scheduled an hour for it in my calendar. If I didn’t get to it that day, I would lose one of my precious wines this weekend.
You see, I already have strict rules in those areas (I only allow 2 drinks per day, 2 days per weekend, and I only allow 2 cheat meals – with carbs – per weekend if I’m at my goal weight). So you can imagine how protective of them this snack queen is.
Other common consequences of mine are double workouts (one I’m paying this week for delivering a task late), and missing my next cheat meal/s. If it’s a major promise, I lose my entire cheat weekend (all food and drink).
Paying my consequences feels (almost) as productive as keeping my promises. I’m held accountable either way.
By managing my days (and my life) using promises and consequences I am more fulfilled, motivated, and excited than ever before. Even mid-pandemic I feel powerful and proud, because I’m building my Personal Integrity and taking actions to realize my dreams.
I have been doing a ton of spiritual exploration and self-development work in the past 18 months and I can promise you that The Handel Method has absolutely been the most powerful in practice. That, and regular meditation.
To be completely honest though, I’d be struggling to maintain my meditation practice without The Handel Method – I have an ongoing promise to meditate twice daily. If I don’t, I skip wines.
If you want to take control of your life, do this. Don’t listen to the chicken in your head. There could not possibly be a better time to start.