Day 27: Master the 7 Question Technique
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Since I can not copy the author's outline of what the 7 question technique [copyright infringement] I will simply reference the pps. in the pink book and you can look them up. This book is in most public libraries. It is found on pps. 199-205. So, I will summarize what exactly this technique is and what you can or could possibly gain from employing it.
It is about detaching from your present behavior and thoughts and looking at them as if you were looking at someone else's thoughts and behaviors. Let's face it, it is always a lot easier to see another person's actions more clearly than our own and yet that is exactly what this discipline is asking us to learn and then practice.
It is not self-recrimination for one thing. It is though self-examination. Done without as much emotion as you can muster but with as much hope that you will gain insight into your behavior, thoughts and ultimately actions.
How do you employ this technique? I think the best way is pick an area of eating that has become problematic for you and then examine it in a way that sheds the most light on how your actions govern the final outcome. For example, when I was attending college I would pass through a food court every day. At first, I decided that the smell of melted cheese was luring me over to a food stand where I could buy a generous-sized container of nacho chips and where the vendor would drape that with a half-inch thick coating of melted cheese. To this day, I have never had anything so wonderful as a snack as I did when I was indulging in that cheese and chips snack. The day that I stopped this daily mid-afternoon ritual was when the semester ended and my walking route was in another direction but during that time I bet I never missed having a tray of that delicious snack.
I was not dieting at the time so I have no idea how many calories was in that salty crunchy snack but I will say I was starting to show signs of elevated blood pressure in spite of the fact that I was walking on campus an average of 8-10 miles a day( it is considered one of the largest physical college campuses in the U.S.).
If it were today I could use the 7 question technique to determine if this was something that I would want to do on a daily basis. Then, I could make a decision on whether or not it could be substituted with a healthier choice (an apple with some peanut butter and bottle of water?). I would get the crunch factor as well as a bit of sugar and salt in the peanut butter. The water would quench my thirst (from all that walking) and counteract any sodium in either the apple or peanut butter.
If I ignored doing this and continued to have this mid-afternoon snack in spite of it elevating my blood pressure (I was much younger as well) then I might want to ask myself why I want to persist in a behavior that has such consequences. I might want to explore why I would want to continue. This would especially be true if I had wanted to take the elevated blood pressure as a sign that I needed to curb my sodium habit.
Finally after determining whether or not this daily habit was staying I would have to ask myself what I should do either in the interim or permanent if I choose to do nothing.
So, by detaching from the situation and keeping it emotionally neutral I am able to make stronger and more decisive decisions when it comes the food choices that I make. There really is no right or wrong answer unless it interferes with another objective that you might have; as in, lowering your blood pressure, eating less saturated fat, or losing weight. It removes the morality that we seem to attach to certain foods and simply see them as whether or not they hinder or support our overall weight loss or health goals. Does this choices set us back, stall us or move us closer to our weight loss goals? That essentially is all that this technique is asking of us. And, we are the ones who must find the answer that works best for us. By engaging this we take responsibility for what we put into our mouth and learn to accept the aftermath of that and every other decision we make.
It is accountability to the most important person there is: YOU. Learning to use this technique can take our weight loss efforts to a whole new level. It is the foundation of mindful eating because it starts at the point of when you make that decision and are at your most powerful. Missing the opportunity to develop this skill will lessen the power you will feel around food and may make or break your success at losing weight. Something to consider and think about.