Welcome to Day 23!
Yesterday was a near disaster. Jennifer, your favorite classmate, almost floated out in space. It turns out that no one was there when she was doing her check around the perimeter of camp. Her tether came lose, and she was able to grab onto an overhead lamp light before she floated to her doom. Now there’s a new rule that everyone has to have a buddy when they’re outside. It makes doing chores a bit more complicated, but better safe than sorry!
Be sure to start thinking about today's assignment. You will finish it with your coach. It will help make eating from day-to-day a lot easier—less willpower required. Continue working on your plate habit.
What Rules are For
One of the ways that we can set up boundaries for the Assistant to stop the loopholes and excuses is coming up with rules.
A rule is a boundary to keep the Assistant in line. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Rules are helpful if you're trying to NOT do something.
You can't make a habit to not eat food from the vending machine. Habits have to be something you actually do. But, you can make a Rule. A rule can help keep you from buying an afternoon candy bar.
There are two types of rules that I teach: Bright Line Rules and Jump Through Hoops Rules.
Bright Line Rules
When you are driving on a highway and the lane marker lines are faded and non-existent, there can be a lot of drifting around the road. But on a newly painted road, you know right where you should be driving.
In the Assistant’s case without bright line rules, there’s a lot of room for interpretation and a lot of room for loopholes. Once you paint some bright lines, it shuts down your Assistant’s excuses.
To make Bright Line Rules, you make simple, clear rules to keep your Assistant on track.
For instance, you’ll come up with Bright Lines around your most common weight loss obstacles. Look at where you're using too much willpower, and you may need a rule there.
One of those areas that the Assistant needs bright line rules for is sweets. If you tell your Assistant, “Eat less sweets,” she will no doubt come up with a very generous interpretation of the word “less” and be pestering you with loopholes all day long. Instead you need to come up with a bright line rule for sweets.
These Bright Line Sweet Rules will differ from person-to-person depending on your individual goals and individual bodies. One of my clients may have a bright line rule that they eat dessert only on Fridays. Other clients have bright line rules to eat sweets only when they have company over. Other clients have rules that allow them to eat sweets once a day as long as they only eat 3 bites. Some clients have a rule to eat sweets only on Holidays.
It doesn’t matter which bright line sweet rule you adopt. The key is to make a bright line rule, and tell your Assistant that this is the way it’s going to be.
Some people find that their Assistants are very uncooperative. Their Assistants might totally rebel if they make a Bright Line Rule and draw a line in the sand. So, they'd prefer to use a gentler approach.
That's when Jump-Through-Hoops (JTH) Rules come in handy. With a JTH Rule, you tell the Assistant that she can indulge, but she has to "jump through some hoops" first.
A JTH rule takes advantage of the lazy nature of the Assistant. It's all about putting some obstacles in front of the Assistant to decrease the frequency of indulgences. Your Assistant may decide to indulge anyway, but then again, it may be too much effort and not be worth it.
Think of it as what you do when your teenagers want to go out with their friends, but you're not too excited about it.
"You want to go out with your friends tomorrow night? Sure, you just have to clean your room, mow the lawn, and clean the bathroom first."
Your teenager will either figure it's not worth it, or she'll get the chores done around the house. It’s a win-win.
So what are some examples of a JTH Rule? You can get a hamburger at the Fast Food Restaurant, but you have to have a side salad first.
Another one might be you can have seconds but only after you've done the dishes after dinner and put all the leftovers away.
Another JTH rule could be you can cut out on your workout early, but you have to go to the gym and walk on the treadmill for five minutes first.
Preferably, if the hoop you are jumping through is something helpful that's even better (like eating a salad, cleaning up the kitchen, or walking for five minutes).
Ready to make some Bright Line Rules or Jump Through Hoops Rules? Check out the worksheet below to start working on your first rule.
When you make a rule, you want to figure out how to state it in a positive form. It turns out the Assistant part of your brain is not good at hearing the words no, don't, or not.
The Assistant may be more likely to do the exact thing you told her NOT to do. So when you make a rule instead of saying,"I don't eat between meals." You would phrase it as, "I only eat at scheduled meals and snacks."
Another example would be instead of making a rule, "I don't eat Christmas treats people bring me except at my Christmas party," you would make the rule, "I only eat Christmas treats when it's my Christmas Party time."
Rules May Take Practice
It may take a few times of reminding her of the new rules, but eventually, the Assistant will get the picture and stop asking.
She’ll walk right by the taste testers at Costco and not even bother the Boss about it. The loopholes have been shutdown.
The key to losing weight without dieting is to retrain the Assistant part of your brain to get on the same healthy habits page as the Boss part of the brain.
The Boss has set a weight loss goal. Now she needs to retrain the Assistant habit part of the brain. To do so, she has to help the Assistant make new habits, and turn off her loopholes by making rules to stop doing undesirable behaviors.
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So when do we use rules?
Rules are very specific boundaries that we use when we're confronted with temptation over and over again. It's like we've got to put some boundaries.
I think of it kind of like a curfew that you give your teenager. You don't want them staying out all night. We want to keep them home, bring them home at by a certain time. Well, rules are the same way. They keep your assistant out of mischief.
Two Types of Rules
So there's two rules that you can make. The first one is called bright line rules. Interesting name, right?
So, let's say you're driving down a country road. The lines are all faded out. You can't see the lane markers, you kind of drift all around. Well, bright line rules is like someone came along and repainted those lines. They're very dark. You can see them, they stand out, they keep you where you need to be.
And, bright line rules keep our assistant where she needs to be. They help her to know exactly what she needs to do.
So, think about a temptation that you've been facing in your life that you've been using way too much willpower on. That's a really good instance for you to make a bright line rule about it.
Examples of Bright Line Rules
So, when might you need a bright line rule?
I have a bright line rule that I don't eat unless it's a meal or a snack. My assistant loves to pick at foods while I'm preparing them or clearing up after them. So, I have a very specific bright line rule. Don't eat unless it's a meal or snack that's planned.
And what kinds of things have you been worrying about or been trying to use willpower for? Some people might have a bright line rule about never eating out of a vending machine.
Other people might have a bright line rule about what kinds of things they'll buy at a fast food restaurant. Other people have bright line rules about what they order when they go to a coffee shop. It just depends where your temptation lies.
So, a bright line role is very specific about keeping you in the lines. And, I have a worksheet below that'll help you to make a bright line rule.
Now what about a jump through hoops role? Jump-through-hoops rule means you make it hard for the Assistant to do whatever she's tempted to do.
So the assistant, she likes to be lazy and so jump-through-hoops means she's got to do some things if she wants to indulge.
So,usually when people use a jump-through-hoops rule, it's because they tried a bright line rule already or a bright line rule just seem too hard. They weren't able to follow through with the bright line rule. So, jump-through-hoops rule is kind of like a bright line rule—lite. It's kind of an easier version.
So, something you might have for a jump-through-hoops rule might be something like— “I can have soda but I have to drink one big glass of water in between each soda.” That would be a jump through hoops rule.
Or, it (the jump-through-hoops rule) might be something like— “I can have a treat, but I have to walk to the grocery store to get it. And that's the only thing I can buy when I do it.”
Another jump-through-hoops rule you might do would be something like, “Well, I can have an ice cream, but it's only for dessert day and I have to exercise all week long in order to earn it.”
Jump-through-hoops rules makes things harder. And, because the assistant is Lazy, she doesn't usually want to do it. So, it's just a way of making rules for those of you whose Assistants are a little bit of a rebel. She'll balk at rules and those bright line rules. But, Jump-through-hoops rules makes it a little bit easier and a little bit less stringent on her, so she won't rebel against you.
So look down below at the worksheet. I'll help you make a jump through hoops role and a bright line rule so you can keep your Assistant reigned in. So, she’s not making all kinds of loopholes and rationalizations, and she'll keep you losing weight.