Worksheet: Break the Chain 1 One-on-One Personal Training and Online Training Service

Worksheet: Break the Chain

How to evaluate your own progress (and feel good about it.)

Do you have a “complicated” relationship with food? If you find yourself having unwanted food experiences, such as intense food cravings, overeating, emotional eating, or feeling out of control when you eat, try this worksheet. You can do this exercise any time you have an episode of eating that feels stressful, upsetting, or unwanted. Repeat this exercise as often as you like, to gain more insight into your eating habits and get ideas about how to change them. Research shows that while our behaviors may seem “spur-of-the-moment”, when it comes to overeating the groundwork is laid several hours in advance by our daily rituals, habits, mindset, and automatic thinking. Overeating is simply the last link in a long chain. If you can break the first link, you have a much better chance of never getting to the last link. The goal of this exercise is to build awareness of what your eating episodes have in common. Maybe it’s a time of day, or a situation, or a type of food, or another person (or being alone), or a feeling – or all of these. Describe in as much detail as possible what you are experiencing, or remember experiencing, at each stage. Then go back and review. Look for common features. Look at the steps you took. This helps you build an understanding of the process, which you can then use to disrupt these patterns. If you habitually overeat in your kitchen at 6 pm when stressed, then figure out strategies to deal with a stressy dinner hour before it happens – as far in advance as possible. If you habitually think certain thoughts beforehand (e.g. “I’m a failure”, “This will make me feel better”, etc.) then come up with ways to respond to those thoughts before they hit you. Etc. Complete this worksheet every time you have an episode of overeating. Be honest and thorough. You are collecting data so that you can analyze your own patterns and eventually develop strategies to deal with them.

Five questions to ask yourself about your progress so far:

QUESTION #1: What have you put the most effort into during the last few weeks?

If you’ve been showing up, even just a little, it means you’ve been working on something. So jot that down and remind yourself of where your focus and energy has been.

QUESTION #2: What are you most proud of from the last few weeks?

Here we’re looking for daily wins. Like having a good breakfast on your busiest morning. Or making a smart eating decision in a tricky situation. You’ve done something to be proud of. Now’s the time to call it out.

QUESTION #3: How will you high-five yourself for the great work (in a healthy way)?

Think about how you’ll celebrate your progress, even if it’s just a small reward that supports your goals.

QUESTION #4: What more would you have liked to accomplish?

Everyone thinks this kinda stuff…coulda, woulda, shoulda. Let’s get it down on paper, and then let it go. Write down what you wanted to get done… but didn’t

QUESTION #5: What next thing can you do to move past what you think you ‘should’ have done, and keep you moving forward?

Think about the next step you can take, right now, to stay on track.

Four questions to ask yourself about what’s coming next:

QUESTION #1: Looking ahead to the next few weeks, what are you most looking forward to?

In other words, what are you excited about? Looking forward to? Ready to tackle?

QUESTION #2: Knowing what you’re about to work on, what advantages do you think you have that’ll make progress more likely?

Tune into your own unique abilities. What ‘superpowers’ do you have that can help you in your efforts?

QUESTION #3: Knowing what’s coming up in the next few weeks, what things are likely to stand in your way?

Consider the things that might prevent your progress.

QUESTION #4: How can you prepare, right now, to make sure those things don’t get in your way?

Having listed things that might stand in your way, think about how you’ll prevent them from sabotaging you. How can you avoid obstacles before they happen?