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Planning Your Health Intervention

Adapted from The Petite Advantage Diet by Jim Karas

According to Martin Fishbein, Ph.D. and Distinguished Professor at the University of Pennsylvania (which happens to be my alma mater), “The study of health behavior is really a way to determine how to design interventions that change or reinforce beliefs.” I like that approach a lot. And most of us need an intervention.

What do they tell you on an airplane when the oxygen masks come down in the event of a change in pressure? Put your mask on first; then help your children and the elderly. Why? Because in that way, you are strong enough to take charge and take care of those in need. Our instinct is not to do that, even though we have been told repeatedly to do so. We think we should help everyone else first, while desperately gasping for air and possibly passing out. But once you are toast, who is going to be there to help the others? Do you see this flawed belief system? Ask yourself if you would put on your own oxygen mask first? If your answer is “no,” let’s work on making that a “yes.”

When you allow yourself limited or no time to focus on your health, how are you supposed to make better food choices, to sleep, to exercise, to breathe, to do whatever is required to take care of yourself? Start today by planning just five minutes to focus on yourself.

In those five, pre-determined minutes—yes, plan them—I want you to:
1. Think about what you are going to eat for the rest of the day and tomorrow.
2. Plan when you are going to exercise in the coming week.
3. Eliminate one unnecessary task from your day. No, that basement closet does not need to be cleaned out today. Instead, make a cup of tea, because tea boosts your metabolism and helps you lose weight.
4. Breathe.

I’m only asking for five minutes. Clearly, you have that time to give to yourself—because you now believe that selfish is good!

Learn more about taking charge of your health and a specialized plan for women 5’4″ and under in The Petite Advantage Diet by Jim Karas.

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