Outcome-Based Decision Making

Do you ever go out to happy hour with co-workers, and then you feel upset afterwards because you feel like your choices pulled you away from your goals? Or, have you come home stressed from work, and immediately dove into your pantry? And then suddenly you're surrounded by empty food wrappers? 

When a lot of folks have an urge or craving for a certain food, they skip THINKING through it and immediately ACT on that urge/craving. I suggest taking a minute to PAUSE and THINK through your choices FIRST. Doing so allows us to remember that we do indeed 100% have control over what we do and do not decide to eat/drink – even if it doesn’t feel like it in the moment.

Some questions I like to ask myself when I take a pause are: “Why do I REALLY want this food and do I REALLY need this food now”. That question helps us determine if we’re trying to satisfy or fill some other emotional need besides hunger with food – if we’re trying to deal with stress, loneliness, fatigue, etc. If you gain this understanding, you can then take the time to come up with a healthier alternative that CAN actually give you the "relief" or "reward" you’re seeking. For example, if you’re stressed, instead of turning to food, you can instead brainstorm other, healthier alternatives that WILL actually alleviate your stress, like yoga, meditation, or going on a walk.

The next one is “Will I be happy with this decision in an hour? Or tomorrow?” And this comes down to understanding the outcomes of our decisions BEFORE we make them. For example, "I want to have some drinks tonight. I know that if I drink alcohol, I probably will feel dehydrated, tired, and bloated in a few hours or tomorrow, the scale could possibly go up, and I might end up having pizza later (all outcomes) – but as long as I’m OK with those outcomes that are the result of MY ACTIONS and MY CHOICES, then I will enjoy my drinks and my pizza without guilt”.

We’re trying to essentially gain an understanding of the outcomes of our choices BEFORE we make those choices. And once we do that, we have all the power and control in the world. 

Author: Megan Markoff, Black Iron Nutrition Coach, @meganmarkoff