Tame your inner elephant

Have you ever come home after a long day and heard a little voice in the back of your mind that convinced you to ditch your healthy, prepped dinner for a bag of chips?

 

You know who that voice belongs to? Your inner elephant.

Inside that mushy gray matter between your ears are two beings. We like to call them the elephant and the rider.

 

The rider knows what's right.

 

The rider knows we should prepare a healthy meal instead of stopping for takeout. The rider knows we should go to the gym instead of happy hour.

 

The rider is our rational, analytical side. It's our self-control.


Despite the rider's best efforts to drive, oftentimes the elephant takes charge.

 

The elephant is our impulsive, irrational, emotional side.

 

The elephant is the part of you that needs to buy that extra bag of chips. When you're feeling unmotivated, the elephant wraps its giant soft trunk around your shoulders and reminds you that the gym will be there tomorrow.

So, we've designed some tools (#NoomNerdsLoveTools) to help you empower your rider and tame your elephant.

 

The best way to help your rider is to plan.

1. Know your elephant and come prepared

Know when and where your elephant acts out and have a plan to defeat it. Does your elephant steer you toward the vending machine when the midday munchies strike? Keep a stash of healthy nuts, seeds, fruits and veggies at work. Is your elephant good at finding reasons you can't make it to the gym after work? Work out early in the morning.

2. Control your environment

Controlling your environment lessens your rider's workload. This might mean keeping triggers out of sight (we're looking at you, chocolate bar), or keeping healthy cues (like your sneakers, a bowlful of fruit, or an inspirational quote) out in the open.

3. Have a plan and commit to it

Scheduling an event on your calendar is called a "commitment device." Writing something down (or typing it into your phone) ups your commitment and increases your rider's chance of winning that eventual wrestling match with your elephant. Should we go today? What about tomorrow instead? Shut up, elephant -- it's in the calendar, we're going. Fine.

4. And have a backup plan (to backup your plan)

Things don't always go as planned, and that's okay. When things go off course, your elephant will try to break free. Don't let it -- come prepared with a backup plan so you don't have to make spontaneous, elephant-inspired decisions.

5. Make decisions ahead of time

Remember when we talked about decision fatigue and how our decision-making skills deteriorate over time? Of course you do. So, reduce the likelihood of "in the moment" decisions and plan ahead. Your rider will thank you.

The best way to tame your elephant is to keep it happy. Here's how.

1. Set realistic goals

While it's healthy to have goals, when there's a big gap between where you are and where you want to be, your elephant feels overwhelmed (and restless). Setting realistic goals is a great way to help your elephant and rider work together and feel more confident.

2. Treat yourself regularly

What makes your Noom journey different from others in the past is that this time you are making changes for the long-haul. Swearing off birthday cake and lasagna might work for a week or a month, but it won't work forever. So, plan regular treats to keep your elephant happy and under control. Remember, there are lots of non-food treats that can keep your elephant happy, too!

3. Be nice to your elephant

Yelling at your elephant won't help you tame it. Acknowledge it--give it some small wins every once in a while (see: treat yourself regularly) and make it your friend. Accept your elephant; just don't let it stop you from executing your plan.

4. Recover normally

If you slip, don't overcorrect by doubling your gym time or cutting out certain foods for a week. When you're too strict with your elephant, it starts feeling deprived and that's dangerous territory. Deprived elephants make emotional decisions. So, if you slip, don't go to extremes. Get back to your normal (realistic) routine and just keep swimmin'.

Now that you know how to help your rider and tame your elephant, let's practice.

1. Imagine a situation that gives you trouble.
Please enter a situation!
2. Identify how your elephant trips you up.
Please enter how your elephant trips you up!
3. Choose two devices: one to help your rider and one to keep your elephant happy.
Please choose 2 devices!
4. Commit to your action plan. (Commitment is an accountability device #Psych101).
Please enter an action plan!