In my path towards healing, I incorporated something I call Post-it Therapy as a way to re-wire my brain with a visual reminder. Have you ever heard of people who want to lose weight taping “encouraging” notes to themselves to the refrigerator door so they don’t eat? Something like “Don’t eat that cake. You’ll ruin your diet and get fatter!” I always thought this was just cruel and stirred up a bunch of emotions around food for the person. I decided to combine the concept of this activity with a team-building activity I had to do before the start of the school year one year. I came up with my version of Post-it Therapy!1
At the beginning of every school year, the staff at my school gets together for the very fun and stimulating mandatory professional development days.2 Inevitably, this includes some kind of team-building activity. I normally find an excuse to avoid these activities (e.g., “Oh my goodness, I drank a ton of water and I need to use the restroom. I’ll be back!”), but I was compelled to stay one year when the presenter introduced something she called Post-it Therapy. I had never heard of it before, and, being someone who provides counseling at my school, I was curious, so I stuck around this time. The purpose of this particular presentation was to motivate us.3 The presenter explained that people often don’t realize the wonderful things they do or what amazing character traits they possess. She encouraged us to write something positive about one or more of our colleagues on a post-it and give it to that person. Not only would the receiver’s day be a little brighter, but the person who wrote on the post-it would feel warm and fuzzy inside too. I don’t know about you, but making someone else smile makes me smile. So I did the activity. I wrote notes on 2 post-its and ended up getting a few myself. It was a good day.
If you are on the IE journey, you know that it’s not a smooth path. There are bumps in the road, and, when I hit those bumps, I felt like I needed a little extra something to get me through that time. I remembered the Post-it Therapy from that professional development day and decided that I needed to do some Self-Post-it Therapy. At that point, I had read oodles of posts on the IE forum, and had been exposed to nuggets of wisdom along the way. I went back to those posts and wrote down each nugget of wisdom on a post-it and placed them all around my computer monitor so they could be easily read at any time. Here are a few of the post-its that I created:
- Can you change your height? Your shoe size? Then why your body’s natural size?
- A carrot eaten when not hungry is overeating while carrot cake eaten while hungry is not.
- I have three options: 1) Continue to have disordered eating, 2) Be healthy and dislike my body, or 3) Be healthy and learn to like my body.
- When I’m a little hungry, I eat a little. When I’m a lot hungry, I eat a lot.
- Mental health is not an acceptable price to pay for thinness!
- Exercise because you love your body, not because you hate it!
- You will plateau and stop gaining weight once your body reaches its natural weight.
- “Normal” eaters don’t write down what they eat; they just eat.
- Acceptance is not the same thing as approval.
- When we think that we “should” live a certain way, it causes a conflict between our thoughts and feelings.
- Halfway through your meal, take a moment to ask yourself, “Would I eat a carrot right now?” If you’re not hungry enough to eat a carrot, you probably don’t physically need the rest of your meal.
- Exercise breaks down muscle carbohydrate stores and muscle protein structures. You need to eat carbs and protein to give your body the materials to rebuild.
- It’s hard to see my progress, but I make some every time I don’t give up!4
- I am more than my body.
- I am me.
When I moved homes in June 2016, I had to put away my post-its because my townhouse had to be show-ready at all times. I put them a file folder with some other IE material I had collected over the years. After I moved, I was so busy setting up my new home that I left my post-its in that file folder because they weren’t as high a priority as something like having my bed put together. That is where they have remained. When I open up that file folder from time to time, I read over my post-its, and I realize that those nuggets of wisdom are now a part of me. I no longer need the daily visual reminder.
If you notice your IE journey is on the bumpy side, consider something along the lines of my version of Post-it Therapy. It doesn’t even have to be on post-its. Put it on your phone. Staple it to your wall. Whatever. Find your own nuggets of wisdom that will give you the little push to get through the bumps in your IE journey. At some point, you will likely internalize those words and make them your own.
What would you write on your post-its? Please share in the comment section below.
1Unfortunately, I can’t take credit for the idea of Post-it Therapy. If only I’d come up with the idea first….
2Note the sarcasm.
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