Beam me Forward, Scotty

There I lay, supine on my comfy couch, engrossed in some escapism fiction, with nary a thought of food or exercise or blogging in my head.  As the book’s plot developed, suddenly the main character said something that hit me smack dab between the eyes.  He’s a lawyer; not a healthy living expert.  Not a dieter.  His only exercise is walking his beloved dog.  His only focus was on clearing his wrongly accused client of a multiple-murder charge.  Yet what he said struck me in that moment as so profound and so applicable to the journey that many of us have in common, that I knew I had to share it with you.

The context doesn’t matter.  The concept presented is apropos to so many things!  But, of course, my mind immediately went here, to my blog, my journey, my past struggles with overeating.  The quote comes from protagonist Andy Carpenter in “One Dog Night” by David Rosenfelt, as he describes his girlfriend who also happens to be his law firm’s investigator.

Laurie often employs a rather unique decision-making technique.  She imagines beaming herself into a future situation that will result from her decision.  She goes on to imagine how she will feel, and if it is intolerable, then she’ll beam herself a second time, with the decision variable reversed.  Often the second beaming results in a more palatable situation.

Well hello, bright light-bulb going off above my reclining head!

I immediately stopped reading.  And starting thinking.  And imagining.

I imagined my next impending binge.  And what would happen if I paused first to envision myself in the future, post-bender.  With a stomach-ache.  Filled with regret.  Realizing once again that eating crap made me feel like crap.  Cringing as I glare at the now higher number on the scale glaring back at me.  Wishing I had walked away; that I had kept my mouth shut.  But then I moved on to step two:  changing my hypothetical decision.  I considered what I would instead envision if I had not given in to the cravings and not binged.  The vision changes.  To the happier me.  With no remorse.  Feeling proud that I exerted willpower.  Happy that I controlled food rather than letting food control me.  Feeling energetic rather than needing a nap.  Feeling good, physically and emotionally.

Yep, I like that second vision of the future better!  And I like the idea that I can use this.  That I can be powerful in a new way.  Just by beaming myself forward.  Twice.  For anything.  Not just eating.  I can picture myself, sweaty and exhausted in a good way, after I exercise.  And envision my kitchen in the morning with no dirty pans waiting for me.

Oh, the possible motivations from this little trick are coming to me at warped speed!

Funny how inspiration can come from the most unexpected of places:)

So, what do you think?  Could you use this technique in your own life?  Have you found inspiration in an unlikely way lately?






Filed under influence of others, motivation

54 responses to “Beam me Forward, Scotty

  1. LOVE it! I am going to use it! I just know that if I had taken 2 seconds before a binge to think this way- lots of my MANY binges could have been averted! The trick for me is remembering to think this way BEFORE the binge happens. For me- that is not always easy. I think I may need to print that quote out and tape it to my pantry and fridge. My poor family… there are taped quotes and messages all over our house!!!! 🙂

    • Karen

      After some past binges I have written notes to myself about how crappy I felt, hoping they’d deter me the next time. But I never thought to get them out:(

      • Karen — now that is funny … I guess those notes don’t do a lot of good if you don’t actually look at them. 🙂

        I’m thinking of several things I need to do to keep me on the road to success … I’m going to add the notes thing to my list.

  2. HI Karen,
    I recently did a challenge and got down to near figure comp body fat levels (I’m an ex figure competitor) but found going back to my maintenance weight hard – I was having quite a few blowouts – but when I thought about how much happier I was making better choices with food and training, it was easier for me to get back in the groove. I’m almost back at my maintenance weight of 125. It was only a few pounds I had to lose, but I had to learn some big mindfulness lessons.

    So yes, I think your concept is a good one!

    Cheers, Liz

  3. Thanks for sharing those “pearls of wisdom.” I’m going to remember that! In fact, I’m going to get out my “Body Media device today. Because of an injury, it’s been in storage. Time to know exactly what’s going on with my weight loss project!

    • Karen

      I’ve got a different device. (Finally working on a post about it.) I see a very clear correlation between using it (online) to track my eating and those times when I don’t… the days I don’t track are the days I go overboard.

  4. I had to laugh – I’m reading a fiction book right now – nothing heavy, sort of chicklit but heavier than that (but not by much) – and I have a bunch of page corners folded because of some PROFOUND sentences! Seriously! Not about beaming myself to another situation, but health and “thinking” sentences…
    And yes – beaming myself into another time and then following the “beam” sounds like a wonderful idea. I’d beam myself to GOAL!!

  5. Great concept. I think when we are vigilant and/or hypersensitive that we can find that inspiration each and every day. I find inspiration in books but also find my inspirations in movie lines/

    I will try this technique. Thanks

  6. What an ingenious idea! Thanks for remembering it and writing about it. I know that I always find inspiration in being out in nature. That is the time I forget about food, eating, losing weight or anything related. This summer has been so hot and miserable, I’ve had trouble finding my inspiration, but I’m seeing hope right around the corner!!

    • Karen

      I wish nature did that for me! Yesterday it occurred to me that I have totally forgotten the notion of meditation and finding some zen. Sigh.

  7. I’m intrigued, and most of all, I simply adore the fact that you used the word apropos — one of my favorite words.

    I was thinking about something slightly similar the other day as I sat in my car getting ready to go into the grocery store. It’s sometimes difficult to choose delayed gratification when the immediate feelings of stress that need addressed are so strong in the moment. It’s hard to find something quite as effective in stress relief as butterscotch pudding cups.

    • Karen

      I do have fun with words. My other blog, the one I was going to start but never got past setting up, had a word theme to it, sort of. But I admit that sometimes I have to use the online dictionary or thesaurus to make sure I am using a word correctly or finding an alternative when I use the same word over and over. Yep, I’m a bit anal sometimes about words:)

  8. LOVED THIS! I do think I do this already in my own way. I know how it feels to overeat & how I have felt in the past when I do that SO that enters mt mind when I want to just keep eating, lets say, cookies! 😉 I also use this in terms of thinking how much I have accomplished to date so why would I want to mess with that.

    I am sure this can really help a lot of people Karen!

  9. If I’m being completely honest, then I say, ‘YES’ I could totally see myself doing that and succeeding – sometimes. I have a tendency to sort of ‘check out’ when I binge on something I shouldn’t. It’s like, my mind is so out of sorts, so stressed out over whatever, it just zones in on that release. The trick will be seeing the signs beforehand so I can try this method with a semi-clear mind, otherwise I don’t think it would work for me.
    As for your description of the book, I was going to ask you if it was a Rosenfelt book before you announced that it was. I originally began his books because: surprise! He owns a golden retriever. I’m so predictable.

    • Karen

      Oh – yes… I bet you enjoy his books:) Seems there are several authors who clearly love their dogs – it comes through in their stories.

      I really should write down my thinking IF/when I binge again. I have no idea, as I sit here, what is going on in my mind. Other than when it is the “all or nothing” thing.

  10. I use this one every day. Sometimes several times a day. 🙂 I love imagining how I’ll feel after a long walk on a hot day (sweaty but happy) or after I emerge from the fro-yo shop with $3 worth of creamy goodness (triumphant) or when I’ve handled a stressful situation with Zen-like efficiency (amazed).

    Don’t you love these pearls of wisdom that jump off the pages or into our range of hearing when we least expect it? I always feel like jumping up and shouting, “Eureka!”

  11. MB

    Live long (and healthy) and prosper!

  12. That is a great idea. I’ll try using it.

    I, too, found surprising inspiration in a novel. I doubt the author meant for the sentence to be so profound to me, but it was. I’ll take inspiration whereever I can get it!

  13. I agree with this technique. I have finally used it successfully myself these past couple of months. Well… especially after I had an ‘off plan’ day and lived the consequences. The next (many)times I was tempted I remembered.. I suppose that’s a combination of remembering and projecting forward to how I’d feel again.
    Good One Karen!

    • Karen

      I wish I was better at “remembering.” I’ve even written notes to myself in the past about how horrible I felt afterwards, hoping that would deter me. Of course, I never read those notes:)

  14. I love it when that happens! When we get a bolt of inspiration lightning from the blue! And what I like about this particular ah-ha moment is that not only does it put the power squarely with us, it forces us to see choices where we might not have seen them otherwise…

  15. Really good notion – thanks for sharing it! Reminds me of what they say in AA – “think it through”. Yeah – same idea, but I like the added part of envisioning what it will be like doing one course of action vs. another.

    Beam to Karen’s blog, Scotty!

  16. Jan

    What a wonderful example of a skillful decision-making technique. Weighing the outcomes of alternative choices makes for optimal decisions. (References upon request) 😉 A method to do this, using visual imagery of beaming forward in time, in acute situations is a tremendous revelation because it’s in acute circumstances (like a binge urge) that our/my normal, logical decision-making process goes flying out the window.

    As to having unlikely inspirations sources – I will settle for a likely source of inspiration.

  17. Wow – I really like this! I think it could work! I’ve never been able to visualize myself skinny because it is something I have never been – however I DO KNOW what feeling crappy after a bad meal feel like and I am pretty sure I can “channel” that feeling if need be before I actually go and eat something I know I shouldn’t. (Too late for the bad choice I made earlier today but going forward, I’m using this strategy!).

  18. KLA

    Your writing is great, your star trek pic is so fun!

    My unlikely source for inspiration came from the advice column Dear Prudence, when prudence recommended the book “The Beck Diet Solution.”

    For many years I thought about my eating situation. I would watch how some people could have a box of cookies on their desk all day or throw away a half eaten sandwich or bag of chips. I wondered how they could do that and why can’t I? Why am I constantly trying to stop myself from bingeing all day?

    The Beck Diet Solution confirmed to me that there was something wrong with how I think of food and eating. Now (after months of CBT) I’m slowly moving towards a completely different reality: instead of figuring out the right combination of tips to manage cravings and prevent binging, I’m no longer feeling obligated to eat healthy foods, I’m choosing to eat healthy foods over unhealthy foods.

    I gotta tell you that getting help to change my thinking has made life so liberating.

    • Karen

      I have actually read (most of) that book. I learned about it from the gals on my “diet forum,” several of whom follow the principles or theory or whatever it would be called. I was struck as I read it by something like what you describe – that some people think like “thin” people.

      • KLA

        Exactly, thin people think differently; there was something wrong with my thinking and most importantly the fact that I could change my thinking.

        At the time, I remember thinking: thin people don’t want to eat an entire cake themselves? Wow. I thought that everyone thought about food and eating all the time, and thin people had more willpower to say no.

        Funny enough, following the book was the original premise for my blog. I didn’t last very long. I needed way more help than what I could get from a book. Luckily, there was a CBT clinic in my area.

  19. Like it! Will try it the next time I am faced with wanting to eat something or making excuses about not exercising.

  20. Ann

    Wow. I think this is an excellent idea. I’ve tried things like that before and this is a great reminder what stopping and really thinking about something can do for changing your behavior. Great post, Karen!

  21. Hi Karen! Another great tool that could matter for me. As you know, I’m trying to use every mindset tool that can work.

    I also find revelations from reading fiction books. I adore reading fiction.

    🙂 Marion

    • Karen

      I used to read a lot more fiction before I started reading so many blogs! I have a stack of books that I’ve been loaned but have yet to crack open. Sigh.

  22. I tried imagining but apparently I’m not very imaginative- probably because I’ve never seen myself thin so I can’t picture it?

  23. This is a great way to visualize. Sometimes I do stop myself and think ahead, but maybe I should dig out our old Dr. SPock magnet and stick it on the fridge ….

  24. I could totally use this idea. It might work for me. Now we’ll see if I can use it successfully at the next critical decision point. Thanks, as ever, for making me think.

  25. What an interesting concept..reminds me of some commercials I’ve seen lately. Could it work? Possibly…if only I will actually listen to the future voice of regret, instead of hearing it and choosing to ignore it anyway (which is entirely plausible for me!)

  26. good gosh you are an amazing writer. For me it is /has been too frequently about the AFTER.
    journaling AFTER so next time I remember how it felt, hopefully read the entry before and make different choices.

    I like this better 🙂

    • Karen

      Well, shucks, thanks, Miz. I have sometimes made notes to myself after… thinking I’d go back and read them. But never did. I don’t journal. Maybe it would help if my notes had a real home.

  27. Unfortunately, I don’t think this will work for me anymore. I’ve long used this technique with regard to ALL decision-making and have generally been satisfied most of the time. But this summer, when I was having so much ill health and discomfort once again, I really wanted a few treats. I knew what I was doing every mouthful of the way. I envisioned myself regaining a few pounds — and I didn’t care. I felt that it wss what I needed at the moment. Bad girl. Bad. Yes, now I have to relose a few pounds and I’m a little sorry about that. But I LOVED all of the treats (I didn’t binge, but I did overeat). As I struggle to ditch the extra pounds, ask me again in a month if I think it was worth it (I’ll probably have a more negative response).

  28. I so wish I had the presence of mind to stop drop and roll when I am on food fire. Next time I feel like scarfing down the gingerbread house I will try the beaming technique and I PROMISE not to beam myself to the liposuction doctor and laugh insanely thinking I have beaten the Ghost of Fat Past once again!

    I speak in children’s storybook and kindergarten lessons today. Great. Now what did I do with my finger paints and sleepy mat?

    • Karen

      Did you have to say “gingerbread!?” That was one of my binges last Christmas. I was sooooo craving it. I made it. I ate it. I ate more. Yum.

  29. Awesome! I love imagery when it is used in such a positive way! I can see lots of good uses for this one, thanks for sharing it.

  30. Sable@SquatLikeALady

    Karen, I LOVE this. I love love LOVE love this. This is just the tool I need!!!

  31. Isn’t this a method of cognitive behavioral therapy? I’m not a therapist, but I do watch Necessary Roughness…and she uses this in her practice when she deals with athletes.

  32. Joy

    I have to admit, that I’ve been short sighted…I usually only look for instant gratification ~ What I want right now! When it comes to food, if I don’t have a plan or focus, I struggle looking past what I want and rarely think of how my decisions made at this moment will effect my future. Even with a plan, I have moments were I fail….I need to really think on this!


    Keep focused!

  33. Karen

    What an excellent suggestion! I’ve tried the: ‘will this matter one week/month/year from now?’ approach when I get stressed about something… but trying to seriously think about how you will feel about an action beforehand is a great idea. I’m not too sure how I will go as my little mind is pretty resolute in justifying all sorts of evil deeds! (I certainly could have used the approach last Friday when I had a blowout binge!!!)

    Like so many others leaving comments, I’m all about the instant gratification and I do occasionally TRY to remind myself that I’m overwhelmed with guilt just minutes after the food has been inhaled, but thinking more about the IMPACT that it will have (on the rest of my life: how I will feel when I next weigh in; the excitement when something unexpected fits me etc) might actually help.


    • Karen

      That approach when stressed would be great for me to remember. I tend to let lots of little stuff stress me out that shouldn’t!

  34. Oh, YES! WOW! I am SO going to use this, too. Need to have this tattooed on the inside of my brain!

  35. I love this analogy! When I get into a binge mode, I wish I could think. I wish I could choose the path that will make me happy and not sad, but when that comes on me all he** breaks loose.

  36. Julie

    Love this concept – and a new author to try out too thank you 🙂 It reminds me of the quote `a year from now you will be glad you started today’. I often remember that when plodding away daily and not seeing a lot of change. In a year the small changes add up and become a big change. Or a year from now I could be still be dabbling and not have made any progress.

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