487722_10151581452606081_1444990872_n-290x285The first few months— the hardest period in any kind of Shift — is finding distractions. I remember a late night in early February when everyone in the house was asleep and I was frustrated with a project that wasn’t going as well as planned.

I was also exhausted— a dangerous combination for a food addict— and

I decided to go to the kitchen to see what kind of possible snack I could have, even though I knew full well that no safe snacks were there.

I moved my laptop to the side, stood up from the bed, and walked toward my door. On the edge of my dresser, I saw a bottle of clear nail polish that Emma had left there. In a flash, it clicked in my head to grab it, return to bed, and put on a coat— the first time I had polished my own nails in years. I had spent weeks trying to work up a list of good distractions— take a hot bath or shower, go for a walk— when I was tempted to cheat. Now, incredibly, without looking for it, I had stumbled across a perfect one: you can’t do much of anything with your fingers— like reach deep inside a bag to grab a handful of chips— until topcoat dries. And it doesn’t dry well for at least a half hour. That night, it proved long enough to let my hunger pang pass. By the time my nails had dried I was ready to sleep, and did. Topcoat became my go-to distraction several more times and probably saved me thousands of calories and hundreds of carbs that would have derailed my progress.