Why Sticking to your Diet isn’t a “Good” Thing

“Ohmigosh, I was SOO bad this weekend. Better make it up with a workout and clean eating today!”

I’ve heard this sentiment SO many times. I’ve also heard the opposite, with my clients telling me that they’re going to a social event but promise to “be good” when they are there.

The food choices you make do NOT determine the value of your character.

Do you think one of these guys is eating refined sugar?? Gasp!!

Do you think one of these guys is eating refined sugar?? Gasp!!

When we say we are “bad” for eating something off plan, this implies that we are failures, we are weak, and that we need to do penance to get back on track.

Penance usually comes in the form of extreme diets or excessive cardio, both of which only fuel your hunger and a negative, self-loathing mindset. Rarely are lasting (positive) results achieved out of punishment and force.

On the other hand, I don’t want you to view yourself as “good” even if you Huanuni are making all the right food choices for your goals. What happens if you DO have a slip up, even a minor one? What happens when the circumstances of your life suddenly change? What other facets of your life are being sacrificed in order for you to stay “good”? Are you “good” if you eat every meal alone, chained to your Tupperware and avoiding your friends, family, and any potential temptation in order to maintain your “goodness”?

As an alternative: could you unconditionally love (or at least like) yourself achat plan b one step 1.5 mg regardless of the way you eat?

I’m not just calling for more self-love because I want you to feel happier in your own skin at ANY size (though I do). I also want you to be a healthy and vibrant and active person!

I want you to stay away from moral judgments like “good” and “bad” because that type of thinking can http://davidbjelland.com/?author=7 directly sabotage your results and progress.

Research has shown that when you are reminded of your own prior moral achievements, you are actually Obala less likely to then act in line with those values. For example, in one study, people who were told exactly how much they donated to charity in the previous year and then asked to contribute more money gave significantly less those who weren’t reminded of their previous generosity.

This is crazy, right? Once we’re shown that we have already been “good” enough, we think we’re immediately off the hook and can do whatever we want! Hah!

Unfortunately, dietary changes are only really transformative and successful when they are repeated. A LOT. Consistency is king. You can eat the absolute most healthy, most fat-loss-perfect meals (or even eat nothing at all!) for a single day, but in the long run you won’t even notice the impact of that anomaly on your scale or on your waistline.

(The nice alternative to this, though, is that one day of over-the-top, totally excessive caloric consumption won’t make or break your overall success….But just ONE.)

If you are bringing your own healthy food to Thanksgiving…you might be missing the big picture, AND setting yourself up to fall face first into leftover pie!

If you are bringing your own healthy food to Thanksgiving…you might be missing the big picture, AND setting yourself up to fall face first into leftover pie!

photo credit: jypsygen via photopin cc

So if we continue to use language like “I’ve been so good today!” in reference to our eating habits, we are SETTING OURSELVES UP for poor decisions in the future.

Do you ever find it harder to make healthy choices on weekends and late nights? J

We usually reflect and judge at the end of the day, or at the end of the week. If we’ve been good all day or all week, then it must be time to kick back and eat what we want, right?

I want you to practice catching yourself using words like “good” and “bad” in reference to your diet or food choices, and see if you can rephrase. There are no “good” foods and “bad” foods, and you are neither “good” nor “bad” because of the foods that you eat. There are simply foods and actions that bring you closer to your goals and foods that don’t.  As long as you make most of your choices from the former category most of the time, you will finally see lasting progress and change in the right direction.

Always here to help,

Jamie

 

PS – Let me know in the comments below if this something that you do! Do you find that your negative language promotes more negative self-talk? I’d love to know!

How to Have your Cake, Eat it Too. . .and Then Get Back on Track

Imagine this scenario: You’ve been chugging along, complying with your diet and workout program day after day for the last week or two. You feel like you’re starting to get into the swing of things, and your daily habits are feeling pretty effortless and automatic. You’ve definitely shed some water weight, but you also start noticing your clothes fitting a little bit better, or maybe you actually see some newly uncovered muscle tone in the mirror. Maybe you even dare to take a peek at the scale, and you’re down 3, 5, or even 8 or 10 lbs.

You’re feeling awesome! But then you blow it.

You have ONE little treat or indulgence Saturday night, which quickly turns in to two or three. It might be a piece of bread at a restaurant (what harm could that be?), which turns into a couple of pieces of bread, and a glass of wine (or three), and dessert…and maybe a few bites of your companion’s food as well.

 

After some wine, there is no way I'm NOT finishing this whole thing.

After some wine, there is no way I’m NOT finishing this whole thing.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/dlifson/4471016544/”>Dave Lifson</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a>

Maybe you wake up the next day, feeling lazy and uninspired, and decide to have a relaxed Sunday morning breakfast of pancakes and syrup. And then the ball starts picking up speed, rolling in the complete opposite direction you were moving just 48 hours before, almost as if somebody tilted the labyrinth game in an entirely different direction. You might skip a workout, purchase one of your trigger foods that you KNOW you can never eat just one of, or maybe even settle for eating something junky that you would normally turn down without blinking an eye, just because it’s there. Besides, you know you won’t be allowed to eat any of it soon once you “stop being bad.”

Monday morning comes, and your progress on the scale is gone. And as you see your weight go up, your heart and stomach hit the floor. All of your hard work is completely undone, in a fraction of the time. Then you know you’ve got to pick yourself up and start all over again.

I know this scene because I’ve been there myself…SO. MANY. TIMES!

What went wrong in this scenario? We were doing SO well at sticking to our goals, and doing everything we needed to do to reach those goals. How did one little treat turn into a weekend or a week or a month’s worth of backsliding?

Sometimes, dealing with emotional eating isn’t ALL about the negative emotions that cause us to eat. It’s not always about feeling sad and drowning our sorrows in pints of Ben & Jerry’s. Sometimes, it’s the way our actions evoke certain emotions within us. And in this instance, we probably indulged because we were feeling entitled, and that indulgence caused us to experience guilt. And guilt is what leads us down the rabbit hole, all the way to Sugar Town (a not so far off place, with many one way buses heading to it and very few that make the return trip).

Is the solution to give up on our goals entirely? Or do we need to push harder, be stricter? If one little treat can completely throw off our momentum and put a damper on our fragile, newly formed habits, is the alternative to NEVER have a treat again?

I vote no. I like my bread and wine and dessert too much to ditch them forever!

First and foremost, you need to know that there is nothing wrong with choosing to eat something that is not 100% fat loss friendly. No guilt necessary! Trying to get yourself to stick to an “all or nothing” eating plan generally sets you up to achieve nothing.  One of my mentors, Josh Hillis, gives his food coaching clients about three free meals per week to eat whatever they want (as long as they aren’t eating until they feel sick). I try to get a feel for my clients’ “non-negotiables,” or the things that they LOVE that they just aren’t willing to sacrifice for weight loss.

Not every single food in your diet has to be in line with your fat loss goals!

Incorporating a few of your favorite little treats keeps you from feeling deprived. “I’m drinking a couple of glasses of wine on the weekend AND still losing fat? How awesome am I?!” (Answer: You are Super Awesome, and don’t you forget it!) And when you know that these treats are part of your diet, it doesn’t feel like you are “off plan” or “entitled to cheat” when you choose to indulge in them.

(This was, and sometimes still is, a seriously hard lesson for me to wrap my head around. But it’s an important one, so let’s press on!)

Really it’s the sense of entitlement, reward, and then guilt that gets us into trouble, because in those moments we’ve lost sight of our goals. We don’t need rewards for our dieting efforts;  making progress week by week, eating better than you were before, and ultimately achieving the goals we set for ourselves are the rewards! Remember those?!

So instead congratulating yourself for 5 straight days of sticking to your diet or nutrition goals, try to remember why you wanted to change your habits in the first place. Keep imagining what it will feel like to get to where you want to be, and how you will be different. When you start acting in line with your goals more regularly, remember that it’s because you are committed to seeing them to fruition, not that you are “being good” on your diet.

Instead of reflecting on your days with judgment, tallying up all of your actions and grading yourself based on your food choices, choose to reflect on each of your days with a bit of gratitude. Find little things that made you smile or laugh each day, rather than searching for affirmation based on what you ate. To use a friend’s example, it might be as simple as you switched over your laundry to the dryer and there weren’t already clean clothes waiting to be folded that need to be dealt with first! On some days, even something as small as that might feel like a big win.

Petey's little face makes me smile every single day.

Petey’s little face makes me smile every single day.

Start counting up the things that make life enjoyable and fun. You will get so much more out of your journey if you can enjoy the little moments along the way. Be present to the love and warmth around you every day. Be proud of your commitment to your goals, but don’t let your success be the cause of your downfall. Keep the end goal in mind, and let your lasting achievements be the reward for your efforts.

Always here to help,

Jamie

 

PS – I’d love to know: What moments made you smile today? Who or what are you grateful for? What was one good thing that happened to you today that has NOTHING to do with your diet?