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Recovering from a diet challenge is a mind game

By Lisa Spodak (ResultsNotTypical@worldnow.com)
Provided by WorldNow

Week 62 Weigh In:

Change this week:  +2 lbs
Change overall:  -81 lbs

I’ve never been so happy to gain two pounds.  Seriously.  Because it could have been so much worse.

This week was probably one of the hardest I’ve had in respect to eating since starting my healthier lifestyle – and the fact that I feel like I’ve “beaten” it means it’s also one of my best.

I got some really great news last week about a family member that, while making me happy, also set me off on an emotional eating binge.  It just brought up a lot of feelings about where I am in my life and the next thing I knew, I was feeling sick to my stomach from pizza and cookies and cheese.  And that continued for three days.

What amazes me, though, and makes me incredibly proud of myself, is that it all stopped after those three days.  I got back on track and I clocked some extra time at the gym and, thankfully, this morning I was only up two pounds – and feeling very motivated to stick to my plan again.

I’m trying to put my finger on what precisely made this time different.  Because in the past, this is the type of thing that could have very easily spiraled into three months of binging and a not-so-gradual re-gaining of everything I’ve lost.  I know the cycle all too well:  lose control, gain some weight, feel like a failure, eat to feel better, lose control, gain more weight, feel like a failure, etc.  Repeat ad nauseam.

But this time, I knew what I was doing as soon as I was doing it and I was able to rein it in relatively quickly.  Why?

I think the difference this time is that I’ve made a real commitment to myself.  Losing weight and getting healthier are the most important things in my life right now.  That’s the underlying reality I’ve been getting used to for the past year.  I work full-time at a demanding job and live in a bustling city and have a very active social life, but I still make time for me and the things I know are good for me.  I’m kind of amazed that I fit in more than 12 hours at the gym this week – but I did it because I knew that was what I had to do for me.  No matter what my feelings were this week, I knew that completely losing control and gaining weight weren’t going to make anything better.  And the only way to feel more in control of my feelings was to start by controlling my eating again.

It also helps to be tracking everything that goes in my mouth and to think about why I’m eating it.  Hunger is pretty easy to identify.  So is simply wanting or craving something specific.  When I find that I’m shoveling food in my mouth and don’t have a clear-cut reason, that’s a cue to look to something emotional.

Lastly, I think I’ve learned a lot this year about being a bit kinder and more forgiving towards myself.  There is no way I’m going to eat perfectly… ever.  And, honestly, there’s no reason to even try.  Life isn’t about depriving yourself forever, no matter what your goals are.  I think it’s just about being better.  And being realistic.  I eat chocolate almost every day.  It’s not a lot of chocolate, and it means I eat a little less of something else, but I know what I need to indulge in to make me happy and stay  satisfied. 

And sometimes I eat a lot of chocolate.  Or completely splurge for no good reason.  And that’s okay, too.  It may mean I have to spend extra time at the gym or focus on salads for a few days or just accept that I’m going to stay the same weight or even gain during a given week.  But the important thing is to accept it and be okay with it and move on from it.


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