Saturday, May 19, 2007

Nothing is done or undone...

If it weren't for message boards I really don't know where I'd come up for the material for this blog. (haha) This is yet another message board inspired post but it was equally inspired by "the book".

I am always reading posts that say things like "I ate 4 brownies today! I've ruined my diet!" or "I haven't gone to the gym in a week. I'll never lose weight!" or "I was so bad today" or similar dramatic proclamations. Dramatic in the sense that they're not totally true but not dramatic in the sense that the people who wrote them probably really do believe that they have ruined all of their weight loss efforts by their temporary relapse. I know I used to have that same frame of thinking. Here is how it would happen for me:

I would start a diet. I would stop eating "bad" foods. I'd do really well for a while. I've have a weak moment. I'd eat a piece of cake my mom baked. I'd feel so guilty about the cake and I'd just KNOW I'd blown my diet. I would eat the rest of the cake (yeah, the whole freaking thing) because I already failed so why not?

Like a teenage good girl attracted to the rebellious hellion boy I would be totally fixated on the "bad" foods until I just couldn't take it anymore. I knew they weren't good for me. I knew the bad boys of food with their ripped-in-the-knee jeans, too-tight-t-shirt, pierced ear and unruly hair would only lead me down the path of destruction. I told myself over and over "you could never bring him to Christmas dinner with Grandma" but I just couldn't resist. I wanted them. I HAD to have them! So I would once again fall into the doomed relationship only to later feel regretful, disappointed and even fatter.

This is totally illogical and irrational behavior on my part. I know that (now). It's also behavior that would repeat itself every single time I dieted and restricted myself. Those bad boys just never go away! When I would restrict myself totally from the bad boys of food that I really enjoyed I would eventually end up in a binge... every single time.

This brings me to "the book". I re-read a passage this morning that inspired me to share with others. I quote:

Very Important: never let one treat turn into an excuse for blowing your entire food plan. Many of you may still be locked in the grip of that all or nothing mentality ... Your line of reasoning goes something like this "I ate a bowl of ice cream. I blew it so I might as well eat the whole carton." Letting a treat or a little splurge be an excuse to go off on a protracted binge is so profoundly irrationally that it will prevent you from ever gaining control over your weight. Sure, maybe you stumbled, but take that setback experience and use it as a catalyst to reaffirm your commitment and strengthen your resolve to do really, really better tomorrow. (quote from pg 196 Dr. Phil's The Ultimate Weight Solutions).

I know I know... it seems so simple and really... it is simple for me now. But the reason that it's simple for me now is because I am no longer restricting my diet. I am not labeling any foods as "bad" anymore. This has been key in my weight loss efforts. No more bad boys of food because even the baddest of boys have a little good in them, right?

This doesn't mean that I don't mess up. I still make a date with a rebel every once in a while. That-small-ice cream-was-a-bit-bigger-than-I-thought-it-was-going-to-be-but-I-ate-the-whole-damned-thing-anyway still happens. The difference now is how I handle my over indulgence. Instead of thinking "Geesh I suck. I ate the whole stinking thing. 1000's of calories! All my hard work down the toilet. I've ruined everything!" I tell myself "Nothing is done or undone in one snack, one meal, one day, one week or even one month. I haven't ruined everything. Don't be so dramatic Sarah. Just start again starting now."

Seriously, I tell myself this all of the time. I give this advice to others at least once a week. I have even said it so much on one particular message board that another girl has quoted me when encouraging another women to pick herself up and start over. (which totally made me blush!)

"Nothing is done or undone in one snack, one meal, one day, one week or even one month". It goes both ways... when you binge you haven't undone anything or when you eat a great healthy meal you haven't changed everything instantly. No one moment does or un- does anything totally. It's your entire combined effort as a whole that gives you results.

So even if you've been "off the bandwagon" for a few days or even weeks you haven't caused yourself any permanent damage. You haven't undone all of your efforts up to this point. You can still accomplish your goal. You don't have to slip unto those old familiar ways. You don't have to call up that rebel and meet him behind the gym for a make-out session that'll only lead you to the confessional on Sunday. You can break the cycle.


Livy said...

I have to say Sarah, this is a very well written post. Just fantastic, especially your description of the 'bad foods' guy. I agree with you 100%. But, depriving ourselves of the cake (in my case) is the only way I will ever have any chance of being slim. My habits are so deeply ingrained in me, that I continue to do them daily, mostly completely unconciously. Recently I saw the 'fattest girl' in America clip, about this enormous, (and I mean, ENORMOUS 300kgs) 15 year old girl, that is so fat she has nearly lost all mobility. She was demonstrating how she gets on the couch, or how she shuffles around on her bum to get where she wants to go. Now, in my own defence, I am an adult, I make choices every day to stay the weight I am. She is a child, who fed her this much and continues to feed her this much to maintain this enormous weight she is? I was shaking my head in disbelief and this sweaty, uncomfortable 300kg teenager asked her "MOM" for popcorn!!! Old habits, die hard. We are no different to smokers, we are addicted to sticking things in our mouths!

Anonymous said...

Hi Livy, welcome back! Glad you enjoyed the post. I've never seen the show you refered to but one of my biggest fears is passing bad eating habits on to my future children. I need to break the cycle now!

If you would ever slip up and eat cake, hell if you would ever slip up and eat a whole entire cake that wouldn't mean that you should stop eating healthy the next day because you just "blew it" would you? That used to be my mentality. That's where I was trying to go with this post.

I agree that we definately are like smokers and the habit is food addiction, just unconciously putting food into our mouths at any given time and with certain food triggers (when you first get home from work, when you pass a bakery, when somebody says "eat!"). But one major difference is, is with quitting smoking you can stop..just stop...and you don't have to ever have another cigarette again to live (although I know first hand that quitting isn't easy). You can never just quit food. You have to have it to live. You can never quit putting food in your mouth on a regular basis. THAT is where we have problems as over weight people. That's our monster (or at least one of mine, sounds like your too)...I guess we can really never "quit" our habit...we just have to change it, modify it and be very very concious of it.

clare said...

...and then that girl quoted me quoting you to another girl. no kidding.

Anonymous said...

Clare that's hilarious!

Ellen said...

Yes, yes! Thanks for that reminder on my blog, too. I think it is sometimes a little frustrating because my H is just "on" all the time and I am still figuring things out for myself. I have to remember not to compare my behavior to his and to just figure my own thing out. Thanks for the great post on this!