“Okay, you messed up your diet. Now forgive yourself and get back on track!”
For the last four weeks I have consistently rocked a weight loss plan comprised of healthy dieting and regular exercise. It’s crunch-time to summer and I’m determined to fit into my two-piece bathing suit and look toned in those scantily fitted tanks and skirts. At nearly 40 years old, I never know which summer I’ll decide to hang up that bikini for good, but it’s not this one. I’m so proud of myself and have been doing so well, but one false move or bad decision (after another) and now I can’t stop!
This is precisely what happens with intermittent dieting. Yes, choosing to eat healthy foods is a lifestyle decision but when you deter from the success path and introduce ‘not so healthy options’ the physical and mental effects are real and suddenly what felt like great achievement now feels like failed dieting.
It all started with that dang diner cookie.
In case you do not have diners in your neck of the woods, New York diners offer thick cookies of all varieties the size of your head. One cookie could be split amongst five people and no one would go hungry. Unless you are me.
In celebration of Mother’s Day weekend a diner waitress was trying to be nice and gave us FREE cookies. More than one. One for every kid in fact (that would be three colossal cookies total).
In hindsight, I should have refused. My kids don’t ‘love’ these cookies because they are not super sweet. They remind me more of a coffee dunker. At home I stored the cookies out of sight and reach of the kids, but they kept catching my eyes. As the sun set I decided, “Hey, it’s Mother’s Day Weekend! I’ve been so darn good for weeks, I’m going to share a cookie with my kids.”. BAD DECISION!
Well, guess what? My kids didn’t want the cookie. Suit yourselves, more for mom! Piece by piece I nibbled away. Bite after bite I kept telling myself I would stop before it was finished. Before I knew what happened, the cookie was gone. I had eaten the enormous cookie myself. And it’s not even that good!
The next morning, a new day dawned and the sun rose. I would not repeat the mistakes of yesterday… or would I? Falling off the diet wagon is a slippery slope. It was a one night stand with the cookie and it would NOT happen again. Right? WRONG! The second oversized cookie suffered the same fate as the first. I ate that one in its totality on the second night. The same destiny probably would have come to the third cookie except my daughter tossed it after taking one bite. She clearly has stronger will power than I. Actually, she just doesn’t like the cookie.
Eating that one cookie was like a foot-in-the-door to unleashing the insatiable hungry girl inside me. After the cookie, I picked up the cheese doodles. I had Ralph’s Italian Ice, two helpings. The next night, sesame chicken, egg roll, fortune cookies, more Ralphs. “What on earth people?”. I made one bad decision after another because ‘why not?’, if I’m going down I might as well go down in flames!
Well, it’s time to face the consequences and my bloated uncomfortable self in the mirror. Is all hope lost? Game over? Crawl into a hole and give up? NO WAY!
Below are ways to help get you back on track toward your diet goals:
Acknowledgement – Before you rise up from temporary defeat, take the time to acknowledge how making poor diet decisions made you feel. Write it down if you must. I surely felt awful, physically and mentally. No one wants to feel that way. Don’t wallow in your setbacks, pick yourself up and resolve to improve.
Forgiveness – Forgive yourself for a few bad decisions. You are human, you are not a machine. The past does not define you. What you chose in the present moment is most important. Remember, healthy eating and exercise is a lifestyle decision. Take a deep breath and move forward!
Set Yourself Up for Success – Make choices that contribute to your success, not your failure. Avoid triggers. Think ahead. Refuse the free cookies!
Remember Your ‘WHY’ – Think about how awesome you’ll look and feel (physically and mentally) when you accomplish your weight loss goals. Envision yourself in that two-piece swimsuit on the beach. That massive bland cookie sure as heck doesn’t taste as good as ‘looking awesome’ feels.
Drink Water – Start detoxing and de-bloating with water. Back to basics. Remember, dehydration can fuel a binge if we mistake thirst for hunger. Stay hydrated.
Find Your Fiber – Grab the Benefiber. Add it to your morning drink, breakfast oatmeal or cereal. It will help you feel full longer so you can refocus on renewed dieting goals.
Eat Light – I say ‘eat light’ because I don’t think fasting is the way to go here. And it feels like a punishment. Give your body a chance to recover and rid itself of excessive food intake. Stick to fruits, vegetables, cereals… now is not the time to eat a huge meal. Avoid swelling the belly.
Exercise – There’s no better way to combat or compensate for poor food choices than breaking a sweat and burning calories. Get up and get moving!
DO NOT GIVE UP! – A lifestyle of healthy eating and exercise is always a work in progress. It’s daily management and focus that will keep you on track. Whatever you do, do not give up on yourself. You can do this! You can always ‘hit restart’, improve, and resolve to be the best you possible. Be better today than yesterday. Be better NOW.
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