I’ve given up.
You’ve given up.
We’ve ALL GIVEN UP!!
I am no stranger to this concept. Strange as it sounds, I felt it was necessary to touch on this subject early in the year. Counterintuitive perhaps? Not inspirational to those working on fitness for the new year? This is a topic I feel should be broached before it happens. Otherwise we risk the dreaded vicious cycle that won’t cease.
After years of dieting and trying to improve my health, I have narrowed down my three main reasons I have fallen off the wagon over the years. Perhaps you can relate to some (or all) of these…
No explanation needed. When a craving hits, it can hit hard. I have had to employ some special techniques to fight them off, everything from chewing gum, to chugging water, going for a walk, or physically removing myself from anywhere near the kitchen. Cravings are an overwhelming emotional experience, a desire, for a certain substance. Sometimes this can be organic – driven by hormonal changes and can often be predicted. Often however, cravings can be the product of deprivation. Anyone who is in week 1 of a new diet is probably experiencing cravings while reading this. When your body is used to the regular release of dopamine (a feel-good neuro-chemical) that comes from consuming high-fat, high sugar foods, and that is suddenly taken away, your body starts CRAVING more dopamine.
How to overcome…
Simply put, with THM you don’t have to lose your treats. Even in my first week on the plan, I was eating chocolate, baking cookies, and planning what cake I wanted to try….cake you can even eat for BREAKFAST. I obviously have a sweet tooth, and I think having the ability to make healthy versions of my favorite foods was what kept me going and feeling spoiled rather than deprived. Hello Cinnamon bun casserole for breakfast….brownies….chocolate….shakes….double layer cakes… the list goes on. What cravings have you struggled with?
If only there was a pill to take just to go ahead and get this weight off. If only I didn’t have to STRUGGLE. This is too hard! This is going to take forever.
I didn’t lose 120 pounds in a week. I didn’t lose it in a year. Once I stopped putting a target date on my weight loss, I was able to let go and let it happen. I dedicated myself to the guidelines of THM as I figured I hadn’t been very successful with any of my prior attempts, so what did I have to lose? LOTS of weight and insecurity apparently. Within the first couple weeks, I noticed less fatigue and bloating as my sugar and processed food consumption dropped. As each month ticked by, my body started changing. The numbers on the scale slowly lowered, and my clothing size dropped dramatically, often faster than my weight. With each victory I could feel the impatience melt away. It was no longer about the endpoint, I was seeing joy and excitement in the journey there. Impatience is a short-lived hurdle if you stick with it and allow for victories to happen.
The biggest reason I overcame the impatience was because, as stated above, I was allowed to “indulge” in the foods I loved, albeit healthier versions. No rabbit food in sight. I was also never hungry as I don’t count calories or measure portions.
We all place unrealistic (and some realistic) obligations on ourselves when trying to incorporate a healthy lifestyle. Often these contribute directly to lapses and the dreaded “I need to start over now”.
“I should exercise everyday for weight loss to happen.”
“I shouldn’t have any sweets/junk food ever to lose weight. If I do, I’ve failed.”
“I have two birthday parties today so I’m just going to eat whatever.”
“I’m too busy with the kids, work, taking care of a relative and keeping up with the house. I don’t have time for this too.”
First of all, presumptions about what is required to lose weight can be very detrimental to one’s efforts. By telling yourself you MUST exercise otherwise you’ve failed, or you MUST not eat any off-plan foods, only leads to greater failure and greater difficulty continuing your efforts. This goes back to grace – be generous with it! Forgive yourself for not going with the plan and just pick right back up and carry on.
Literal obligations, such as family and work are more tricky to surpass. It is however possible to meet life’s needs while focusing on ourselves and our health. I was successful with THM while raising two young children and working outside the home. I knew it was going to be an uphill battle, but I surrendered all the other obligations I had previously assigned to weight loss (exercising daily, staying completely away from off plan food) so I could focus all my spare time on learning the nutrition plan. I knew once I had that right, the others would fall into place. I occasionally cheated with something I enjoy, but I didn’t punish myself by saying I had to start over completely the next week. I let it go and started again in 3 hours. Letting go of your obligations can be one of the most freeing things you do for you and your health goals.