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Why do we punish ourselves?

Thursday, January 31, 2013

None of us got to Sparkpeople by being healthy and making the right choices. Most of us are overweight, and underactive, or at least, we were when we got here.

No matter where we are in our journey, we have this habit of punishing ourselves. Maybe it's because we ate a little too much over the weekend. Or we didn't make the right choice that would have kept us in our calorie range.

Maybe we feel like we don't deserve to be thin. Or that healthy isn't good enough, we have to be perfect.

We aren't losing fast enough, so we're a screwup. We aren't perfect, so why try?

This kind of thinking is SO counterproductive. I see it in the forums so much, where someone is afraid to stop exercising, because if they aren't exercising, then they're a failure.

Or they can't have that bagel, because carbs are the devil, and they don't deserve it anyway.


I'm not here to diet. I don't want to be thin.

I'm here because I have two little girls, and I don't want them to be obsessed with weight and diets. I want them to see their mom fit, healthy, and happy. I want them to see me making good choices, and enjoying naughty things once in a while. I don't want them to flagellate themselves because they had a damn donut. Or two.

I say ENOUGH with the punishment. You DO deserve to be healthy. You DO deserve to be fit. You have every right to be beautiful and confident in your own skin, just like those beautiful people you see on the red carpet. So you don't have their money, and can't afford their personal trainers and chefs.

Screw that. You don't need it, anyway. You're smart. You're educated. And you know how to work a skillet.

So shrug off those negative, "I can't do this" or "I'm not good enough" thoughts. This isn't all or nothing. This isn't about perfection. This is about making changes that will stay with you for your entire life. I have lost almost 25 lbs with Sparkpeople. And I haven't done it by denying myself.

You don't have to either.

I deserve this. And so do you.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    You are absolutely right... I always enjoyed food and this will never change! It makes me feel satisfied and there is no guilt about it. But now I know that I can eat everything, as long as I have moderation; not obsession with counting everything, but knowing what I eat and the amount if it which makes me fell satisfied without eating 2000kcal in one meal.

    The only thing that needs to change in order to lose weight is the attitude... Thank you for reminding it!
    1875 days ago
  • CLARK971
    think of the commercials (or infomercials) for weight loss. they show dramatic results and make it seem fast and easy. they don't promote making slow, lifestyle changes-which is what works. everyone wants biggest loser results.

    when people have a setback, they are ready to give up. it doesn't have to be all or nothing.

    i have made gradual changes. last night we had hamburgers for dinner laura's lean beef patties. 160 calories. i used to buy cost co patties. 320 calories. (lately i buy the lean krgoer frozen patties at 190 cal, but they were out this week.) I also swapped the bun (120 cal) for 2 pieces of millies light bread toasted (70 calories). That is a 200 calorie difference without giving up red meat or white bread-two things i like.

    1876 days ago
    I don't think of it is punishment, but as correcting. That is why when I want a thin mint, or cookie, I eat it. Then I figure out what I need to get my daily balance right and correct it. And yes, YOU deserve a cookie once in awhile. ;-)
    1876 days ago
    Very well said!
    1876 days ago
    Well said. I don't think I punish myself too much, but I also spend my time in teams and blogging and articles more than the message boards. I don't know if there's any correlation, I'm kind of an introvert I guess.
    1876 days ago
  • _MOBII_
    I don't spend much time on the forums, but I see the same thing going on in blogs. Granted, my blogs aren't always happy and perky, more along the line of things that I need to get out of my system.

    1876 days ago
    Great point. Too often people tend to be all or nothing. Sometimes we need to just be and just do a little better. Unfortunately, some people were taught how to punish themselves by parents who didn't understand the effect they had on their kids, which just adds to the issues we already face. I think we need to learn to talk to ourselves more kindly and lovingly, as we do to our loved ones. When the main voice we hear - ourselves - is kind and positive then we have hope for better things, versus believing we will always fail.

    It's wonderful to know that you're doing what you can to help your children have healthier lives and to love who they are while still enjoying a few indulgences now and again. The world would be a better place if more of us were like that.
    1876 days ago
    I wonder the same thing so often. Why do I treat myself the way I do sometimes? What happened to make me feel deep down inside that I don't deserve it and keep sabotaging myself. I read things that ask, would you talk to your friends the way you talk to yourself? Nope, because then I wouldn't have any. So, great blog about an issue that is more common than I think. Keep up the great work and profound thoughts!!
    1876 days ago
    Well said!
    1876 days ago
    Thanks for this perfectly timed blog -I have derailed myself too many times to count by chasing after perfection in my discipline instead of aiming for "good enough." I was doing great and then I read that I shouldn't have carbs after lunch - and while it's not necessarily bad advice, I plunged in without rethinking what to eat, how to sensibly work in cravings and just plain old letting go and indulging once in a while anyway. Now I'm struggling to get back on the weight loss wagon (gaining 17lbs back is for sure making it harder to hoist myself up!).

    1877 days ago
    You're completely right. I'm not sure why we feel the need to beat ourselves up when we make a mistake.. or why it's even called a mistake. There's aways going to be good days and bad days and days where you have no control over what you eat - but you can control how much of the bad you do eat. I have 3 kids and am trying to set an example for them too now by making healthy choices and not constantly pigging out anymore on junk like I used to.
    1877 days ago
    1877 days ago
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