Have you ever seen some of the old Seinfeld episodes with The Soup Nazi? He has a small soup kitchen/diner on the show, and very strict rules about how you get your food. You must enter in a certain line, refrain from speaking, ask no questions, order correctly, slide over and pay, pick up your soup, and leave. If you fail at any of the steps, he grabs your order and yells ''No Soup For You!'' and you have to leave, hoping that sooner rather than later, you’ll be back in his good graces and allowed to enter the diner to try one more time to get your soup.
The longer I am able to maintain my weight loss, the more successful I am with exorcising the food police mentality from my life. I’m not quite sure when any of us learned the thought process that if we eat something that we deem ''unhealthy'', we should just give up for the remainder of the day. I know my parents didn’t teach me that. Can you picture how it would be if our parents had treated us the way we treat ourselves as grownups? It would have gone something like this:
Mom to Jane: ''I saw how much chocolate cake you ate at that birthday party! You should be ashamed of yourself! Since you messed up like that, you cannot have any healthy food for dinner. Here’s a bag of Cheetos and a quart of ice cream. In the morning, I’m going to rehash this again and make you feel guilty about it, and then feed you nachos for breakfast. Heck, now that I think about it, I don’t know how long I’ll hold this over your head. You better go get the fat jeans out of your closet!''
I mean really, what parent would do that? So why, as supposedly sane adults, do we sometimes enact that very same scenario out in our own lives? Usually, it happens as a result of putting ourselves on some restrictive diet. You know the ones…the grapefruit diet, the soup diet, the ''I can’t eat any real food so I’ll just pretend I’m eating food'' diet. Then we get so hungry that we show up at a buffet and all of the sudden, we are looking at five empty plates on the table and wondering what just happened. Then, on the drive home, we start flogging ourselves for failing. We decide that the ENTIRE DAY is a total loss, so we drive thru someplace and order a gigantic ''no one should drink this'' sized shake. The next thing we know, it’s been days since we've been to the gym. We start to say ''Jim who?'' while we're digging through the drawer looking for the stretchy sweat pants.
Well, this is your wakeup call if you’re there right now. Recognize this disastrous thought process and call it what it is – a big stinking lie. You can have real food and eat it, too. You can balance treats within your calorie range. You can have an occasion where you have blatant disregard for your normal diet, and then leave that party and get right back on track with no Food Police Penalties. Trust me, because I know this to be true. Over these last three years, I have been known to haunt my favorite Mexican food restaurant that I used to call the ''Cavern of Sin'. You’d find me there sipping a frozen margarita, enjoying a meal, and dare I say it – enjoying sopapillas with honey melting on them. Guess what? I’m still down those 90+ lbs. I don’t call it the ''Cavern of Sin'' anymore. I’m learning that there is no bad food; there is moderation, realizing that there are not Food Police Penalties that take me out of the game like some hockey player that gets sent to the bad boy box for fighting. There is only me and how I see my opportunity to manage my total intake for the week, my workouts for the week, and when I’d like to schedule one of those really fun meals with my best friend in tow. Now we go to the Whole Foods organic salad bar more often than we do the Mexican food place, but we still enjoy both.
My encouragement to you is twofold. One, stop the lie in its tracks next time and realize that your day, your week, your month, your life is not destined for failure over any one meal. Two, look for a method of eating that allows you to live and enjoy the rest of your life in a healthy manner. Chose to EDIT what you eat, not DIET your life away.
Send me a message on Twitter @michelenecleary this week and let me know how you #eathealthy.
Are you trapped in a punishing cycle with the Food Police? How can you get out right now and recognize that the past is behind you, and move forward to the next healthy meal and a good workout? Post a goal here that you intend to accomplish today to move you in a healthy direction.
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