Psych yourself IN: The Do-over Diet
Thursday, July 25, 2013
One of the things that really helped me when I started successfully losing weight was changing my perspective (warning: this is never a quick, easy change). This meant a lot of things. I had to shirk my childhood mentality of eat-what's-on-your-plate-or-yo
s-in-the-face. That had to turn into "your body is not a trash can. If you grab too much food, eating the extra nutrients doesn't help anyone." In fact, counter-intuitively it teaches my body to expect more food than is necessary, starting an overeating cycle and ultimately causing more food waste than there otherwise would have been). I also had to change my perspective on what was an exciting meal. Where before it might have been any flavor-rich (read: rich in fat) food, now I had to be selective about what was healthy but tasty. Indian food, for me, is an excellent example of this. I love the decadent, rich flavor palette. It's often chock-full of veggies and that's really great! There can also be a lot of oils, butter (ghee), cream, and cheese. But with better insight, I realized I could use spices to give me the excitement without eating a heavy, fatty meal, and still get what my body enjoyed as much as it would a "cheat meal".
Probably one of the most important ways I changed my perspective was by psyching myself IN. I've tried, like most of us, the whole spectrum of diets - fad or otherwise. Between foods, smoothies, supplements, pills, etc, I was constantly looking for an "effective" way to lose weight. (Effective meant different things to me at different points in my life, and sometimes my expectation of "effective" did not coincide with the diet I was on, and that was what led to my failure.) Unfortunately, not everyone can join a program they've seen others have success in and just sit back and watch the fat melt off, especially not if their wallets are slimming faster than their bodies!
I decided to take it one step at a time. I did this by starting my diet today. And starting my diet tomorrow. And the next day. Everyday was the first day of my diet, as far as I was concerned. Most people don't cheat on their first day, right?
Part of my problem all along is that my expectations far exceeded a realistic change. I had done a lot of damage to my metabolism over my years of extreme yo-yo dieting. No carbs, now no sugar, now no gluten, now no meat, now only fruits and vegetables, etc. Exclusion or even extreme reduction diets just don't make sense to me. Your body needs a well-balanced diet, and yeah, that's really hard for the average person to manage to consider worthy of the time, expense, and effort it takes. But this is our bodies we're talking about. My body does literally ALL of the work in this relationship, and all I have to do is maintain it. That includes my brain, because if I am malnourished, my brain is going to take a beating just as much (or more) as the rest of my organs.
So. Reevaluate the value of your health.
Reconsider your concepts about food.
And revamp your technique.
If I come at it every day like today is the first day of my diet and exercise program, I won't feel like a failure if I'm really "8 days in and only .3 lbs down". Or "one month in and I cheated and ate chinese buffet and red robin cheese burger+bottomless steak fries this month so of course I haven't lost ANY inches off ANY part of my body".
That's a depressing, and de-railing, thought process. Instead when my friends ask why I don't want to share cheese fries it's "Oh I'm starting my diet today."
Most people won't push you to go off track on your first day, so there goes those bad outside influences right along with your negative internal judgements. :)