Weighing too much, for me, was a combination of things. I love food, I am naturally inclined to recline, and I tell myself a lot of lies.
I discovered that I’m not different than many other people whose weight tends to rise above “happy” levels.
“Happy Weight” is the range usually no more than 5-10 pounds where we are happy with the number on the scale, how we fit into our clothes, how we look, how we feel, and our important health numbers.
Perhaps the biggest challenge to my happy weight is how I talked to myself.
I was always looking for a way to “eat today and pay tomorrow.” If there were such a thing as a credit score for “eating beyond your means” mine would be way down in the poor range.
If I’m being vague, I’ll stop using metaphors. I ate too much and promised to fix it tomorrow by a combination of exercise and under eating. My plan, that never quite worked out as I promised to myself. I ate too much day after day after day despite my promises and good intentions.
Paying tomorrow usually started off great in the morning. Skipping breakfast is easy. Packing a banana for lunch is easy too. Eating the banana before 10am is also easy, as is telling myself I’ll skip lunch. Skipping lunch wasn’t as easy, but I could do it, all the while congratulating myself for sticking to the payback plan.
Things would go awry sometime between 2 and 3pm. It started with an indiscriminate eating something – whatever was handy. It might have been a few chips or a few cookies of a bite of a candy bar. Whatever it was I’d be telling myself, “I’m only going to eat this little bit to take the edge off my hunger. I’m not going to eat enough to really count it as eating.”
Yup! That was my logic – “I’m eating but it’s not counting as eating because I can turn this all around tomorrow.”
Once I started eating, and possibly because of the food choices, I realized how hungry I really was. Once that happened I’d eat too much and it would become necessary to make the, “fix this tomorrow” promise again. Of course, I couldn’t fix it tomorrow and if I were honest with myself I’d admit that. Instead the pattern was repeated day after day.
I needed to create a new pattern.
One that actually worked to make me eat enough to be satisfied and avoid consistently overeating. I thought about what would achieve this and realized my problem was always “tomorrow.”
Knowing that I borrowed against tomorrow and never paid my debts, the first thing I needed to do was throw away all of my tomorrows. I needed to stop using “tomorrow as a reason to not do what I need to do today.”
No more tomorrows – just today!
Eating just for today didn’t mean I had to be perfect. It meant I had to own my actions. What I did today, I needed to accept. There was no more, “today doesn’t matter because I can fix today when tomorrow comes.”
It was a new way of thinking and looking at things for me. At first it wasn’t easy. I relied on some cues to help me break my “there’s always tomorrow” habit. I wear a watch on my left wrist and I let my watch serve as a reminder. I am left handed so I pick up the fork with my left hand. When I picked up a fork there was my reminder.
I may reach for food with either hand, so I wore my “today bracelet” on my right hand. That covered my for either hand. I liked to tell myself that a lapse wasn’t my fault. Somebody made me do it or the food controlled me, but the watch and the bracelet told me a different – and the true – story. The hands that put food in my mouth were completely and entirely controlled by me.
I follow a food plan that helps me eat more nutritiously while keeping my calories I eat about equal to the calories I burn. There is room for indulgent treats within my food plan, but not too often and not without some thought about how to balance them. I follow the plan, but not perfectly.
Sometimes it’s, “plan be damned. I’m going to eat beyond my plan limits today. I only have today; I only have to worry about today!” When I approach an overindulgence knowing that I pay today for what I do today, it increases my ability to stay within my budget.
No more “free lunches” for me!