Sunday, April 4, 2010

Just One Little Splurge?

It's Easter weekend; and Easter is the unofficial kick off of Spring, complete with family gatherings, cookouts, barbeques, and tons of sweets. While at these functions, it's so easy to fall into the trap that I have allowed myself to fall into so many times - a trap that has ultimately lead to weight loss failure.

It's easy to convince myself that because this is a special occasion, it's okay to allow myself just this one little splurge. Just this one time, it's okay to have that burger, or those ribs, or that extra slice of cake. Seems logical, right? After all, a diet isn't failed on one splurge....

Here is where this theory falls apart: there is ALWAYS a reason to splurge. Reasons such as: birthday parties, Easter candy, spring cookouts and bonfires, weddings, July 4th barbeques, vacations, back to school bashes, Halloween parties, Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas candies and Christmas dinners, New Years Eve parties, Valentine's Day candy...and before I know it, I'm right back at Easter again. So the "just one little splurge" that I allowed myself turns into a series of chronic splurges. And with a series of chronic splurges comes weight gain, and disappointment, which in turn for some (me!) leads to emotional eating due to depressed feelings because of the scale moving the wrong direction.

I am highly knowledgeable as to what is unhealthy, high in calories and fat, and not going to help me be successful in my weight loss journey. And the crazy thing is, almost every person who has ever tried to lose weight is too. We can all pass the "eat this, not that" quiz with flying colors. So it's typically not a matter of not knowing what is right; it's a matter of not making the right choices in spite of our knowledge. And oftentimes we excuse our bad choices by saying, "It's just this meal. Just this one splurge. Just this one time." And that one time leads to another, and another, and another.

Now, I can't address this without touching on one other school of thought, and that is the mindset that "It's okay if I eat this. I'll just work it off later." This is a completely healthy line of thinking under two conditions: 1-You don't eat more calories than you can logically burn off and 2-you are working to maintain a weight, not lose weight. If you are trying to lose weight, then the formula needed is burn more calories than you consume. If you are consuming a higher number of calories thinking that it's okay because you are exercising and burning calories, you are most likely going to get frustrated (and most likely discouraged) very quickly, because your scale isn't going to move very much, if at all. That's why the most successful formula for weight loss is change of diet WITH exercise, not one or the other.

One other thought from this weekend: As long as we're not dwelling on what we don't have and enjoying what we do have, we'll never feel deprived. Look at it this way: Brad Pitt is a very attractive man. So is my husband. They are both handsome in different ways. But if I focused on the ways my husband doesn't look like Brad Pitt, I could ruin my perfectly wonderful marriage. Do ribs taste delicious? You BET! But does grilled chicken taste delicious, too? ABSOLUTELY! And as long as I don't try to compare my grilled chicken to the ribs, I won't mentally ruin my lifestyle change.

As for my Easter weekend, it was just the way it should have been. It was filled with family, friendship, laughter, fun, and yes, food. I was tempted by the foods I shouldn't eat, but I stood my ground and didn't allow myself to "splurge" on them. And I very much enjoyed my grilled chicken.

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