Have you ever said this?
I sure have!!
I’d either try a new diet or create my own list of foods to eat and foods to avoid or set the magical number of calories I was allowed to eat that week.
I’d be all pumped thinking “THIS is going to be the time that it sticks! THIS is going to be the time I’m not going to fail!”
But what ended up happening…again?
I’d fall off the wagon. I’d eat something I wasn’t supposed to eat and self sabotage. I didn’t just chalk it up as an “oopsie” and move on – I had very black & white thinking (aka only perfect is ok!).
I’d blame myself and lack of self discipline for not being able to stick with it. It was frustrating and upsetting.
Despite this I was DETERMINED to reach my health goals (which at the time was losing weight and getting more energy). So I refused to give up. Instead, I’d start again on Monday!
But in the time between whatever day it was and Monday, a day when I knew I was headed back to my restriction-based diet rules, it was sure to be a free-for-all. I had already fallen off the wagon, the damage was already done, right? May as well go nuts!
I’d fall into a scarcity mindset. I’d stuff my face in preparation for the impending and inevitable deprivation that’s going to occur when Monday comes around.
Then the cycle would start all over again.
It was really hard to take a step back and look at the big picture because I thought dieting was the only way to do it. I couldn’t see that deprivation and restriction-based dieting was NOT going to help me reach my goals…and if it did short term (like if I had extra motivation like an event coming up) it did not last.
But if dieting wasn’t the answer, what was?
Of course there’s no magic “well, just do this!” fix. There were multiple factors and trial and errors and learnings that got me to finally figure out how to reach my goals and sustain a happy and healthy life.
Here’s a big one.
First I needed to realize dieting wasn’t going to be my solution. This happened when I finally started realizing after repeating this cycle many, many times that I was starting to lose excitement. When that Monday did roll around I wasn’t as psyched to start up again or start something “new.” I was feeling super frustrated and disappointed with myself. That losing weight wasn’t possible.
I started to dig deeper. I needed a more powerful force behind my change in my actions.
So I thought about what ultimately drives my results? My actions do. If I eat a certain way or do certain things in my life, I’ll see certain results.
But what drives those actions? You can be told what to do – like with diets (do this, don’t do that). BUT our feelings and thoughts ultimately take over.
We start feeling deprived or frustrated for example, and then we think that what we’re doing isn’t working and something like losing weight isn’t possible. Like I thought!
In order to successfully and sustainably change our actions to give us the results we’re looking for long term, we have to make sure our thoughts and feelings are in alignment.
We have circumstances in our lives, and we have thoughts around those circumstances that generates a feeling (around those thoughts), which then causes us to act based on how we feel, and then it gives us a result, which is whatever’s going on today.
Example from my life:
Circumstance: My weight: Technically in the “normal” range
Thoughts: I’m still not thin enough, more people will like me and I’ll be happier if I’m thinner
Feelings: I’m really insecure, I’m sad, I don’t feel like I’m good enough, I keep trying and failing so I guess I’ll just never lose weight
Actions: I tried all kinds of diets. I ate really crappy “diet” foods (sugar free, calorie free, fat free), I took caffeine diet pills, and worked out 2 hours a day. I didn’t go and do fun college things (probably things that actually would have helped me make friends and be happier!) because it involved foods that were off limits to me
Results: I kept bouncing from diet to diet, starting over to starting over, I felt worse, developed a really bad relationship with food, body image, and lots of self sabotaging behaviors. I also set myself up for health problems because I treated my body that way
The only way I could change my actions, in a way that’s sustainable long term and healthy(!!), is to feel differently about my thoughts. The only way that would happen, is if I thought differently about my circumstances.
This took time. This took work. This still took trial and error. It involved good days and bad days. But ultimately, there were more good days than bad days, lots more. It completely changed and transformed my mindset and my life.
I learned the importance of BALANCE in my life.
This empowered and enabled me to break free from:
- the diet cycle
- blaming my self discipline for failing
- self sabotaging my best attempts
- my restrictive and depriving mentality around food
- seeing myself as someone who needs to lose weight
In the end, it’s such a FREEING feeling!!
If you related to my story and would like help working on this for your own situation, I would love to support you. Yes it’s do-able on your own, but happens so much easier and faster with an experienced Coach by your side.
- CLICK HERE to get more tips on breaking the dieting cycle
- CLICK HERE to schedule a FREE introductory session with me, so I can learn more about you and your situation, and talk through how I can help.