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Seven Keys to Permanent Weight Loss Success (Part 4 of 4)

This is part 4 of the 4-part "Seven Keys to Permanent Weight Loss Success" series. Key #6: Control your rewards You've heard it before. "Have a free day. Eat cheat meals." It sounds exciting, doesn't it? For several days, you focus on ultimate discipline. You eat perfectly "clean" and don't deviate from your diet .

not even a little bit. But that's because you have a great motivator . the promise of a day or meal where you can literally go "no-holds barred" and eat anything and everything in sight! If you start to feel a twinge of guilt about your plans to assault the nearest buffet, you can simply flip to the pages of your favorite book and reassure yourself with the claim that this meal is necessary because it will boost your metabolism. It's okay. Have it all.

Chow away. Stuff yourself. You earned it, and it won't make a difference, right? Well . maybe, and then again, maybe not. Cheat meals, free meals, reward meals, or whatever names you choose serve their purpose. I know that I would not have jumped headfirst into my first physique transformation if I did not know I could dive back into my binge habits once a week. And it worked . for awhile. I stuck to the program and was losing weight. As time progressed, however, I noticed a few disturbing trends.

Monday to me was simply a countdown to the day I could eat anything I wanted. I was obsessed with it. Sure, I was eating clean throughout the week, but I could barely focus on anything else other than the idea that one day I would be going crazy. When that day came, I would actually plot out a course through the city so I could hit as many fast-food and donut joints as possible. We went to buffets and then hit the store and bought pounds of junk food to bring home and consume before midnight. I realized that this wasn't control. It wasn't even reward. It was addiction. I thought back to when I quit cigarettes. How did I do it? Did I stop smoking six days out of the week, and then have a day where I smoked as much as I possibly could? My body was giving me a few clues as well.

I would feel bloated, disgusting, nauseous, and would often get sick after a free day with a cold or sinus infection. I felt like I spent the first half of the week recovering from the last day and the next half barely holding on to make it to the next splurge festival. That's when I decided it was time for things to change. I did not want to remain a slave to food. I could not imagine going on like that for the rest of my life, but this was supposed to be a permanent change, right? So I put my foot down. I started with only allowing myself one or two reward meals per week. I called them reward meals because cheating is not what I was doing . I planned them, and deserved them. After several weeks of this, I noticed a significant change: I was no longer desperate for those meals, I was enjoying my healthy meals more, and when it was time to have a reward meal, I didn't "waste" it on junk food or fast food . I'd go to a nice restaurant, sit down, and truly savor it.

Then I began to focus on my portion control. I was still over-eating that one meal, and I would feel like I had a hangover for the rest of the evening. So I made a pact with myself that I would never eat so much that I couldn't have my other meals that day . in other words, even with a reward meal, I'd control my portion sizes so that I was still ready to eat again after a few hours. This is when I suddenly found myself in the driver's seat. The food was no longer in control, I was. I still enjoy pizza, ice cream, and many other treats. But now I control my rewards. I don't have to go overboard.


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