Without further ado, please enjoy today’s guest post from our friend Betsy!
I’ve tried being gentle and loving with myself when it comes to my weight loss and healthy-living efforts, but all that has gotten me is a warm-fuzzy feeling coupled with bouts of self-loathing and desperation, so the hell with that. I’m resorting to tough love. To help guide me on this never-before-traversed-tough-love path I’ve created and implemented a plan based on the advice outlined in the two books (Kessler and Beck) I discussed in my last post.
What are the goals of this plan?
- To eliminate the chaos that surrounds mealtimes.
- To break my desire for, and emotional dependence on hyperpalatable foods.
- To reframe my relationship with food: i.e. food is for fuel (family, friends and activity are for reward and comfort).
What is the plan? It’s pretty basic because if I set too many rules I tend to forget about them or lose track of them or mix them up and reverse them and return to my habitual eating. So “don’t eat after 8PM” becomes “eat with abandon after 8PM.” So my plan goes like this:
- ELIMINATE all sugar, white flours, pastas, junk food, cakes, chips, processed foods, and fast food.
- Set mealtimes in advance and eat ONLY at those times.
- Spend a few minutes each day creating the next day’s meal plan.
- Select a few meal options for each meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack) and eat them again and again and again.
- Complete Beck’s Success Skills (Stage 1) for seven consecutive days and then assess. (I need to assess today!)
I have to tell you that I am VERY proud of myself for including the word and action “ELIMINATE” in my plan because I usually lean towards the healthy living camp that frowns upon eliminating food types as it is said that can lead to a nasty mentality of deprivation thus leading to cravings and overindulgence. But alas, I’ve tried (and tried and tried and tried) to keep all foods fair game, in moderation, and that has not worked for me. At all. So in a moment of bravery and tough love, I have given up those foods that have comforted me for 30+ years. I have finally admitted to myself that reaching my goal (of being a fit, healthy person) will not be attained by consuming my trigger foods. It just isn’t gonna happen that way for me.
In preparation for launching my new plan I held a multi-day event called The Great Food Funerals of 2011. During this time I enjoyed my go-to comfort foods, thanked them for the years of support, told them I no longer needed them, and released them and asked them to release me. I realize this sounds ridiculous but I am one for grand gestures when it comes to life changing moments, and this farewell to my food faves deserved a proper send off.
It’s day eight since I implemented this plan and I’m finding Beck’s whole “NO CHOICE” approach a huge relief. The moment my mind starts going down that road of trying to justify giving into a food craving that isn’t in my day’s eating plan, I take a deep breath and say, “NO CHOICE.” And then there is a blissful silence. My mind doesn’t try to tell me I deserve it, or just this once won’t be a big deal, or that I should eat it because I want it and I’m an adult and get to make my own decisions so just go ahead and enjoy it. When I say, “NO CHOICE” all of that chatter evaporates. It’s so simplistic that I’m amazed it’s working for me.
I’m also amazed because I found this approach tedious and difficult just a few months ago. Obviously, I wasn’t ready to make these changes and so I resisted them with fervor akin to a televangelist. But today I’m ready because I am tired of expending all of my energy fighting with myself in a battle over food. It’s just so darn tedious to constantly be engaged in a battle of wills with myself. It’s also quite absurd and such a self-centered use of my precious life energy. So enough. Enough.