Yesterday was Ash , and many of the 78 million Americans who observe Lent are giving something up for forty days and nights.
Regardless of your beliefs, changing your diet can entail giving things up for much, much longer than forty days and nights.
But does it have to?
When I tried to lose weight in 2012, I lost 20 pounds but gained it back for several reasons: I put all of my emphasis on exercise and not nearly enough on cutting calories. I had been laid off and let my depression get the best of me, so I ate more and moved less. But the main reason I failed is the idea that “I can never eat X again. I simply don’t eat cupcakes/cookies/enchiladas anymore.”
I tried to tell myself, well, this is just how it is. It’s a diet* after all. On a diet* there are just some things you can never have again.
*I will touch on this in the future - but it's important not to think of this as a diet. “Diet” implies temporary changes, when you need to make these changes a permanent lifestyle.
I’d start of my “new diet” with a send-off (by send-off, I mean, I’d tell myself that my “diet” starts , so I better eat all the junk in the house today - a goodbye party to all the bad food I can never have again. After all, it’s the last time I can ever eat it.”
Soon enough, I’d wake up the day after my send-off and decide to extend it. Okay, it’s a send-off weekend, not a day. Okay, just one more week. I’ll start next month. I’ll start...never.
When I started over in October of 2013 I changed how I think of “bad” food. This time around, I tried doing something differently. I said, “never say never. You can have cupcakes/cookies/enchiladas, but not right this instant. Those foods aren’t going anywhere. They’ll still be there when a time comes that I have calories for them.”
I still eat the things I want because it’s so important for me not to feel deprived. Though it doesn’t represent the picture of perfect nutrition, I’ve been able to keep my calories in the correct range and often times I still manage to have calories in the evening for a small dessert. I probably have dessert more frequently than I did 36 pounds ago - but I eat it in way smaller portions. I still lose weight, and I don't feel deprived.
As far as a send-off went, I took all of the junk in my house (an unopened bag of chocolate cereal, for starters) and brought it to work. I can promise, there will be someone at work who will appreciate your junk if you don’t want the temptation laying around.
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