Is this Your Diet Story?
Do you have a diet story? Many people tell themselves a story about how things “should” go, which is often linked to how things have gone in the past. A diet story may go something like this:
“In order to lose weight and be healthy, I need to deprive myself. This deprivation should be very strict, with a lot of rules. These rules need to be followed constantly; it’s ‘all-or-nothing’ and if I break the rules, even just a little, then I am bad, I have failed and I’ve gone off of the plan. If I fail and get off of the plan, then forget it, I’m going to eat whatever I want, whenever I want.
Crap! Now I feel awful and weak. I need to get back on the plan and be even more strict with the rules, and deprive myself even more than before.”
It’s a lousy story, isn’t it? But I bet it sounds familiar.
Why that story won’t work
Deprivation, restriction and “food rules” seem like they should work, but they don’t; here’s why:
- You can’t bully or belittle yourself into doing what you want or making changes; being strict and self-blaming only creates extreme negativity and will therefore fail.
- Our bodies have built-n mechanisms to prevent starvation. Those mechanisms shape our thoughts and feelings along with our actions.
- When you feel deprived, it’s a natural result to think about being a “rebel” and “treating yourself” with “forbidden foods.” For example, if you forbid yourself from eating carbs and deem ALL carbs to be bad, you’ll see them as “forbidden fruit.” Eventually, you’ll have a moment of self-defiance and reach for the sugar bowl.
Re-Write Your Story
You know that old story isn’t working. If you really want to see results, it’s time to try writing a new diet story. Here’s how this one can go:
“I want to over-indulge, but I’m going to stop and think about what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, and how it will make me feel after I’ve done it, and give myself some wise advice. Why do I want to do this, and what can I choose to do instead, that is more positive?
I’m going to be kind and compassionate without any negative self-talk, but I’m also going to be firm and remind myself how icky I’ll feel after I over-indulge. I’ll feel bad and full of regret, and be more tempted to be hard on myself. So I am going to break this habit, and choose not to over-indulge. I feel great for choosing to care about myself.”
See how different the new story is? Without all those harsh rules and punishment, and by building the ability to sense what your body wants and needs for nutrients, you’re in a better place to make healthy decisions, be full of wisdom and compassion for yourself, and be a role model for yourself, your family and your friends.
Write a more loving story
You just need to consciously create a story that takes you where you want to go, with some gentle guidance from your wise inner-voice. You wouldn’t guide a child with negativity, you would guide them with love and caring so do the same for yourself.
Start creating your new story today. When you want to grab that cookie—don’t. When you want to open that can of pop—pour a glass of water. Simple changes can have big impact, and over time, those healthy choices will just become a way of life.