Happy Friday, Little Sisters! How was your week on plan? I am officially .6 pounds away from final Weight Watchers goal, which is just shy of 95 pounds gone! I'm extremely nervous about going on maintenance, but I know this time will be different. My head is in a different place; everything feels different. I hope this is starting to happen for you, too! Can you feel it, yet?
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This week we're talking about another way you may be secretly sabotaging yourself: Making hollow blanket statements. We've all done it.
"Ooh, that sounds great, but it would never work for me. I don't eat _________________."
I love Oreos more than your average woman. And garlic bread? Yes, please! I could seriously dive into a goblet a Reese's Pieces. Just ask the host of the party last weekend (I ate most of them and found the bag in the kitchen). I can't be trusted around certain foods. And knowing that is half the battle. But what about the foods you don't eat? Could they holding back your progress?
I'm no stranger to avoiding entire food groups. I've been a serious pescatarian for the last ten years. That means I don't eat beef, chicken or pork but I do eat seafood sparingly. I'm not tracking down where the source of gelatin came from in my desserts and I'm never going to suggest that you do the same. It's a personal decision and it's up to you. Avoiding meat has never a problem for me. I don't miss it (or even ever think about it) and that stops me from ever considering fast food, which is fantastic.
So what happens when you don't eat gluten? Or any processed foods? Or things that are red? Or vegetables? There is nothing wrong with excluding food from your diet* if it's because of your personal beliefs or if your doctor asked you to cut out certain foods entirely. But what about the foods you declare that "you just don't eat"?
Consider this: are you avoiding these foods as a crutch to avoid making any real changes? Thinking "I just don't eat salad" because you haven't been eating salad isn't helpful. "I don't eat fish because I'm a meat and potatoes kind of guy." How is that working out for you? Seriously, is that working? I'm going to guess the answer is no.
Applying blanket statements to food is actually a sticky trap for you to stay at the same weight (or higher) forever. And once you're stuck, you are stuck. It's such as easy brain trick for us to say, "I can't do that because I don't eat ____. " It keeps us anchored to our comfort zone, which just might be taking a lot of meds, wearing blousy, oversized clothes, and hiding from ourselves.
Here's the shocking news and I'm sorry to break it to you. Right now, you may only really like food that isn't good for your plan. If the idea of dry eggs, baked chicken and water sound like the end of the world, you've got to get out of your own head and reconsider what being healthy looks like. Food doesn't have to be bland or boring because it's healthy. You have to change the way you think about it. You don't have to do it all at once. I'm not giving up my diet soda this week or next. However, making one small change per week will get you leaps and bounds closer to your goal. Maybe you actually like green beans if you tried a new recipe. Maybe the lean cut of beef will be as satisfying as the ribs. Maybe you will love the feel of really cold, fresh water. Living by blanket statements keeps you trapped in the same place you are right now.
Eating the foods on your "approved list" is what got you into this mess. You're going to have to learn how to change your palate from unhealthy foods to healthier options. You don't have to start eating bean sprout and hummus sandwiches instead of a rack of ribs, but you need to start opening your options to include things you normally ignored in the past. You aren't going to get healthy eating one giant meal per day or still cooking eggs with a stick of butter per serving. You've got to make changes. They don't have to be all in one day, or even one month. But you've got to start to swing your palate from thick and heavy to lighter and healthier.
After a little bit of time and a lot of struggle, that greasy, fatty, sugary food will no longer taste as good to you. I know. You're thinking "bullshit, Gouldylox. I'll never like a salad." Sure, you may not find a steak salad you dream about overnight. You might miss the food itself or the actual process of eating a huge meal. Maybe you even like that tight, over-full feeling in your belly after one of those meals. Maybe it's comforting for you to feel sated in that way, like you did when you did a good job cleaning your plate when you were a kid. But what happens next?
Have you ever made jokes about undoing your pants button after a meal to cover your shame for needing expandable pants? Or do you find yourself scrambling for Zantac while spending the afternoon complaining about how your "meds aren't right"? Maybe you fall asleep because your body doesn't have the energy to keep you awake while it processes that giant meal? Even if you don't fall asleep, you're likely to be sluggish for the rest of the day and everything feels harder to accomplish.
See anything familiar? Let's think about it.
You would rather feel all of that shame, make fat jokes at your own expense and miss out on life because you don't like vegetables? It's not the salads that you don't like. You are afraid to make a change because the change itself is uncomfortable. It's downright hard. Honestly, it's easier to just accept failure before you even try. It doesn't have to be that way! You make the rules! You can change the rules!
Here's the secret. I know you can succeed, because I managed to get out from under the 95 pounds that were holding me back. It was easier for me to stay on the couch and eat King Size Peanut Butter Cups (frozen, double pack, from the Royal Farms store, every night) than it was to commit to trying to do better. And if this binge-eating sugar junkie can do it after a lifetime of making poor food choices, so can you.
What happens when you start to make healthier choices in healthier portions? Your body will start to work in harmony, like a motor humming. Your skin will be brighter. Your eyes will sparkle. You will feel like you've finally escaped a thick fog that made it easier to stay where you were instead of finding a happier place to thrive. And like all positive changes, your only regret will be waiting so long to make a change.
You just have to take that first step. I know you can do this. Who knew I loved roasted Brussels sprouts? I never did!
Good luck this week! Try a new food, let your plan guide you, try to move around a little and eat a pickle. You've got this!
Want to join me on Weight Watchers? Let's do this!
*Meaning what you eat, not how you lose weight.
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