How many times have you eaten something tasty, and immediately felt pangs of guilt? Maybe you promised yourself you would exercise double your normal amount the next day (a punishment). Or, perhaps you simply beat yourself up about it, lamenting your lack of willpower.
How many times have you started a weight loss plan, and then immediately felt dread toward the foods you would be forced to eat? Have you ever felt that a salad is a punishment for last week’s cheeseburger, or a bowl of fruit is compensation for that morning’s donut?
Categorizing things as “good” or “bad” is a part of human nature. But viewing foods this way is only going to set you up for an internal battle, that most people never win.
Why? Most people simply will not stick to a diet of foods they hate, for years at a time. And we can hardly blame them! Likewise, they won’t stick with an exercise regimen that serves as a punishment for giving in to temptation. When we establish these dynamics in our mind, we start a psychological war between good and evil within ourselves. You constantly vacillate back and forth, between rewards and punishments, and struggle to break free of the forces that trap you into an unhealthy lifestyle.
What if, instead of viewing food and exercise as “good” or “bad”, reward or punishment, you simply asked yourself this question: Why am I eating this? (Or, with regard to exercise, why am I doing this?)
In truth, there are no bad foods, but there are bad reasons for eating them. If you’re bored, lonely, sad, or using food as a reward, you should probably question your motives more deeply. It’s okay to occasionally indulge in your favorite treats, but make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons.
The same rule applies to exercise. You shouldn’t reinforce the good vs evil dynamic, by viewing exercise as a compensation for a food sin. You should be exercising because you want to take care of your body, because it feels good, and because you enjoy it. Now that’s an exercise program that doesn’t even feel like a “program”!
Changing your relationship with food and exercise should be an integral part of your weight loss plan. Without this deeper change, most people remain stuck in the cycle of yo-yo dieting. As you learn to question your motives and practice mindful eating and exercise habits, you will break free of your old patterns once and for all.
For more information on a medical weight loss plan, give us a call. We can help you achieve your goals safely, under the guidance of an experienced physician.