Here’s a thing I used to say all the time when I ate something I “wasn’t supposed to eat.” Tell me if this is you, too:
(in dramatic, self-loathing tones) "F$%# it! I’ve ALREADY BLOWN IT, so …."
"So … this day is a writeoff!"
"So … none of this - cake, chips, ice cream, leftovers, random contents of very old jars that might give me food poisoning* - counts now!"
"So … I’ll just eat everything in the fridge and pantry and that way I can start with a clean slate tomorrow!"
"So … just f$%# it, I might as well just pop down to the donut shop and pick up adozen apple fritters to go with my paperback thriller and spend the rest of the day in bed!"
(in dramatic, nauseated, self-loathing tones): "See?! NOTHING I DO EVER MAKES A DIFFERENCE!!!"
The problem is pretty easy to spot, isn’t it?
Of course it all counts, everything we eat. Of course it all makes a difference, every action we take.
And OF COURSE there’s more than one thing we need to do if we want to demolish destructive eating habits and restore our bodies to health. We have to eat better, sometimes we have to eat less, sometimes we have to eat more, we definitely have to move more, and we have to go on an incredibly strict diet of NO MORE SELF-HATE.
But here is where I think we have a huge amount of leverage, and can take a small action with enormous payoffs. It’s in that moment right after we “blow it.”You know the moment I mean.
It’s when we decide that since a single brownie has so many calories it won’t makeany difference to throw another 11 brownies on top.
It’s our old friend the 80/20 rule. The initial blunder is no big deal. It’s what comes after you tell yourself that nothing matters that does most of the damage. Do this often, and you’ve got a lot of extra weight and misery.
So just don’t do that. Just don’t tell yourself it doesn’t matter.
Instead, tell yourself "It matters because everything counts." Tell yourself, "It matters, AND that doesn’t mean I’m a total failure and I should give up. "
If you have to, tell yourself “It matters, and I’m eating this pan of browniesanyway.”
With every brownie: “This matters. It all counts.” Second brownie: “The first one counted. This one counts too.” Third brownie: “I’m having this, and it counts.” Fourth brownie: “Yep, this one matters, because they all do.”
I guarantee you, this cannot go on for long.
Bonus tip: Don’t have any foods you’re “not supposed” to eat. Have foods you choose not to eat.
* Happened to me! I did this to myself! (It was a long time ago. But holy crap! MEMORABLE.)