Saturday, January 28, 2012

Your Eating Plan: A Sacrifice, Or A Bargain?



The Lucky Seven Challenge started last Wednesday, but my mental negotiations over what I was going to eat started much earlier.  To create your authentic body, and to keep it, you have to find a way of eating that gets you to goal.  Then you have to adjust that way of eating to let in a little more pleasure and variety, without turning on your body's fat storage system.

Let's face it.  Some of us are a lot more gifted at storing fat than burning it.  If we could apply the energy conserving abilities of the average American female to our power grid, we'd never have a blackout in this country.  I like to look at the bright side though.  It is through our challenges and our apparent handicaps that we learn to strive, persist, and overcome resistance.  

Do I Feel Sorry For Myself Because I'm Not Naturally Slender?

You bet I do: some of the time.  Last Monday and Tuesday, I had some pretty bitter thoughts about what I was going to be giving up for the next seven weeks.  Wine, sugar, flour, chocolate, pasta, oh the list goes on, I won't trouble you with the rest of it.  Now, I admit that there is a significant portion of the fat burning population that is able to eat all foods in moderation and still get leaner.  These individuals, bless them, do get lean and stay lean through the miracle of portion control.  I'm not one of them.  Call me weak, childish, flawed, I just can't control myself after even a bite or two of my trigger foods.  When I want to burn fat and get lean, I eliminate them.  Here's the problem with that scenario:

Self Denial Leads Straight To Self Pity.

And where does self pity lead?  That's right- straight to the snack cupboard, or the refrigerator, or the drive through.  Denial, self pity, thoughts of how unfair it is that other people can eat what they like whenever they like, these bring out the spoiled child in me.  That spoiled chid throws fits, has tantrums, and she very often gets what she wants... except when she doesn't.  Do you now, or have you ever had, small children?  If you do, you know that it is highly challenging to negotiate with them in the heat of the moment.  You have to set the ground rules, for example,
"We don't ever buy anything in line at the checkout counter" before you even walk into the grocery store.

Is This A Sacrifice?

Indeed it is if you want to think of it that way.  Sacrifice, self- denial, long suffering- these are not pleasant concepts or feelings.  To succeed long term we have to replace them with something else.

Would you like to get leaner, stronger, more vital, happier?  How about achieving mastery over your impulsiveness when it comes to food?  Would you like to get up in the morning, look in the mirror and say, "Yes, that's who I really am, and in this body, I have no fear of going out and serving my purpose in the world."

I Call That A Bargain: The Best I Ever Had.

So let's get practical with this concept.  Make your decisions, and your plan, before you get anywhere near a kitchen, restaurant, party, or grocery store.  Make the deal with your hungry inner- teenager.  Set the boundaries with the certainty that you are making a wonderful bargain with with yourself.  What will you eat for the next six and a half weeks, if like me, you're acting to get leaner?  Then establish non- food rewards for taking action.  I suggest rewarding what you do (sticking to your eating plan, doing your fitness routines) as opposed to what the scale says, by the way.  You can manage what you do better than you can manage what a scale will say, believe me.

I do need to address the lifestyle question.  I know that the goal is to find your "forever menu", but be aware that the eating plan that makes you leaner is going to be a bit different form the plan that keeps your weight the same.

This is what I'd like you to do.  Every time the impulse to eat outside the boundaries you've set comes up, remind yourself that sticking to your plan is a Bargain that promises wonderful rewards, not a Sacrifice that denies you fun and pleasure.