I've been in this weight loss thing long enough to know that it goes much deeper than shedding a few pounds. The number on the scale is just the tip of the iceberg - it's the part sticking out of the water. You know, the part you can see with the naked eye. But if you only address the part you can see, you will never fix the rest of the iceberg. That is the journey I have been on for the last several years. Here is a diagram I drew to demonstrate what I mean:
In case the image isn't clear (I can't see it right now) - the bottom of the iceberg has these things listed:
Past successes and failures
These are some of the major issues that need to be addressed for permanent weight loss (ie a healthy fulfilling lifestyle) to be achieved. Here is a quick snapshot of where I am coming from on these:
Emotions - identifying triggers and effects of emotional eating
Justifications - my focus for today (see below)
Past successes and failures - here we go again (facing yet another "start" and "falling off the wagon" acceptances
Misconceptions - desperate attempts to follow an unrealistic lifestyle long term. Not understanding how food affects your particular body.
Biological/physical issues - beating candida, diabetes, heart disease, family obesity, physical limitations etc.
Today my focus will be on justification because this is where I am struggling these past few weeks. Justification is just a fancy word for excuses. The excuses I make to justify making choices I should not be making. Let me give you a few real-life examples:
My family came to visit last weekend from PA. I had 8 women to feed. Instead of feeding them the foods I claim to have adapted as my new normal, I recipe searched and found lots of delicious casseroles to feed a large crew. They were not in the least bit healthy. I have spent months talking about how I avoid processed foods and make yummy healthy recipes based on meats and veggies and occasional quinoa (the total truth) yet I failed to live by example when they came here for the weekend. I used their visit as an excuse to eat the old way - it's only for a weekend after all! Desserts and pastry and yummy chips and dips - oh boy, did I live it up - all the while saying to them how "its been months since I got to indulge in these things..." Well, guess what? On Sunday one of the ladies told me that she had been looking forward to coming down and trying out some of my healthy recipes - yikes, a knife in the heart. Fail. Epic fail. I missed this great opportunity to be a living example of how you can eat healthy and delicious at the same time. I feel like a fraud. Justification - it's a special occasion - they only come to visit twice a year, enjoy yourself.
I returned to work two weeks ago. Leadership development training - all day sitting and listening. Breakfast and lunch provided! Well, again, when feeding a crowd what is the most inexpensive way to feast? Processed food - carbs! Lots of them! Bagels, muffins, coffee cake, donuts - yeah, baby! Pizza, subs, sandwiches - you betcha! Well, again, teachers fussing about how much weight I lost as I eat plate after plate of what I shouldn't eat. Justification - once school starts its all food from home so go for it. Oh, I'll just exercise when I get home (nope, too tired).
The pity party. It's Friday night after a long week eating my way through leadership development. I'm tired and don't feel great (wonder why?!) and it's not fair that my hubby can come home and eat pizza and drink a glass of wine and relax his way into the weekend. Poor pitiful me. I'll just workout extra over the weekend - pour me a glass of wine honey and what do you want on your pizza, I'm having chicken and spinach on mine! Justification - I deserve to relax too and I can make it up later.
All three of these examples show just a sampling of how I can talk myself into going down a wrong road very easily. Until I can quiet these voices I won't truly have victory over my weight loss. No wonder I go up and down so much. No wonder I have been struggling to get healthy for over 10 years. I have to get control over the justifications. But how?
I really believe it is practice, planning and accountability.
I need to be held accountable. Don't wait until the end of the weekend to question my cooking decisions - tell me now while I can still do something about it! Draw attention to the fact that I am over doing it - I won't like it but I'd rather face my folly when I can limit the damage than beat myself up later when more damage was done. I need to also hold myself accountable for my choices - I know that Friday nights are typically when friends want to kick off the weekend with happy hour - so I should plan for it by making better choices during the week so I can have some fun on the weekend. Planning in advance helps me to indulge in a healthy way - not a throw in the towel for a days-on-end kind of way. And most importantly, as with anything else, practice makes perfect. I know I'll never reach perfect, but the more I say no to myself the easier it is to follow through and ignore that voice that wants to justify making a bad choice.
Hey, we are all a work in progress. As long as we keep trying, keep reflecting, keep tweaking who we are we will succeed in become a better, healthier, more informed us. I am learning that it is so much more successful when we have a large support group. Thanks for being such an important part of my support group!