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Jan 31, 2009

It's An Attitude Thing

You know the most interesting thing to me, is how many people go on a "diet" (a four letter word to be avoided let me assure you), and then the worst in them comes out. I've never seen anyone beat themselves up more than a "dieter". Their mind is a nasty place to be.

Somehow, in our interest of taking care of our health and weight, we start to judge ourselves and our efforts, truly a way to sabotage those same efforts. Read some of these "thoughts" we have internally and see if any of this doesn't ring a bell.

OK, you just ate a piece or more than one of fudge (substitute any food you had that you think you "shouldn't have had)? Does that mean you "blown it"? NO! Does that mean you might as well eat anything you want since the day was blown? NO! Does that mean you have no will power and are a failure? NO! Does that mean you'll never be able to lose the weight? NO! Doesn't it mean I have no discipline or control over myself? NO!! Does that mean you're weak and can never lose weight? NO!

OK, so Suzy sitting next to you just had some fudge (again substitute whatever food you want), and she's on a diet trying to lose weight. Does that mean that she needs you to make a comment about what she just ate? NO! Does that mean that she needs your help and comments to help her make better choices, as she reaches for another piece? NO! Does that mean that she's a cheater? NO! Does that mean it's any of your business what's going in and out of her mouth, just because she thinks you're someone she can talk to about her weight struggles? NO! --OK, so this little paragraph isn't about us being unkind to ourselves, but rather people being unkind to us by judging us and our efforts and deciding they have to step in and try to keep us from "failing. What they're really doing is judging us, when they are deciding whether what we did was "good" or "bad". Does that help us? NO!

Getting the picture? First of all, don't DIET! I'm always quick to correct people who ask me about my "diet", and tell them I'm not on a diet, I'm following a program. Sometimes I'm off program, and sometimes I'm on program. When there are extenuating circumstances, I sometimes make a choice to go off program; it's ok. Sure, I may not be as successful this week, but I will be in the long term, because I saved myself some internal battles. I didn't go on a guilt trip, I didn't tear myself up my lack of will power, failure or whatever else. I allowed myself to live in the moment and not stress. When I make a choice, I am able to enjoy it, rather than hate myself for it. After that little pleasure, I'm right back on program, if I choose to be. No recriminations necessary. There is no wild seesawing, whether with the emotional ups and downs I could have put myself through, or weight ups and downs; because I'm not deprived, blowing it, building up pressure or any such thing.

Success is an attitude thing. Whatever your program or your plan, be kind to yourself. Me? I gained 4 lbs in the last 4 or 5 weeks, between Christmas and my recent vacation to Washington. Most of it was gained at Christmas time. Am I upset? Actually not! I'm pretty happy that I didn't gain more, and that I went right back on program as soon as Christmas was over. I also know that I can get it off in a month. Not only that, I made a conscious choice at certain times to enjoy Christmas, enjoy my vacation, and not obsess or worry excessively about what the food choices were. Some of the food choices were out of my control, especially when traveling or when eating at other's celebrations. The things I could control and plan for I did. The things I couldn't plan for, I relaxed and didn't stress over. After Christmas, I went right back on program. Same thing with after my vacation.

What matters to me is I had some awesome times! I have some wonderful memories. I had some good food, off and on program. I'm not upset with myself. I didn't fail and quit the program. I still went to get my Jenny Craig food every week and did my best. NEVER did I fail. NEVER was I hard on myself! NEVER would I accept other people's judgments and attempts to help me "control" what I ate (thought it is a pet peeve that some people think they need to do that!). Also, I'm still saying I lost 222 lbs. True, 4 were gained, but I still lost them! :) When I get them back off, I'll still be saying I lost 222 lbs. I'm not going to try to pretend I've lost ground. I've stayed on even keel! Yes! It's all about ATTITUDE!

Anyone out there who's working on improving their health, improving how they eat, don't forget it's not a "diet" thing. It's an ATTITUDE! thing. Make you plan, follow it, but be kind to yourselves when extenuating situations occur. No recriminations are ever needed! You're doing awesome just because you want to continue to improve and work on your health or weight! Pat yourself on the back for being "on program" again and don't give the "off program"behavior another thought! You are succeeding just because you are STILL in the game!


Ang said...

I totally agree that we should not diet. It seems that when we call it that, we are just setting ourselves up to fail. Very interesting.

We all fluctuate in weight! It is a natural thing. It is too bad we are so quick to feel that we have failed. I am totally guilty of this. good points:)

Ann said...

You are right. We do need to remember that it's normal to fluctuate on weight here and there. Our body does what it's going to do, and we need to not get so upset by it sometimes.

Kasey Byrd said...

Hear, hear sister! What you just said is exactly my attitude as well. I still enjoy every bite of food whether it is on my plan or not. I don't call it a diet, I call it a lifestyle because it is exactly that, a lifestyle of my choice to be healthy and enjoy everything in my life instead of feeling sorry for myself and feeling so guilty and ugly and hateful towards myself. No more of that! Weight Watchers has changed my lifestyle and I thank Heaven for it. I'm sticking with it for life because it has taught me to have a healthy attitude towards food and myself. You took the words right out of my mouth, Ann!

Ann said...

You know, the mark of any successful program, is when you are able to develop the attitude that we've both developed. Jenny Craig has done it for me, Weight Watchers for you. So happy you're doing so well!!!

Anonymous said...

Whoa! That was a very interesting article I just read. It made me pause for a moment and wonder just what my own program is for a healthy me. I think I've been on a "sea food" (see food) program for too long and need to find something different. Diane

Ann said...

Good luck Diane with coming up with a great plan for you! I've been on the see food program in the past! Better to plan the food I will see! :)

NariceatL4 said...

You are so right on! Diets don't work--healthy choices, healthy life-styles do. And yes, why is it that we say to ourselves, "I ate the fudge (or whatever it was)--the day is ruined now, I'll just have to eat my head off now"....? We do like to sabotage ourselves...?

I've been wishy-washying for the last two months... it's time for me to get serious and get back on my plan! I like your comment that it's better to plan the food you will see. Good one!

Becky said...

Ann...they say that people come in and out of our lives for different reasons and seasons. I have been so blessed to have you come into my life during this season of my life. Sharing a school with you, both of us for the first time, I never knew anything about your background. I always admired you. You always had a sparkle every time you came into my office. Always upbeat, always pleasant, and always friendly. After Christmas you came back into my office and I commented on your cute hair cut. We began to talk. As I listened, I was so inspired to become a better person inside and out. I am truly blessed to have your friendship. I am even more blessed to learn by your wisdom and example. I have told you over and over and I truly mean it....."You are my idol!" God Bless you in all you do. Thanks for the vision!

Ann said...

Good luck on your plan Nariceatl4. Good luck with planning the food you will see! :)

Becky, thanks so much for the kind words! That's awesome to hear from you. Thanks for all the kind things you said. I've enjoyed getting to know you so much and love coming into your office and seeing you! I think everyone at your school is so fortunate to have you!

NariceatL4 said...

Hi Ann,
Thanks for stopping by my blog (you made me smile:-)(... just like Meg Ryan in 'you've got mail'--we LOVE comments and feedback from friends!) and yes, I would have liked to see that cloud photo too :)

PS I tried leaving this comment a minute ago, and it wouldn't post... so hopefully, you don't have it twice now!

Ann said...

I love that comparison Narice. I really enjoy that my blog has allowed me to make a new friend! I am enjoying getting to know you via your blog, and your visits here! Ain't this technology grand! :)