Do you think pizza is bad? Do you feel guilty if you eat pizza or other forbidden foods? If so, I’d like to to tell you about a friend of mine, Amy, who’s been on a lot of diets.
I mean, a lot.
Every diet from cabbage soup to South Beach to Cookie to Paleo. She just told me she’d gone off the most recent diet.
Big time. These were actually her exact words: “I went off my diet, big time.”
She ate pizza for dinner and to her, this was practically a crime. “I can’t lose weight if I eat pizza,” she said. “What’s wrong with me?”
The only thing wrong was her mindset, which was her conviction that pizza was bad. This set her up for feeling bad about herself, one of the five mental blocks to weight loss: That’s the, “I was “bad” because I didn’t stick to my diet/I was “good” because I stuck to my diet” mindset.
So if you think something along the lines of:
“Bread is bad. I was bad because I ate bread.” (or pizza)
“Salad is good. I was good today because I ate salad.”
Then you need to hear this:
What you eat may be good for you or bad for you, but it does NOT reflect your character. The trouble with this kind of good-bad thinking is that it ties your likeability, lovability and sense of self to what you are eating.
Eating salad doesn’t make you a good person. It makes you a person who eats salad. Being a healthy eater doesn’t imbue you with some special characteristic that makes you more likeable or lovable.
What determines your goodness is the way you treat others, your intention to do the right thing, to be thoughtful and kind.
You are not a better person because you abstain from certain foods. You’re not a bad person if you eat pizza. This “good food/good me” mentality causes a lot of anguish. If this resonates with you, then start challenging that good-bad dichotomy!
Plus – and this is VERY important – if you have the attitude of, “I’ll never, ever, EVER be able to eat pizza again (or pasta/ice cream/cookies, whatever) you are setting yourself up for failure.
Fear of deprivation – either actual deprivation or imagining future deprivation – inevitably leads to bingeing. If you think you cannot eat a certain food for some unspecified or prolonged period of time, then you’re probably going to have as much of that food as possible.
It’s the anticipation of future deprivation that leads to overeating in the present.
if you allow yourself to have it, you can decide if you actually want it. Or how much you want.
And that’s how you win the diet war!