Women. We are a special breed. We work out butts off, we strive for perfection, we multi-task until we have three heads growing out of our necks, but when we screw up just one thing, we immediately go into self punishment mode. You had a french fry? A whole French Fry?! Time to crack the whip and repent.
A lot of the women I work with, whether in Slim & Strong or in one-on-one nutrition or personal training sessions are black-or-white thinkers. It’s either all perfect or it’s all messed up. 50 Shades of Grey? Never heard of it. People with an all-or-nothing mindset typically experience the same challenges over and over when it comes to their diet and exercise. And, not surprisingly, once that mindset is changed into a more lenient, forgiving, balanced mindset, so do their behaviors change and the results actually start rolling in and stay!
I recently started working with a woman who wants to lose weight. We had our one-on-one nutrition session where she learned everything she needed to know about diet and exercise. She should be all set to go and put the knowledge into action and already achieve her goal, right? Nope. I wish it was that easy. Whenever we embark on change , we are motivated by our shiny new goals. Yet, our behaviors are still the old ones we have been practicing over and over for a long time. Changing them takes practice, repetition and a certain level of discomfort because you’re on new stomping grounds. It’s not yet second nature. You’re learning a new behavior and that requires your focus and commitment. And, it requires some mess ups too, so when my client emailed me a great food diary and then asked about whether the tortilla chips messed up the entire day, I knew she was still applying her old all-or-nothing thinking to her choices. Here’s how to tackle that:
I am closer and appreciate your feedback. Am feeling good but wishing the dinner issue was easier. Dinner is my family’s and my favorite social meal and I have the hardest time making good choices . I am trying. Here is today’s food diary:
3 eggs scrambled with corn
Coffee + stevia + splash of milk
1 bottle water
2oz roasted turkey, 2 oz feta cheese, tomato slices
My family packed sandwiches for a picnic and I just ate the filling and threw the bread away (hence, low protein intake)
Mixed green salad with olive oil and vinegar
1 string cheese
1 sardine (in tomato sauce)
Seafood ceviche + 4 corn tortilla chips
Chicken with grilled mushrooms, onions, peppers, tomato, squash & avocado
1/4 cup beans
1 soft corn tortilla
2 sparkling waters
I know I should not have had the tortilla chips or corn tortilla – mistake and should have skipped both!!) Does this mistake mean I messed up my whole days worth of work? I think it does but wanted to ask.
you had a great day! Well done!
Your question about whether your dinner choices messed up the whole day make me think that you still have that all-or-nothing attitude. As long as you think that way you’ll either be ‘on a diet’ or ‘off the diet’ and that thought pattern will guide your your food choices.
Here’s how you want to handle not so ideal food choices:
If you have more carbs than you need (which for you is more than about 30g per meal, or about 6-8 bites of starch), then you simply want to balance them out by having less at the next one or two meals. Or, if you had too many starches at dinner, then make sure you work out first thing in the morning so you can burn them off before they get converted into body fat. Your diet is about creating balance. Not about being perfect, so shift your thinking towards all the great changes you’re creating with every meal. Every meal matters, but if you ‘mess up’ at one meal, that doesn’t mean you undid a whole day. It simply means you want to balance it out and use up the excess of carbs. Does that make sense?
if you’re having trouble saying no to starches at dinner and this is an ongoing issue, then let’s take a look at what might be going on:
- Do you feel you’re missing out on something if you don’t eat what everyone else is eating?
- Do you feel deprived because you think you can’t have these foods?
- Do you feel socially coerced into eating a certain way because you want to avoid judgement or a discussion about food?
Keep in mind that your food issues and needs are different than others’. You need to act based on YOUR needs, not based on what you think others want you to do or what others think of you. That might have been important when you were 5 years old, but times have changed
You wanted to change your body and how you feel in it because you’re not happy with the way things are right now. In order to change that long-term, you need to accept the fact that for a short period of time there will be some discomfort associated with the change. This temporary discomfort is a lot better than permanent discomfort (tight clothes, low energy, cravings, low self-esteem due to weight, ongoing food struggles…). Focus on what will ultimately make you happier, healthier and energized. I’m sure it’s not the empanadas or tortilla chips, but the feelings you create by nourishing your body appropriately.
And, lastly, you’re cleaning up your diet right now to create an improved sensitivity to carbs, so when you do reintroduce them, you will know how they truly affect you. Before you add things back in, however, you need to clean up your diet for at least 5-7 days or else you won’t get an accurate feedback response from your body.