Okay – so, here’s something that comes up quite a bit when I’m working with my health coaching clients, so I thought it would make a good topic for ye olde blog.
After several days of healthy choices and feeling really fabulous, a client will come to a session and say:
“I know it was a lousy choice – but I just really wanted that third slice of pizza”.
“I just felt like I deserved a treat – so I ate the Girl Scout cookies”.
“I just didn’t feel like thinking about healthy food that day”.
Have you ever uttered these words?
Essentially, these clients are admitting that they know they weren’t acting in their own best interests when they went back for thirds/ate a whole bag of chips/finished the ice cream – but they just didn’t care.
That is to say that they didn’t care at the time – but they certainly cared afterwards, as they ‘confessed’ to me and bemoaned their stalled progress.
It’s the question that comes up more than any other: Why Do I Sabotage Myself?
Why do I work so hard to eat right and stay healthy – and then completely undo all my efforts over a stupid plate of fried mozzarella that wasn’t even that good?
If you’ve ever found yourself asking this question – believe me – you are not alone.
Many of us wonder how it can feel so ‘right’ to finish your kid’s french fries/have a second plate of pasta/pop a few donut holes that are sitting RIGHT there – and yet feel so ‘wrong’ the moment it’s over!
How can your thinking become so clouded, so illogical, so deceptive that you are able to talk yourself into eating something you KNOW you’re going to regret?
Wanna know how that happens?
Now, I want to be clear. If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, then you know that I do not advocate dietary ‘suffering’ or deprivation. I’m not talking here about those moments when you consciously choose to have a red velvet cupcake – guilt-free – because, dang it, you want the experience. If you truly want it and you’re consciously choosing it, more power to you, my friend. Eat up!
This is something else.
I’m talking about those moments when you boldly and brazenly get in your own way. You act in such a way that it sabotages the health and weight loss goals you’re working to achieve – and it’s bumming you out.
In those moments…
…when you know you are undoing your hard work….
…when you know you’re going to feel horrible afterwards, but you keep picking and grazing….
…when you feel like throwing up your hands because it’s just ‘too hard’ to stay healthy….
…you are throwing a tantrum, my friend. Like a kidlet.
Think of the child in the grocery store who is throwing herself on the floor, clinging to a box of high-sugar, crappo cereal that she’s desperate to possess. She’s bawling and acting bratty – and everyone is staring at her mother.
It’s a like a fabulous drama playing out in the supermarket aisle. Will the mother give in? Will the child continue to melt down? How does this story end?
What’s the mother going to do? Will she give in to this hysterical display? Will she let this young child make a disastrous food decision just to silence the screaming?
Sometimes yes! And so be it.
But, sometimes, the mother will make an executive decision that is in her child’s best interest – even if it’s not what her child wants in that moment.
Sometimes, the mother will acknowledge her child’s feelings (“I know you really, really want that cereal”) but stand firm that it’s not going in the grocery cart (“This cereal hurts your body and we have other yummy cereal at home”).
Now, let’s turn back to YOU.
I always say that one of the coolest things about being a grown-up is that you get to do whatever you want.
Sometimes what you ‘want’ isn’t in your best interest.
Now you’re split in two.
You’re the kid who wants to finish all the cheesey bread – and you’re the grown-up who knows it’s going to leave you feeling gross and greasy inside.
As an adult, you don’t have a parent by your side setting your boundaries and telling you NO all the time – but you do have YOU.
Sometimes, you need to be the ‘mom’ in the grocery store who’s older and wiser – and who is truly looking out for your best interests.
Sometimes you need to let your inner 4-year old melt down and have a nuclear tantrum about wanting a third helping of noodles/a second piece of cake/the whole bag of Bugles – and still rise up and tell yourself No.
Acknowledge the feelings. Acknowledge the desire for your co-worker’s birthday ice cream cake.
And then remember that you’re in charge.
Remember your goals.
Remember how you want to feel.
And remember that you can be your own good parent – and say No.