100 lb. Club - how to stop all or nothing thinking from derailing me

better health3
02-22-2008, 04:40 PM
I have been struggling as of late...I am trying to get as consistent as I can and overide my old lifestyle of sedentary laziness and mindless, numbing eating. Some days I am easily able to do this, other days it is such a struggle. What is your best method of getting consistent and doing the right thing? We all know it is a choice, yet occasionally I grab things that aren't the best nutritional options.

Why do I sabotage myself when that is not what I want??? Obesity causes cancer, stroke, diabetes, etc. What is so fun about that? Change is difficult, but not impossible. Many wonderful ladies on this board have proven to me that it is doable, just sacrifice for the greater good. I just don't want to stay stuck for the rest of my natural life and am freaking out.:?: Tough love is needed here.

02-22-2008, 04:54 PM
Hey :) this is a really important subject to me because it was one of the biggest reasons I kept trying and failing. I wanted to be PERFECT. When I planned how to lose weight (and I could spend hours fantasizing about just HOW I would do it), I imagined perfect low calorie days.

Well, there were a couple of flaws to my grand imaginary weight loss scheme when I tried to put it into practice:

1. I imagined perfect low calorie days, but didn't do any real work to make them happen. I didn't plan out meals, I just expected to eat low calorie kind of by accident. I had no plans for afternoon hungry, I just expected to suffer and be hungry. That didn't work out well - at all, I usually ended up tempted by some leftover cake in the breakroom at work.

2. If I ate "off plan" I felt like a failure and a loser, I felt like I had no will power. I didn't know what was WRONG with me, why could other people diet and I couldn't? When I felt like a failure, I didn't feel motivated, I felt like I had blown the day and I should just give up and "start over perfectly" tomorrow (or next Monday or next month or whatever).

So, to be successful this time, I've made two enormous changes in relation to this issue.

1. I plan my meals/snacks and actually do the hard work of going to the store, buying what I need, packing lunches/snacks. I realize that I DONT like being hungry and since I want to do this forever, I'm not going to be hungry and miserable every day. I'm going to EAT and be full, satisfied and happy. I don't expect to eat healthy/whole foods/in my calorie range by accident - I accept that it takes a lot of hard work and planning on my part and I am willing to do the work.

2. I accept that life is messy, complicated and unplanned. I will eat offplan foods. Unexpected cheese and crackers at work one afternoon did not make me heavy. I forgive myself (sometimes I brain storm better tactics for handling temptation - but I always forgive myself) and go right back to my healthy planned meal the next meal opportunity. I am very very careful that 1 unplanned meal doesn't become an offplan day or week.

After 3 years of maintenance, I have a lot more trust in myself and my way of eating. Occasional blips don't affect the scale. Overall, my goal is to eat onplan (healthy, counted calorie, whole foods) 90% of the time. 5% of the time is for my weekly planned treat meal (dinner in a nice restaurant, dessert, wine) and 5% is for stuff that happens (coworker passing out truffles, a biscotti with my latte, sampling the daily specials at Trader Joe's).

90% on plan works great for me - instead of feeling like a loser, I feel successful. I didn't used to like myself very much and now I think I'm pretty awesome.

Just wanted to add - in reference to your comment about adding stuff that isn't great for you - I had to just GIVE UP "bad" foods (sugar soda, packaged baked goods, chips, white flour pretzels, cookies, most candy). I don't grab bad foods because I just don't eat that stuff anymore. I NEEDED that kind of black/white mentality to simplify things for me, I don't have to anguish over should I or should I not buy a bag of Salt & Vinegar Lays potato chips - they have been a complete non issue for me for over 3 years. Since I don't eat fast food, I have to have my healthy meal choices on hand and ready. I know a lot of people are great about moderation - not me. My life is a lot simpler this way.

I do not feel deprived in any way - I eat consistently and mindfully 90% of the time so I can enjoy "treats." I love food, I don't want to waste calories on a Hershey's bar, if I'm going to eat something like that, it will be a wonderful dessert in a nice restaurant or excellent dark chocolate or something really really good. If I'm going to have a TREAT, it is going to be something wonderful and worth it to me!

02-22-2008, 05:08 PM
For me, I'm not thinking about it at all. Because I always get bogged down with the all or nothing. I've only tried to diet maybe ... sheesh, three times in my adult life? I always lost a good deal of weight but then I would slip up and it would all feel pointless and so I'd stop and give up, and gain it back tenfold.

This time, I'm not thinking about the long term. I'm thinking 30 days. If I can get through 30 days, I can get through another 30 days. Also, I think it's unrealistic to set too many goals at once. Right now I'm doing low carb, low fat, kinda South Beach diet. I did Atkins, lost a bunch of weight. Did South Beach last year, lost a bunch of weight. So I'm familiar with the concept of cutting out major carbs. It's not a huge shock to my system. Familiarity is good. So good.

I guess what I'm saying is to make it a gradual process. Our family made a decision to eat healthy, whole foods last September. We mostly eats beans, vegetables, fruits, nuts, dairy, and all whole grains. Then we cut out all fast food a month or two ago. It wasn't even a diet thing; it was just something we all did out of principle. And it really helps that we don't have too much crud in the house to tempt me.

So a couple weeks ago when I started really working on myself, all I did was cut my portions down, eliminated my bread, pasta and quinoa I ate, lowered fat content, and started focusing on exercising. And I found something I liked exercise-wise, that I could do every day, and that I wasn't put off by.

It's best to keep things underwhelming, and don't think ahead too much. Like if I thought about having to lose 150 pounds, and that my LIFE depended on it? I'd seriously hide under my covers and not get out. Ever. =/ But 275's not that scary.

02-22-2008, 05:15 PM
A few books I've read indicate that you need to be 'on plan' 80-90% of the time in order to be successful. That means, 10-20% of the time, you can have slip ups and what not and it doesn't mean that you will most likely continue to lose weight. So if you don't happen to exercise today, make an effort to get in exercise tomorrow. If you 'slip up' and go over your calories for the day, then tomorrow make sure you stay within your calorie range.

I also feel you. I've had weeks of messing up and every day I started fresh saying 'today is the day I'm back on plan'. And days would go by before I actually went back on plan but every day I kept it in my mind what I needed to do. Of course those weeks did cost me in regards to regaining some pounds but even that was only minor.

This is a journey we are all on and we all learn as we go. Don't beat yourself up if you do feel you mess up. It is just part of the process.

I also wholeheartedly agree with the idea of making small steps to a much larger change. Each small step you make adds up whether it is adding in exercise, adding more exercise, eating healthier foods, cutting out certain junk, etc.

02-22-2008, 05:26 PM
It isn't all or nothing. How could it be? You cannot possibly be perfect for the rest of your life. You need to forgive yourself for small slip ups.
The key is to not let the small slip ups turn into a week long binge and relapsing into old habits.
One bad meal (or even one bad day) won't cause you to gain that much weight, if at all.
It takes just as much practice to get back on the horse after a fall as it does to learn to ride in the first place. Same thing with eating - each time you slip up, take it as an opportunity to learn something about yourself. I think it does get easier over time, but it is never easy all together.

02-22-2008, 05:50 PM
Someone on this board once said something I found completely brilliant - if you break a plate, do you break ALL the plates?

02-22-2008, 06:12 PM
90% on plan works great for me - instead of feeling like a loser, I feel successful. I didn't used to like myself very much and now I think I'm pretty awesome.

I was skimming through some text files someone sent me today and read almost the same thing. It was about the fact that most people can't be perfect 100% of the time, so aim for 90%. That the difference between 90% adherence to your nutrition plan and 100% was negligible.

It's something to think about (as I'm going to a restaurant for dinner tonight - yikes.)

02-23-2008, 12:02 PM
I got down to 229 in 2006, and gained all the weight back plus some due to "all or nothing" thinking.

Avoiding that trap is one of my main goals this time around. Thanks for posting on this issue!

02-23-2008, 12:22 PM
I keep the junk out of the house. DH has some junk but keeps it in a different cabinet. Kids have a bit of junk but it's stuff I don't like.

I count calories, no matter what. If I go over, I am careful to stay under for at least a week after.

I just tell myself I have to do this regardless of how I feel about it.

02-23-2008, 12:43 PM
I agree with what has been posted. It is our behaviors *most* of the time that effect our weight loss efforts. I am NOT perfect. I am so far from perfect it is not even funny! We are all human and need to cut ourselves some slack.

This past week, I was *mostly* on plan. My breakfasts, snacks, and lunches were very planned. I exercised most days. Two days I was too tired and busy. One night we were invited to McDonald's by my MIL to spend time with my nephews. I ate a cheeseburger and small fries. Was McDonalds planned, healthy, or even remotely good for me? Heck no! But I have lost 2.5 pounds this week.

Blips in the grand scheme of things are not what wrecks us. They are just speedbumps---not cliffs. Just keep going and they will be long gone in your rear view mirror. You cannot control the past. You can only control your next move.

Good luck!!

traci in training
02-23-2008, 12:56 PM
Really great post, Glory. I agree 100%. 90% of the time is an awesome goal. I'm also big on the "is it worth my calories?" question. Not wasting my calories on bad fast food, etc.

02-23-2008, 01:27 PM
I take each day one-at-a-time. As I start to "collect" more on-plan days than off-plan days, I see the scale start to move down and the inches start to come off my body. This keeps me going for more on-plan days. Three steps forward and one step back is still forward progress. Just keep building on your past successes and more will come.

better health3
02-23-2008, 06:08 PM
Thank you for the replies. I sincerely appreciate it. I want this to be the last time I do this and get into maintenance, which is still the same thing minus the weight and feeling much better. I guess it is a good test of what to expect more of down the line.

02-23-2008, 06:28 PM
One thing that keeps me going is to look at every little loss as a success. I lost 1.8 pounds this week? Awesome. I lost .4 pounds this week? Awesome. Much of it is your mentality. I've worked hard to shed these thirty pounds. I don't want to go back to where I was 30 pounds ago. That's definitely what keeps me going (and keeps me away from the vending machine at work!)

02-23-2008, 10:05 PM
The all or nothing way of thinking is how I have stepped into every diet I have ever done. I've managed to change my way of thinking as I was once anoerexic and had an addiction to over-exercising. This destroyed my knees and my desire to be tiny as I could no longer workout 5-6 hours a day. So here I am, trying to lose once again, but in a healthy way. Food is my issue as I have realized over the last year that I have a serious addiction to food. Now if I mess up once, then I start to think that I've messed everything up. Sounds like we both need to work on trying to think positive... keep posting and letting us know how you're doing, we can counsel each other through the hard times!

02-24-2008, 02:26 PM
That is exactly what I struggle with too. I think when I eat one thing/meal that's not on plan that the day is pretty much done for, but that leads into a bad day, then a bad week. That is something I'm trying to change this time. Glory, your post was very helpful. Puts things in perspective. Thank you. :)

02-24-2008, 04:03 PM
I ate a cheeseburger and small fries. Was McDonalds planned, healthy, or even remotely good for me? Heck no!
You know this struck me ... because it's been part of my struggle and something I've gradually changed my thinking about.

Is the above meal healthy? No, not at all. BUT. Previously I would have gone into McD's and ordered a 1/4 Pounder with extra cheese, and super-size those fries, please. Now I can, if I have to, go into McD and eat a plain hamburger and a small order of fries. I can even often do without the fries or sub one of their new fruit cup side orders.

And for me, THAT is progress. That is something to feel positive about. So instead of beating myself up over eating at McD's, I rejoice in the fact that I can make wise choices there. And then I can go home and say, ok, I consumed 600 calories at lunch, so I need to be more healthy for dinner .. double the veggies, don't eat the potato. That kind of thing.

I know that doesn't work for everyone, but it is something to think about if y they want to break away from the "all or nothing" mentality. I'm certainly not saying you should eat at McD's every day and feel *good* about it! :) But it is progress of a kind to not want to walk into the place and order one of everything on the menu board.