THAT’S REAL SNOW IN MY BACKGROUND! I know it kind of looks photoshopped. So pretty, right? I personally loooove snow. Since I’m from a place where we don’t get it all the time, I don’t get tired of it. This is the most snow we’ve had in 2 years and today I’m out enjoying it with my family.
I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about something that many of us struggle with that affects long-term weight maintenance to a great extent:
We tend to make decisions based on our current urges.
A lot of us make really good eating and lifestyle choices when every day and every week follow our usual routine.
But how do we look at things, during unusual or challenging situations, and make choices that will leave us feeling good?
He loves snow as much as I do! LOL
Many of us (including myself at times) fail at making good eating choices when placed in an unusual or difficult scenario, like when you’re out for dinner, at a party, on a vacation, or snowed in (like us right now) and you just want to indulge in your favorite comfort food.
And for the record, it's totally okay to indulge at times!
But there are also plenty of times when we need to be able to rein it in in order to maintain long term.
I want to talk a little about my own mental metamorphosis and maybe you’ll find little gems that can help you gradually adjust your own way of looking at things.
I used to not be able to make good eating or lifestyle decisions in the scenarios I mentioned. I still sometimes fail, but overall I win a majority of the time - which is what allows my maintenance.
Like I said already, this is not to say you can never indulge, I do on occasion, although since I have a history of sugar binge eating disorder, I have to be a little more strict with myself more than the average person.
Many of us fall prey to food cravings when something out of the ordinary occurs, like a social gathering or something major like a vacation and that brings us to doing another round of hCG because of a 5 or 10-pound gain.
The struggle in these scenarios is that we tend to give the most importance to the food aspect of the event. It becomes the most enjoyable part for us that we sometimes forget the other aspects, like the actual gathering or the vacation itself.
We can get so focused on the food that it overshadows our enjoyment of everything else. We think and feel that we have to eat in order for us to enjoy that setting. In the past, I did not have the self-control to remind myself that I would feel bad after eating something, that I would feel bloated, heavy, and gross.
We made some really good pancakes. Yum!
Over time, I really started to take notice of how I felt whenever I made the right choices for my body, in any given scenario. Now, I think to myself, I want that food but it won’t be worth it because I know what’s going to happen and how I will feel after.
As an example, normally I would go to CrossFit but the snow was making that not happen, AND c'mon - SNOW DAY - that means it's time to break out the games and pancake batter ingredients! So I made pancakes with my son this morning. Sometimes, when I make pancakes with him, I will eat a couple of them and it messes with my blood sugar and I end up feeling crummy after. I will actually feel less motivated to do anything and I would feel like eating more carby stuff. Today, I chose to make my son’s pancakes and I had just a couple of bites. I stopped myself at that because I’m feeling really good and I want to stay that way. Now if you don't feel crummy after eating a couple pancakes and you can stop after 2 and feel okay and eat clean the rest of the day, then it's FINE for you to eat them. I just knew for me where it leads so for me it was better to not.
Enjoy the little things in life. If you really pay attention, you'll realize there's so much to enjoy and appreciate that don't actually involve eating a bunch of food.
I love the snow so much and I’ve actually been waiting all winter hoping to get a big dump of snow like this so I did not want to ruin it by making a bad eating choice. I want to stay excited and keep feeling good and energetic. I still wanted to eat something so I had cauliflower and broccoli which I made into a mash with a little butter, a little half and half and some salt. I had a pretty good sized serving and it was really comforting.
And I know you might be like, "RAYZEL. Really? Mashed cauliflower in place of pancakes? Who are you kidding??"
Like I said, I DO indulge for real at times. But there are cases like this one where in order to feel good LATER, I knew the decision I had to make - which was to keep it clean in this case.
Plus you know what?
I got to make pancakes with my son today and got to give him the LEGO set I've been saving for a winter snow day!
When you stick to eating clean for a long period of time, you actually feel happier with simpler and healthier versions of comfort foods, like what I had. It was super easy to make and it truly was completely satisfying to me in the way I needed it to be. I had something that filled my need that did not make me feel awful later or make me need to do a correction day. Remember that you can almost always find healthier alternatives to your cravings.
And I have had some things like popcorn too during this snow period! But it's a matter of learning that I can't indulge every single time the urge hits me over this several day period. I must choose a few and the other times choose to eat something healthier (or not eat if I'm actually not hungry).
I take note whenever I make a decision that leads me to feeling horrible later on and good decisions that make me feel great and make me think this is what I want for my life.
If you are not at that point yet where you can make those good choices all the time that will make your weight maintenance smoother, that’s okay. It’s a gradual progression. You will gradually gain that self control and the more times you make the better choice, you reinforce that thought pattern. That is not to say you will never have to correct, I've had to correct at times too. I don't make the perfect decision every time, so don't let that moment of weakness deter you from making the healthier choice next time.
When you make a healthy choice, you’ll feel good when you start to notice the contrast between how you feel this time versus how you felt before when you simply surrendered to what you thought would be enjoyable at the moment. You are left happier and not worried about having to fix things later.
Take a moment to pause and assess yourself. Do you allow yourself to be powerless over your cravings or do you make the healthier choice and enjoy the healthy results afterwards?
Once you do that, you’ll shed light on all the other aspects of whatever scenario you’re in. The other aspects that bring you joy, whether it is socializing at a party or enjoying that leisurely walk on the beach while you’re on vacation.
If you pay attention to the moments when you make an eating choice where you may be restricting yourself a little bit in favor of feeling good later, take note of how that plays out. The next time you are in a challenging situation that’s off your routine, think about how you want yourself to feel in an hour, in 2 hours, in 3 hours, or tomorrow.
Then make your decision based on THAT. How you want to feel later, not now.
I hope that you find this post helpful. Anyway, I’m off snowshoeing with my family and taking more silly videos of my cat in the snow. 😀