We all hit stumbling blocks in life, both literally and figuratively. That said I think you have to ask – how often do you have to fall on your butt due to the same block before you’re just a numpty for not remembering to avoid it?
And that thought inspires today’s blog – dieting stumbling blocks. The same damn ones I fall for every time lol.
Well, actually this blog was inspired by two of the most recent ones I’ve come across. I’ll make those the first two on the list. These are all going to be my personal little hurdles but I’m willing to take a guess and say some if not all will be familiar to other people who’ve struggled with weight loss!
- Going away. Whether it’s on a business trip or a holiday it’s always a bit of an eating trap for me. To a certain extent that’s because I don’t have the same control of what food is available that I do in my daily routine. The most recent trip I took, for example, was a business trip where all meals were provided for us and we were in a country which much preferred meat and stodgy carbs to anything resembling a vegetable. I nearly cheered when one day actual greenery appeared on the menu. However I’d be dishonest if I didn’t admit that there is also a little switch in my head which seems to over-relax about my diet when I’m away, whether that’s wise or not.
- Alcohol. It’s empty calories and I know it, yet still… I am much better than I used to be though. I wouldn’t give it up entirely but I now do drink very rarely and usually only a glass. That and last night I inadvertently gave myself a nasty reminder than I cannot hold my drink like I used to. Today has served as a strong deterrent against ever forgetting again lol.
- Life. Some people when they’re busy and stressed will forget to eat or lose their appetite – I don’t. If anything food is a bit of a comfort and since controlling my eating takes a lot of active mental effort (fighting any ingrained habit does) it’s always the first thing to fall by the wayside when I’m in a tizzy.
- Willpower. Or rather I should say the limits of my willpower. Some of those lovely critical people I’ve previously talked about would sniffily say that it’s all just about willpower and discipline and fatties like us supposedly don’t have any. They would be wrong. I do have willpower and in various areas of my life I’m able to exercise a good deal of it. Still none of us has perfect willpower all the time and nobody’s an exception; we all have our weak spots. With food my willpower definitely waxes and wanes. For example – I’m pretty good at leaving things sitting unbought on the supermarket shelf. If somebody else brings them into the house and they’re sitting there ready and waiting, it’s harder. I have on more than one occasion spent a good couple of minutes having a mental argument with myself about whether or not I really want to eat something. Devil on one shoulder, angel on the other, and I’d say that the devil’s probably got the edge with a 60% score versus 40%. The devil does however get a lot of opportunities from the other stumbling blocks mentioned here, so he’s got something of an unfair advantage. Devils are sneaky like that.
- Being oblivious. Sometimes that’s to how calorific something I think is okay really is, but then (somewhat incredibly) sometimes I am just oblivious to the fact that I’m even eating that much or even at all. It’s almost mechanical. Common culprits include but are not limited to Pringles, Malteasers, biscuits and selection boxes. One habit change I made is that on the much less frequent occasions I allow myself a bit of ice cream I have to eat a portion in a bowl, not out of a tub, because perfectly hand-sized though Ben and Jerry’s or Haagen Dazs tubs may be they make what you’ve eaten look a lot less than it is (until that moment of horror when it suddenly becomes very clear you’ve polished off half a tub without realising).
- Friends. I love my friends, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes they’re not great for my eating habits. Nothing is more fun than getting together for a really good chat over a nice meal. Problem is that even if we’re not encouraging each other to “have a break, you deserve it” or “I’m feeling naughty” etc that we tend to sit and linger over meals or we’ll stop for coffee shop breaks that I wouldn’t have if on my own. It often involves more quantity getting consumed, even of healthier choices.
- Filling/finishing the plate. I still have the notion in my head that I need to fill a plate up or that I need to eat everything on it. I don’t. No matter what anybody says, if I only finish two thirds of my dish it is not going to make a jot of difference to starving children in Africa. It is senseless for me to overconsume for fear of waste. Uneaten food will go on the compost, overeaten food will go and sit on my already oversized gut. Which of those is really the worst option?
I could keep going, but you get the picture. There are plenty of occasions where I find it harder to keep up the good work. Thinking on them all I reckon the major theme is the sheer power of habit – things we do for no better reason than because we’re used to it. To my mind the key to working out better eating habits really is to tackle the old ones and replace them with the new and improved, but until those new and improved things become habit they have to be active choices. You have to make sure you’re stopping to make an actual decision about things which you previously did without even thinking about it, to consciously act instead of going on autopilot.
This is, as always, not to say that force of habit is equal to having a gun put against your head. We all still have agency over these things and nobody makes us do them. Heck, sometimes I do think it’s good for the soul and the dieting mindset to have that occasional treat rather than acting like food is the enemy or you can never have anything except salad ever again. Trick is to make sure it’s a treat and not the norm, which when you’re resetting a lifetime of bad relationship with food is perhaps more of a task than it might appear.
I do keep plugging away though. I’d say bad habits are still ahead but they’re starting to sweat a bit. Good are making a comeback charge :o)
Much love, Curvy Girl