Be Optimistic and Realistic

disney-inspirational-life-quotes-Favim.com-956876“Don’t Worry, Be Happy”.  It’s a catchy tune, sure, but it’s not the best approach to success!  Overly optimistic thinking goes like this ” I went WAY over my calorie budget today, but I’ll get back on track tomorrow, somehow”.  While it’s helpful to assert good intentions (rather than beating yourself up) being vague about how you’ll recover isn’t helpful.  Thinking things will get better somehow, without having a plan to make it happen, can derail your weight loss efforts because we need to identify what needs to change and than set specific steps to change it.  So for instance the fix for going over your daily calorie budget could be to plan out your day for tomorrow. While most unhelpful thinking styles are negative (example beating yourself up) the don’t worry be happy style feels helpful and positive.  But it too can lead to feelings and actions or more often, inactions that undermine our journey.  Because it masquerades as something positive, this thinking style might demand a little practice and shift.

An example on how to manage this type of thinking was provided by the Weight Watchers Weekly on this subject.  It teaches you a way to “balance your thinking”.

  1. Identify your “don’t worry be happy” thought. (Example: I ate way more than I planned at my lunch date today. I’ll get back on track later.)
  2. Reality check it.  Ask yourself “what needs to happen to make this true?”  Use your answer to shift to a helpful thought that has one ot more back on track solutions. (example: If I make a plan, I will be able to get back on track later.  I could track what I ate.)
  3. Plan what you’ll do.  Choose one action from your ideas above that’s doable.  Make a specific plan for what you’ll do, when you’ll do it and who you’ll do it with (if anyone). (example: I’ll track what I ate at lunch during my 3pm break at my desk by myself.  That’ll help me see how many calories I’ve used and decide what to eat for dinner)

I’m a good one for this kind of thinking.  I am a big “don’t worry, be happy” thinker when it comes to my weight loss journey.  That’s why it’s ben so SLOW!  I’m always saying to myself “it’s ok tomorrow will be better” – spoiler alert- tomorrow is never better.  The action plan above is great and something I am going to give a try!

Scheduling Your Meals?

Planning when you’ll eat helps you manage hunger, avoid unplanned eating and make healthier choices.  


There’s a lot to be said for this.  If you have a scheduled healthy eating plan for the day, you’re definitely less likely to go off the rails and eat unplanned foods (and for most of us, that’s junk food- Am I right?).  A few years back i saw a nutritionist to help me in my weight loss efforts and that was the main sticking point to her whole program.  Eating breakfast as soon as you wake, then a snack a few hours later, then lunch, another snack, dinner and an optional snack in the evening if you needed something to tide you over until the morning.  Her schedule also included “food rules”, that I won’t go into all of them here, but one of them sticks with me today – which I still try to achieve (not nearly as much as I should) is no carbohydrates for dinner – proteins and veggies only.  Which makes sense if you really think about it.  Going to bed with a tummy full of carbs isn’t the best plan for weight loss.
Something that we rarely think about is there are two types of hunger:  Internal and External.  It’s vital for your weight loss efforts to be able to manage internal hunger, because when you’re internally hungry, you’ll eat just about anything and it raise your risk of external hunger.  the best way to manage internal hunger is to create an eating schedule that helps you from going long periods without eating.
So what’s internal and external hunger?  Here are some ways to recognize the differences:
What’s the trigger?
  • Internal – things inside your body.
  • External – outside forces, people, places, emotions, the sight of food, the smell of food.
Physical Sensations:
  • Internal – Growling stomach, slight lightheadedness and/or headache.
  • External – None
What you’ll eat:
  • Internal – Anything 
  • External – Specific food
Occurs:
  • Internal – Usually more than 4 hours after the last time you ate.
  • External – Usually less than 4 hours since you last ate.
Once you are able to recognize the difference between internal and external hunger, create and eating schedule to help you manage it.  Another good way to know, really quickly, if you are really hungry or if it’s your emotions (or any other from the list) – is what kind of food is going to satisfy you – will an apple fulfill your need for food or is it something super specific? (and for most it’s junk food)  
Scheduling your meals can also help in stopping yourself from overeating, because you are most likely planning your scheduled meals ahead of time.  When you meal plan you’re making better choices and creating a serving size for yourself.  You’re less likely to overeat when you’ve had something to “top off” your tummy all day long too.
Have you tried this?  Do you like it?  Any tips?

Escape Emotional Eating

Learn how to manage your feelings without food.

When you eat in response to an emotion, that is emotional eating.  It’s learned, not innate, response.  Think about it, have you ever felt the need for a big serving of pizza or your favorite comfort food?  I know I have.  I have so many triggers that send me right to food.  The biggest trigger for me is when I have an educational meeting for my son.  I have been attending these meetings for seven years and they never get easier.

I’m learning how to cope better when it comes to emotional eating.  I started attending Overeaters Anonymous meetings and I am currently working my way through the Twelve Steps, but every day is a new challenge.  Emotional eating can lead to ups and downs with your weight.  Especially if you feel guilty afterward – which then leads to more eating!  But when you learn to do something else in response to this emotion, you’re more likely to lose weight and maintain the loss.  Emotions are like waves.  They peak and then they subside.  At first, the food may feel comforting but ultimately eating isn’t helpful.  Accepting your emotions and finding a way to distract yourself from eating, can help you stay on track to reach your goals.

Some of the suggestions given in the Weight Watchers Weekly on this topic are to distract and engage.

  1. Call or text a friend.
  2. Dance to your favorite song.
  3. Clean out your closet or junk drawer.
  4. Read a magazine.
  5. Play a game on your phone. 
  6. Ride a bike or go for a walk.
  7. Toss a ball with your pet.
  8. Go on connect (or social media) for support.
  9. Watch your favorite TV show.
  10. Create your own idea _______________.
This is a tough one for so many people because most of us were brought up to comfort or reward ourselves with food.  Re-programming yourself is not an easy task.  It takes practice and a commitment to change.  It also takes support from those around you.  Which is sometimes the same people that have comforted you with food in the past.