Instant Gratification or Long Term Goal?

When I decided it was time to lose the weight, I set my mind on a goal I wanted to reach. 100 pounds was the goal but it was too big in my head. I felt overwhelmed and I couldn’t even picture what that would look like. Instead, I set a goal of 50 pounds. 50 didn’t seem as big and scary.

You can read more about my journey here, but to recap briefly: I started swimming a few days a week. Then, after a month I started working on the food portion of the process. This was definitely the tricky part. Food has always been my ISSUE. Binge eating, emotional eating, stress eating, food was what I turned to. Exercise was the much easier component for me–even though  I was out of shape and extremely slow in the pool.

So how did I manage to reach that first goal of losing 50 pounds when food was the enemy for me? Temptation was hard to resist! Clearly I hadn’t been resisting it if I’d gotten to 250 pounds.

Instant Gratification or Long Term Goal?

I’ve mentioned before that I started to look at food as math. If I ate 300 calories for breakfast, that meant I had 400 calories for lunch, 100 calories for a snack and then dinner was 600 calories and if I was lucky, I had some calories left over for dessert! Then it was a matter of “what could I eat that is 300 calories?” It was a puzzle and I had to move pieces around to make them all fit.

What helped me the most was this question I asked myself when faced with temptation: “Do I eat this NOW or do I focus on my long term goal?”

In the beginning of my weight loss quest I had the awesome momentum of seeing BIG LOSSES on the scale. Losing 5-8 pounds a week was such a motivating feeling. I was seeing progress, my efforts weren’t being wasted, I didn’t feel like I was slowly torturing myself by denying myself food because it was working. I was getting closer to my goal. This spurred me on, it made it so much easier to resist those donuts at work, or pizza with friends.

The closer I got to 150 pounds (my goal weight), the more motivated I was. “THIS WILL ACTUALLY BECOME A REALITY. Holy Shit. I might actually lose 100 pounds!” Of course those plateaus were speed bumps on the road to goal weight but I still managed to beat those.

What I’m trying to say is: how badly do you want to reach that goal? Whatever it is. Maybe you’re trying to lose 20 pounds, maybe 200, maybe you’re just trying to keep off the weight you already lost. Ask yourself what I asked myself constantly: “How badly do I want to reach my goal?”

Asking myself that question when faced with temptation helped me maneuver the pitfalls of weight loss. It wasn’t fool-proof. I was definitely guilty of nibbling, giving in to temptation, reverting back to some binge-habits temporarily, and living in the moment instead of thinking of my long term goal, but it worked pretty well!

QUESTION: Where do you stand on the instant gratification or long term goal topic? What has helped you?

10 Responses

  1. With weight loss – small successes create motivation to continue. For many people getting started seems to be the biggest obstacle. I know a lady that has been dieting for the past 30+ years. She starts every January with renewed enthusiasm and gusto. By March her enthusiasm for the long term is gone, and she lectures everyone about body acceptance and being happy in your own skin. Her cycle of past failures seems to predict her future outcomes. But her mind set is all wrong. She sees dieting as a life of salads and deprivation of her beloved junk foods. Something she doesn’t want to let go of. There is too much emotional attachment to her bakery aisle goodies, and fast food drive thru munchies. Food is her emotional friend. It comforts her. It’s not her physical friend. She has all kinds of obesity related health issues.
    Marc recently posted..Happy Monday

    1. Great example! This is exactly why I say it’s a LIFESTYLE CHANGE and not a diet. I do not deprive myself of ANYTHING I want. I just eat it within moderation. When we approach losing weight as a punishment, deny ourselves food and just eat salad, we’re setting ourselves up for failure. What I’ve done to change my life works. I ate pizza this weekend, drank some wine, last night I had 2 pieces of Halloween candy and I’m still maintaining the weight I lost. AND I don’t feel miserable because I’m depriving myself of things.

  2. Well hello there!

    I just found your blog today and have got to say that after reading your philosophy of weight loss and how you lost your weight that I wanted to stand up and shout “AMEN!” If you read my blog you’ll see that I’ve also lost a significant amount of weight by doing the exact same thing (diet + exercise) and I to am convinced that it’s the only way to lose weight and keep it off for the long haul.

    Looking forward to reading regularly 🙂

    1. I tried to leave a comment on your blog but wasn’t able to. Your transformation is AMAZING! You look wonderful and happy. You should be really proud of what you accomplished.

  3. This post hit home for me tonight–I’ve recently (four days ago, ha!) decided to get serious about losing 20 pounds in the next 4 to 6 months after waffling and complaining for a year. Right now temptation is a serious challenge, but YES the long term benefits will be worth it! THANK YOU.
    Hannahviolin recently posted..Coffee

    1. Perfect timing! I’m glad it spoke to you. Good for you making the decision to stop procrastinating and just do it–I know it’s hard, especially with the holidays coming up.

  4. I’m a fan of balance. Sometimes instant gratification feels good, and as long as it is only sometimes (like once every few weeks) I don’t see a problem with it. Last night I wanted ice cream and I had 500 calories worth. But I haven’t done that for over a month, and I won’t do it again for a while. Like I said, balance. I am lucky that I can get right back on track after something like that. I know it can cause a downward spiral in some.

    So my philosophy is to focus on the goal 99% of the time, but to allow that 1% for saying “stuff it!” and eating too much ice cream 🙂 It has worked for me so far. I have lost 15kg in 10 months, and I only have another 3kg to go.

  5. This is probably my favorite post! I have been using your “Do I eat it NOW or do I focus on my long term goal?” a LOT lately and it’s really helped me reframe me in moments when I am tempted by junk food/booze. Love it!!!
    Sara recently posted..3 Day Event or BUST!

    1. That’s so great that it’s helping you! I can’t stress enough how it helped me lose my weight. I was super focused on my goal and that made it much easier to resist the temptations.

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