An Excuse to Eat

You should hear the kind of rationalization that goes on in my head sometimes. You may read my blog and think I have this weight loss and maintenance thing down! Most of the time I do. But I’m not perfect and I can be just as bad as the next guy who struggles with their weight. Trust me.

One example I can give comes from the time period where I was trying to lose weight. I was probably at 60-70 pounds lost so far and not far from reaching my goal weight. I don’t know what was really going on during this time period that triggered this but I went through a phase of midnight eating. I’m not proud of it. I’m glad I lived alone at the time so I didn’t have to justify to my partner why I was stuffing my face with rice krispie treats at 1 a.m. but maybe that would have been a deterrent. Anyway, I went through this phase and for some reason THOSE CALORIES DIDN’T COUNT. Don’t ask me how I rationalized that. For some reason, anything I ate between midnight and 2 a.m. didn’t count and I didn’t record it in my food journal. Totally bad. I was sabotaging myself (and this is probably one of the reasons I had such a long plateau around this weight).

Think about the last time you ate something and didn’t lot it in your food journal. Why didn’t it “count” for you?

Justified

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when I use the word justified?

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Sorry, I’m not talking about Raylon Givens when I used the word “justified.”  I’m talking about all those times we ate something that self-sabotaged our progress and justified our reason for doing so. I am not immune to this! I do it all the time. When I’m cooking dinner with Michael and I nibble and snack and bite on random things while we cook. I’m much better now at including those calories because you BET they count!

“I ran an extra mile today.”

“Work sucked today.”

“I’ve eaten so good all week long!” <–So why don’t we KEEP eating good?!?!

“Swimming in the pool actually burns MORE calories than I think it does because of the temperature!”

The list can go on and on and on as to why we make allowances for the extra snacking. The question to ask ourselves is this: why am I keeping myself from being successful? That damn handful of Reeses’s Pieces don’t taste nearly as good for the 20 seconds I’ll eat them, as reaching my goal will feel!

Entitled

I think this is the biggest trap we all fall into and I think a lot of it has to do with our culture and rituals as a family. How many times have you felt entitled to eat? What I mean by this is the Christmas cookies, the pumpkin pie and extra stuffing at Thanksgiving, the chocolate on Valentine’s Day…what about Superbowl? Or the 4th of July? There are excuses year round we can use to make ourselves feel entitled to overeating.

Check out this post: Emotional Eating: Do You Feel Entitled to Eat? Emotional eating opens up a whole bigger can of worms.

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It’s a vicious cycle. I can’t tell you how many times I got sucked into this cycle when I was a binge eater. Eating half a pizza by myself followed with a carton of ice cream and then wondering why I feel sick and miserable…only to feel even more discouraged and disgusted with myself which leads to more comfort eating.

BREAK THE CYCLE! Instead of focusing on the foods I couldn’t eat or beating myself up for mistakes I made, I focused on my goal and my timeline and I changed my thinking to the positive: I CAN DO THIS. I can lose weight. I can resist the temptation of junk food. I KNOW I CAN. I said it over and over until I believed it and it got easier to resist the junk food.

I’ll Start on Monday

I have a friend that falls into this category. For as long as I’ve known her, she’s been starting a new diet on Monday. As a result of this, she often binges before the diet starts. This is a hard habit to get into because not only does it imply that we’ll be starting a super restrictive diet that we’re most likely going to fail at, we’re probably packing on extra pounds before we even start!

What worked for me to stop this mentality was to realize that I was not on a diet, I was changing my life and creating a new lifestyle. This wasn’t temporary and I wasn’t looking for a quick fix. I was changing EVERYTHING. That helped me stay “on the wagon” when I was tempted to fall off and just start over again. And you know what? Once I started losing a lot of weight, I realized that I had worked really really hard for that success and I didn’t want to mess up and fail! I wanted to keep moving forward.

Don’t wait til Monday. Start today. You’re worth it!

Change

Why not have the reason to eat be “I’m hungry”?

Simple, isn’t it? It’s a hard thing to retrain our minds to listen to what our bodies are telling us. What helped me was eating more whole, natural foods. Also, running and biking helped me look at food as FUEL. Once I changed my mindset to wanting to eat the RIGHT fuel for my body to succeed in athletics, it became super easy to recognize the right signals.

It’s not going to become easy overnight, and it will certainly be something you have to work at. But isn’t it worth it? I thought it was!

QUESTION: Do you make excuses for your eating?

14 Responses

  1. Excellent post! this really reminds me of the show extreme makeover weight lost editon, expecially last nights episode. I really wonder if I need to talk to someone in regards to getting over hurdles with my weight and realizing i can do it. Love reading your posts!!

  2. YES, I do remember sabotaging myself quite a bit. To your point – living with someone does deter you from sneaking snacks…but only when they’re home. And they aren’t always home, so I’d find myself eating EVERYthing whenever my husband worked late.

    I don’t remember making many excuses, though. My internal dialogues were more guilt-ridden and less rationalizing. It was a lot more “You suck, this sucks” and less “Oh, it’s okay because ______.”

    I’m also VERY susceptible to the entitlement/celebration trick. It’s Christmas! It’s my MIL’s special pie! I got a promotion! Which is fine…so long as special occasions don’t turn into everyday occasions.
    Alex @ Brain, Body, Because recently posted..Blogger Meetup, Intuitive Eating Book Review

    1. “so long as special occasions don’t turn into everyday occasions.” <---YES! That's the key! As long as it doesn't become a habit every day, it's usually ok! You make another good point. When the spouse/partner is away...yes, sometimes the old habits can come back. No one is there to know. And I, too, did the self-shaming thing. I wish I could say I didn't beat myself up and say negative things...but I do.

    1. That’s an excellent point and one I’m trying to take note of too. I don’t WANT to be tied to my workouts, or have to extend them. I need to be smarter about my food.

  3. I am guilty of these excuses! Big time! I love this posting, it is so true, food should be thought of as fuel and when I am doing my best that is exactly how it feels. Plus the more junk you eat the harder it is to workout simply because you feel like crap from the horrible food. I am currently going through a HUGE diet clean up right now and I struggle with just wanting to eat whatever I want on a daily basis, I am glad it gets easier!
    K @ Finding a skinnier me recently posted..The beauty in nature…

  4. Hi Lisa – I’ve probably done and said all those things in the past. Now my new excuses go something like this…sorry, I’m allergic…no thanks, I’m diabetic…I know it’s sugar free, but my doctor said no. But then someone offers Moose Drool…Helz YES!
    Marc recently posted..Pre race jitters – maybe

  5. “Justified,” to my rational self means “a decision based on weighing all factors.” In reality, of course, it is more of a synonym for “excuse.”

    The problem of course is that irrational justification shows its ugly on payday; the pool won’t have burned that many calories, another Monday will have come and gone. The only solution to this is, in my opinion, taking a long, hard look at one’s self and taking stock of where we really are. That then either results in a moment of revelation, like you experienced, or the comfort of making excuses still outweighs the impetus for true change.
    evilcyber recently posted..The Barbell Row For General Back Training

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