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?