As a habitual dieter (see Albert Einstein's definiton of insanity), I know the process of getting on the wagon, jumping off the wagon, completely forgetting there was ever a wagon to begin with, and shamefully running after the wagon when that mischevious muffin top appears.
We food addicts know the feeling of waking up one day, after months of behaving badly, and not being able to fit into those reliable jeans. For me, it was around May when all of my professional work clothes started looking like club clothes. Excuse my crassness, but when you can see your cellulite through your slacks...it MIGHT be time to start hitting the weights and veggies.
This "reawakening" is a vulnerable time in the habitual dieter's life and it comes in stages:
- Stage One - DENIAL - "The dryer shrunk my jeans! The dryer shrunk my jeans!! I wonder if Home Depot is having a sale?"
- Stage Two - SEEKING CONFIRMATION -"Baby, do I look fat in these jeans?"
- Stage Three - ANGER - "Eff these jeans!! They ain't never fit right anyways."
- Stage Four - ACCEPTANCE - "I knew they started making clothes smaller. It's a conspiracy. This 14 looks JUST like my size 8.
The key to starting and sticking with a weight loss plan is to avoid panicking, and focus on nurturing. Lack of nurturing your body, mind, and soul is what got you here to begin with.
Since I am an emotional eater, I've learned that I eat to avoid uncomfortable emotions. When I realize I am "fat" again, the emotions I face are shame, guilt, anger, depression. Ironically, those are the same emotions I was trying to avoid (via food and alcohol) to begin with.
Panic mode is a vulnerable time. Those hyperbolic weight loss commercials start looking increasingly appealing. I stock up on health magazines and covertly eye the diet pill aisle in Wal-Mart. I become obsessed with calories and measures. I start making self-deprecating fat jokes. Once again, it is something else to focus on than what I am truly feeling inside. This time I am trying not to transfer one compulsve habit to another.
Panic mode is when habitual dieter's fall for the gimmicks, looking for an easy and painless way to make the fat go away. Panic mode is when you start punishing yourself for failure with unreasonable eating and exercise habits.
I have a friend now who texted me this week that she lost 12 lbs. on the Master Cleanse diet. Now, I am happy for her weight loss, but I can't help but wonder how long that will last without implementing any lifestyle changes.
Unfortunately, when it comes to health, THERE IS NO EASY BUTTON. Consistency and longevity is key. I am trying to remind myself of this pearl as I continue on to the fourth week my 234,4343,324th "health program" and see minimal progress.