Are you the type of person who eats healthy Monday to Friday, then Friday night comes around, and you start your weekend binge? I used to be like that and was so tired to have to start over and over every Monday. I felt so discouraged and hopeless because I was unable to meet my goals.
That is until I decided to make five little changes in my life that made huge impact. I will share them with you here, in case you feel you need some help.
1. Take ‘perfect’ off the table: Trying to be perfect is a waste of time. Nobody is perfect, so why was I trying so hard to stick to a clean diet that I would not be able to keep up in the long run? I decided to change this and instead of aiming for perfection by trying to eat extremely clean during the weekdays, now I strive to eat ‘good enough’. By ‘good enough’ I mean eating clean but if I don’t feel like eating chicken and veggies, I have a burger with only one bun and that is ‘good enough’ for me.
2. Let go of food rules: This is sometimes difficult to realize but most people unconsciously set food rules that set themselves up for failure. For instance, one of my food rules are: “Do not eat carbohydrates at night.” and what do you think I ended up doing every Friday? Binging on a jar of Nutella or eating a bunch of French fries. It was so easy to feel like a failure with these rules so I had to adjust my thought process: What if, I don’t have any extreme all-or-nothing rules and eat like a conscious person? So, I decided to ditch the rules and let hunger lead. So I challenge you to be mindful of your hunger and satiety cues, eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. I assure you, you do not need to set rules.
3.Get rid of cheat days: Weekly cheat days for most people just don’t work because the rest of the week means purgatory. Why do we want to suffer? So we can have a “cheat day” and feel miserable afterwards. You know what I am talking about! Also, we don’t need to cheat because choosing deliberately to be unhealthy is not thriving. What and when you eat is up to you no matter what day of the week it is. Take responsibility and choose to thrive.
4.Stop rationalizing your decisions: my best excuses were holidays, vacations, birthdays, work meetings, hard workouts, feeling tired or sad — just to name a few. So I stopped rationalizing my choices and began acknowledging the consequences! You can do it, too: it’s your call. Ask yourself: why am I overeating? Is it just because I am at a work meeting? Or is it that I am stressed, bored, overwhelmed, excited, happy? What emotion is underlying the binging behavior? If you practice this often, you will learn to catch the emotion and, hopefully, avoid the overeating. Be aware of your decisions and don’t wish, DO. Take action because knowledge without action means nothing.
5.There is no perfect time: stop waiting for the perfect time to eat clean, to eat healthy, to thrive. It is right here and right now! Apply that philosophy, get rid of those dreadful Mondays and put an end to that cyclical behavior and strive to learn and move forward.
Up for a challenge? I challenge you to ask yourself how your overeating is going. If what you’re doing works for you, that is great! Keep it up! If not, then ask yourself what it is doing for you. What purpose does it serve? To me, overeating was an attempt to self-medicate the stress of the week away. If you find the underlying reason to your overeating, you will be able to focus your attention on resolving the real issue, instead of adding another to your life.