The things I didn’t do

I just got back from a run today and I was thinking about why I often post about my exercise sessions, but I rarely post about the aspect of weight management that I find WAY more important, diet. It’s true – in the weight management formula we all know and love, you know, the old “diet and exercise”, I consider exercise to be a “nice to have” and diet to be the heavy lifter part of the equation.

But it’s so much more natural to talk about the things we actively DO, not the things we DON’T do. In fact, it’s so ingrained in human nature that we start to put more emphasis on the things we do to the point where it’s easy to forget (or never know) that in this particular scenario, it’s not the biggest bang for your buck.

So many times I encounter people (and I’ve certainly been guilty of this myself in the past!) who say, “I’m going to lose some weight – I signed up at the gym!” And I hope like crazy that they’re saying that because saying, “I’m about to start a diet” is often a loaded statement that’s not worth the argument that frequently ensues with busy-bodies as to which plan is the best. (My answer: the best one is the one that you’ll stick to, end of story) But regularly I find it’s not the case. We all, as humans, want to feel like we’re in control and one way we feel in control to to actively do something – to take solid, unambiguous steps we must put on our shoes and DO SOMETHING. Sometimes it even seems like we’re doing EVEN MORE if it’s something we don’t like.

I fear that it sets one up for failure. If all I’m doing to manage my weight is exercise, I will see so little result, and so slowly, that I will become discouraged and give up, particularly if the exercise I’m doing isn’t something I enjoy. Because in this one realm of accomplishment, it’s not the things I do that will make the biggest difference, it’s the things I don’t do.

Because wow, posting about the dessert I didn’t eat, and the candy bar I didn’t devour, or the basket of bread I didn’t demolish at dinner? Doesn’t really feel like much to write home about, not much of an accomplishment. But in weight management those are the things that are actually making a bigger difference on the goal. So instead, take a moment to congratulate yourself for what you didn’t do today that you might have done before weight management was important to you.


6 Responses to “The things I didn’t do”

  1. Karen Williams Says:

    Posting about the things you didn’t do is probably the most encouraging. Even though I know the right behaviors I don’t always do them, and having the positive reinforced, such as knowing other people don’t eat the spare chocolates or have the dessert is very helpful. (But yes, I did eat the cake yesterday. It was my wedding cake, after all.)

    • Laina Says:

      I sure hope you did! I’m pretty sure there’s a rule about never skipping your own wedding cake! You were radiant yesterday, btw. So wonderful!


  2. Yoko Says:

    I have never been successful at a diet – I think it’s because the very word implies that I am depriving myself of all the things I like. But I HAVE been quite successful at changing my eating plan for the rest of my life. And that is attainable and has worked since November. I am now at 31 pounds down and it feels good. Yes, I too, eat cake sometimes and ice cream too. But, I know exactly what to do for the next few days so that I won’t cry when I read the scale next. Reading what you do encourages me because you have to work so hard at it. It never stops, does it? If YOU can do it, so can I… that’s what I tell myself every time I get discouraged and want to just pig out completely and ruin everything.

    I love knowing that you didn’t do the very things that I want to do. The one thing that helps me is what Masae said to me once. She said, “It will be there tomorrow. There will be donuts tomorrow and the next day. They will be there when you have enough weight lost that you can afford a donut now and then. So, while you are trying to lose the weight, just remember, don’t eat it, it will all be there after you are done dropping the weight.”

    That goes for everything EXCEPT wedding cake. THAT needs to be eaten by all who celebrate! Congrats Karen!!!! I loved all the photos and seeing Laina and Cathyn look so good too. I’m raising my coffee cup to you two, Karen! Happiness, long life, and good health to you both!

    • Laina Says:

      Wow Yoko – you’re down 31 pounds?! That’s fantastic! Great work. You are so inspiring! And Masae is right on – I use that one a lot myself. “I know what a donut tastes like, and I can have it tomorrow or later if I want to…”

      You’re right it never stops, but you can get out in front of it so that you can pause occasionally and enjoy yourself without worrying. 🙂


  3. Cathy Says:

    In the 90’s there was a lady, with 6 kids, who wrote the Tightwad Gazette, about saving money. And she said how unexciting it was to “show” how they lived. C’mon let’s get in the car and drive past the McDonalds without stopping! It was all about what you didn’t do.

  4. Princess Dieter Says:

    I pretty much stopped taking my food pics (with rare exceptions, like when I eat out somewhere), cause I eat pretty much teh same stuff week in and week out. It’s boring. 😀 Unless it’s a holiday or birthday or something, I pretty much eat identical meals throughout the week, variations of protein/fruit/veggies….and I’m not gourmet, so it’snot like I’m jazzing it up all fancy.

    So, why keep showing my same meals? ; )

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