I’ve said before that I’m an all-or-nothing kind of dieter – either I’m fully focused, no distractions, head-down, full-speed-ahead, or I’m not losing weight. It’s part of why strict diet programs work so well for me – no distractions, no decisions, just do what I need to do and it works. This leads to remarkable success on such programs, which is excellent, but it has a downside. Can you see what it is? Once I’m off such a program it’s extremely hard to be so focused because what I need to do isn’t nearly so clear-cut, and it has no discernible end. I like the simplicity of a strict program for loss, and I’m somewhat uncomfortable with the nebulous nature of having to figure out what to eat on my own. I can do it, and have done it, but it takes more effort and concentration.
So I thought that today I’d share some of the tools I use to stay focused when on a program like the one I’m currently on, since it’s on my mind.
1. Mindset: Great as it might be to taste something off-program, I know it won’t serve my long-range goals to do it. I also know, based on past dieting experience, that it’s a very, very slippery slope, and I’m really afraid to even start down that path. So it’s just easier for me to stick to program food and not have the guilt and negative feelings that I know would come with straying.
2. Failure avoidance: I would consider it a failure to stray and eat off program, having worked this hard and come so far. I hold myself to a high standard of conduct and success in my personal life and this is no different.
3. Mental Scripts. When faced with a difficult food situation:
- I can have it when I’m done with the program (in moderation).
- Which is more important: a fleeting taste or seeing a good loss this week?
- This will pass, if I can just make it through an hour/20 minutes/a minute (however long).
- It’s not food for me. My body is getting all the nutrition I need already, it’s not necessary to eat this.
- My support team. If I eat this, I would have to explain why I cheated, which would be embarrassing.
- I’m having success! It’s not worth screwing it up for a (whatever is tempting me).
- This sort of food is why most people in America are overweight. Not worth it.
- I want to be get to my goal as quickly as I can!
- I know what that extremely tempting thing tastes like already – I don’t need to “taste” it. It will be there when I’m done.
- This program I’m on is expensive! Why would I sabotage myself when I’m paying so much? The only person that hurts is me.
Many of these scripts have also worked for me once in maintenance mode. It’s just a matter of remembering to use them when I need them. Which is why I have to write them down every so often to refresh my memory.
Do you have any that you like? What else motivates you to focus on your goals?