Let’s call them weight loss choices, not slips or cheating

chocolateIMG_2725Weight loss is like any other training. You have to be really strict for a while, and then it’s supposed to become a lifestyle as you keep the techniques that work best for you over the long term.

Some people say your first choice is making a commitment to losing weight. They acknowledge that you are likely to have “slips” and temptations to “cheat,” but it’s best to remember the million reasons you made that choice.

This kind of language doesn’t work very well for me.

Other people say your first choice is to make a commitment to becoming a healthier you – a happier you, a less-stressed you, a new you that comes closer to your health and wellness goals.

I prefer this statement of choice because it’s positive and much kinder. It will also take you farther down the path on the journey of weight loss. Here is how I learned that lesson.

After a hard weekend of long hours to meet a deadline at work, I gave myself a couple hours on Sunday evening to relax and watch, with totally shameless pleasure, Downton Abby. The cold rainy evening pulled my thoughts down a familiar road, “Hot chocolate milk would taste so good right now.”

A big gong went off in my head, and a screenshot of MyFitnessPal.com flashed in front of my eyes. Before disconnecting the umbilical to my computer, I entered everything I had eaten so far that day. I was already right at my calorie limit and even a small, low-fat hot chocolate would have put me 158 calories over.

Remember, I am still at the earliest stage of my training where my doctor told me to be on the strict side of dieting for three months.

[Robot voice]*Warning, decision point: imminent. *

Was it worth breaking training to satisfy this sudden memory of past (fattening) pleasure associated with a television show and a cold rainy evening? (Those are called food cues, by the way, and they can be powerfully subliminal.)

I decided I would get enough satisfaction from watching an enjoyable show and relaxing for a while, plus knowing that I kept with my discipline. Like I said before, it’s not forever. Three months is enough time to solidify my new lifestyle. I have faith in myself and in that fact.

You can learn more about our GoWoman weight management program, and please check out our newly launched website.

Please leave a comment below to tell us what has helped to move you farther down the weight loss path when those subliminal moments occur.

 Additional Resources

Limiting portion size is a pain in the neck

Starvation dieting is going too far, especially if you have a disability

Weight loss choices: Accept tools to make shopping, cooking easier

By Margaret A. Nosek, Ph.D.

4 thoughts on “Let’s call them weight loss choices, not slips or cheating

  • My fitness pal is a godsend it really makes the whole journey a lot easier. Like you said you can see exactly how many calories you can eat. I have those subliminal cues all the time. I’m a little bit ahead of you i managed to do a similar 3/4 month time frame weight loss and lost 55lbs which is on the quick side and i was very strict. You can definitely loosen up on how strict you are and get great results. I think many people fail because they impose too strict regulations on them selves for their diet. I personally kept away from chocolate the whole time. It’s far too addictive for me and I’d just rather cut it out completely.

    Having a substitute helps though. Instead of your hot chocolate try frozen blueberries with natural yogurt. It has 10% the calories as chocolate and tastes as good as ice cream. Seriously it was a game changer and i would eat it daily. Popcorn (slightly salty) is also another great low calorie treat. Anyway good luck with your weight loss journey. If you want to see my results go to amandasweightloss.com. Once again Good luck to you and your readers

  • Great article and helpful information. Thank you for sharing with us. Thank you so much.

  • I really like this idea of thinking of these moments as weight loss “choices.” I’ve been working hard to lose some weight myself (down almost twenty pounds!), and there are definitely those moments when you just have a crazy craving. But like you suggest, there are other things you can do (like Netflix!) to reward or distract yourself. You don’t have to give in to every impulse! Great article, thanks!

  • I’m going to try My Fitness Pal, I recently started keeping a journal of all that I consume throughout the day and I have been shocked at how many calories I consume, wow! I am 57 now and the weight just keeps coming on. I think I am at least 20 lbs overweight right now. Maybe fitness pal will help me focus. Nice article, thanks!


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