I deserve to gain weight and feel bad about myself

I deserve to gain weight and feel bad about myself

“I deserve it.”

I frequently hear this reason offered for over-eating, over-drinking or zoning out in front of the television. And all I can think is “Really? Is that really what you deserve?”

Let’s look at it another way. Would you say:

“I deserve to keep gaining weight and feeling bad about myself.”

“I deserve to sleep poorly and wake up feeling groggy and slightly hung over.”

“I deserve to zone out and ignore my real needs.”

In all seriousness, we have to look at it that way. People sabotage themselves with that argument, justifying negative behaviors that keep them stuck and not achieving their health and weight loss goals. It’s ridiculous, but it’s been ingrained into many of us.

Photo by Jamie Matociños on Unsplash

Remember the decades-old McDonald’s ad: “You deserve a break today.” Would you ever say to yourself, “I deserve cheap, sub-par, nutritionally questionable food today?”

I think what we really mean when we say “I deserve it” might be closer to:

“I’ve had a long day and I’m tired.”

“I’m feeling overwhelmed with the challenges at work/home.”

“I don’t have much fun or enjoyment in my life right now.”

And if that’s the case, I want you to know that you deserve much better than over-eating, over-drinking or zoning out in front of the TV. I believe that most people deserve far more than they settle for. So, what does that look like? Ask yourself the following questions to determine what self-care would be for you in these situations:

“What small thing have I wanted to do, but haven’t taken the time to do?”

“What small step could I take to nurture an important relationship rather than surfing the web?”

“How can I best care for myself in this moment?”

When you ask yourself these kinds of questions, your brain will seek empowering answers. You may decide to call a friend or family member for a short chat. Or play a game with your kids or spouse. You might take a soak, read a book, drink some tea…keep digging and discover what truly rejuvenates and comforts you when you’re exhausted at the end of a long day, or when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

If you identify and take steps that nourish you, you’re more likely to avoid sabotaging behaviors and engage in ones that are positive. Ones that get you a better result.

Are You Hungry?

Two weeks ago, I ran into someone at a conference whom I hadn’t seen in sometime. When I asked how she was doing, she said everything was going well but she’d like to lose 10lb., as she turned her gaze towards the requisite pastry that’s served at conferences and meetings around the country.
If you’ve been connected to my stuff for a while you might guess what I asked:
“Are you hungry?”
Avoiding the question, she responded that it was difficult not to eat it when everyone at her table was eating it. Her reaction is quite common.

Photo by Vincenzo Giove on Pexels

If you’re somewhere that food is being served, is it uncomfortable not to eat? Do you feel left out? Deprived? Could be any number of reasons. That’s why I encourage my clients to have a game plan for keeping to their health and weight loss goals while eating out:

  1. Be intentional: Why are you at this particular event? Is it to learn, connect with people or simply have fun? Let that be your focus and have food and drink be ancillary to the main show.
  2. Be prepared: If you know there’s going to be food, arrange to be at least moderately hungry. “Save room” as is said. And bring a portable snack with you in case there’s nothing you want to eat so as to avoid being famished.
  3. Be picky: Not all food is equal. I find many foods served at meetings and conferences are fine, but not spectacular. Even at parties, select your favorites and leave the rest.
  4. Be still: Once you’ve had enough and feel satiated, the lure of more food can derail your goals. Sit with the tension and know it will pass. Congratulate yourself afterwards for respecting fullness and sticking with your goals.
  5. Be kind: On the occasion you do overeat, it’s unhelpful to berate yourself or let one slip up define you as lacking in willpower. Forgive yourself, learn from it and commit to do better next time.

Remember that good food is around the next corner. In the moment it’s easy to get caught up in what’s right before us but the truth is, we have access to delicious food 24/7. And, a “no” to what’s in front of you is ultimately a “yes” to something else more important.
So, if eating out often interferes with your goals, try these five steps. Start with being intentional – that’s the foundation – and let the others flow from there.


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