What Do You Do When What You Do For Weight Loss Is Not Enough?
We have all been there. After a week of carefully measuring portions, keeping a food journal, and regular exercise, when weigh-in day comes around – nothing. No weight loss. Or maybe even a gain. This is one of the most discouraging moments of all. Where the only thing lost is motivation. The voices inside our heads start screaming at us: “Failure.” “See, even though you did everything right, you still didn’t lose.” “You may as well quit!” “You will never succeed.”
This is the moment of truth. The fork in the road. What do you do when what you do is not enough? Continue the journey, or count it as yet another failure, and follow the easy path of surrender? For the few seconds it takes to weigh and step off the scale, the battle within seems to rage. How absurdly unfair that all the hard work of the previous week counts for nothing. All the early mornings at the gym, all the pastries declined at the office. All the gallons of water consumed instead of the salted caramel mocha frappuccino drinks. All that – for what? Nothing.
Typical eating scenario
What now? It is so easy to submit to the voices, and pull into one of the many fast-food stores on the way home. A double cheeseburger and large fries would never taste so good right now, when we’re drowning in emotions and feeling hopeless. Might as well even go for the large chocolate shake, since we’re jumping ship anyhow.
Sitting in the drive-through, we are at our most vulnerable. Even up to the last second before placing the order, the conflict continues. I have found myself in that drive-through more times than I’d like to admit. Here’s the deal. The feeling of pure indulgence and instant gratification feels really good as the food is eaten. The burger and hot fries seem to explode with flavor, and the chewing process seems like heaven. The milkshake seems to caress every taste bud as it slides smoothly over the tongue and down the throat. Maybe ten minutes of bliss as we enjoy the food that we have denied ourselves for so long.
You know what happens next. More times than not, the voices start up again – reminding us that we have failed AGAIN. The same emotions that taunted us on the scale now confirm that we are indeed a failure. Furthermore, since we already blew it by going through the drive-through, we may as well just eat whatever we want for the rest of the week and ditch the healthy eating and exercise plan.
Was it worth it? The food tasted good, for sure, but was a few minutes of pleasure worth the days of guilt that we felt afterward? Was it worth having to start all over mentally and emotionally?
No. It is not worth it. The “instant” in instant gratification is just that. It lasts only for an instant, and then it is gone.
Change The Food Consuming Scenario
The scenario could have played out much differently. While there are few really healthy items available at fast-food establishments, there are certainly some choices that are better than others. A green salad, even though the calories are probably much higher than one you could make at home, is a far better choice than the double cheeseburger, large fries, and chocolate shake. It would take about the same time to eat as the other meal, and then the instant is over. But what a difference in the moments after!! What a huge feeling of accomplishment knowing that we made the better choice! Granted, the scale didn’t show a loss this week, but what a victory it is to overcome the temptation to blow it all for a few minutes of pleasure!! Whether we realize it or not, we are much stronger than the voices in our heads that lead us to a path of self-sabotage.
So what do you do when what you do is not enough? Keep on doing it!! One week is just one week. The lessons you need to learn sometimes have nothing to do with the numbers on the scale, rather the lessons you need to learn about yourself. Sure, the chocolate milkshake tastes sweet for a few minutes – but not nearly as sweet as the feeling of victory that lasts for days.