The screw it all mentality-the dieters downfall
It's a situation all dieters recognise. You've had a bad day or a bad week and you've got to the point where you're beyond caring. "Screw it all" you say (or something stronger) as you reach for the wine/cake/(insert vice here). Then that's it. You've broken your diet. You've come off plan. And now you're off plan you might as well come all the way off plan right? You've screwed up the diet so it's gone. All that hard work down the drain. There's nothing left to lose by eating or drinking more? Right?
I've had a few clients start to lose weight with me this week. As they start their journey I've told them all the same thing. They'll be bad days and challenging times, but whatever you do just don't adopt a 'screw it all' mentality (sometimes known as a 'sod it' or 'f*** it' mentality depending on the company you keep). Here's why:
According to Google, there are 131 calories in a cupcake or 123 calories in a glass of wine. If you are running a calorie deficit of say, 500 calories a day, your weight loss efforts are not lost by one 'slip'. You won't lose as much weight as you wanted and when you step on the scales that might be a bit disappointing. However, if you've stuck to your plan for the rest of time you will still lose weight. The worst case scenario is that you won't have gained. One slip does not destroy your diet. But I think you know that already.
So what's happening?
If you're honest, you'll accept that when you adopt a 'screw it all' mentality you're giving yourself permission to go off your plan. This is usually borne out of an emotion that you're feeling in a big way. Perhaps you've had a row with someone or maybe you've had a stressful meeting but there's usually something that triggers the slip. Instead of dealing with the issue you give yourself permission for a bit of short-term self-soothing and reach for the sugar, fat or alcohol.
When you think about that logically, it's a bit odd. If you have a stressful encounter with another person and they make you so angry that you reach for the chocolate, instead of telling them how badly they're behaving you do something destructive to your own body. They don't pay for their bad behaviour, you do and you walk around carrying the consequences with you wherever you go. How is that fair?
If there's been stress in your life and you cope by eating, you opt for a solution that puts strain on your body. The kind of foods you turn to are usually ones that make you feel heavy and sluggish. How does that help?
What can I do instead?
Wipe the slate clean: A more useful approach is to think of yourself as having a mental reset button. Draw a line under any overeating and remind yourself that every decision you make from this point forward is taking you a step closer to where you want to be.
Plan ahead: if you know in advance that you will be facing a situation where you are likely to go off your plan, such as a weekend away or holiday, decide how you are going to tackle it now. If you try and make a good decision in the moment you may regret the decision you make later. Would it be better to adjust your plan to something that you can stick to rather than beat yourself up later down the line?
Take responsibility: your choices are yours and so are your consequences so accept that if you eat more calories you will lose less weight or even gain. Don't beat yourself up, just accept the outcome of your choices and make choices that work for you.
Pay attention to your body: either deal with the issue that caused the slip in the first place or find a healthier coping mechanism. If you feel stressed how about running yourself a bath or give yourself permission to do something fun for 20 minutes. Not as immediately gratifying as chocolate I know, but they're not as regrettable either.
Ever had a screw it all mentality?
What methods do you use to overcome it?