Tonight, I had an individual bottle of wine. It took me an hour and a half to drink the 5 ounces, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I also didn’t feel one bit guilty. A big part of my weight loss efforts this time has been to not banish anything. I eat everything I did before. I just eat less than I did before. This has been the biggest secret to my current weight loss success. I drink the wine.
So many of us have left behind a broken path of failures when it comes to trying to lose weight. We start out so strong. We are so full of hope. We have our maps spread out in front of us and we use that bright new highlighter to outline the route we will take. Food diary or app. Check. Step tracker. Check. Protein shakes. Check. Gym membership. Check. List of foods we will never eat again. Check. We are prepared. We are ready. Our conscious minds are more than ready to get on the road.
Screech! That is the sound of our unconscious minds putting on the emergency brake. It had its hand hovering on the break throughout the list, but it was that last item that caused it to jerk the momentum car to a stop. We are naturally resistant to cutting things that make our more primal selves happy. Talking away the birthday cake or the Snickers bar away forever leaves a gaping hole in that happiness. Your conscious mind can’t see it yet because it is a little bit of distance away, but your unconscious self just threw up a huge roadblock.
Getting Around that Roadblock
The only way to keep your unconscious self from throwing up that roadblock is to make smaller, more gradual changes. When I started my journey this time, I didn’t limit anything I liked. I did this in two ways. First, I still ate the cake, but I made single serving cake mugs. I ate a fun-sized Snickers bar. I bought one Drumstick instead of a whole box. I used the tried and true method of not buying more than one of anything I had previously binged on. Second, and more importantly, I did not feel bad if I ate the whole candy bar. I love Root Beer Float bars. Those don’t come in individual portions, and sometimes I eat four in a row if I didn’t eat enough earlier in the day, or if I had a terrible day. Instead of beating myself up, I track it and forget it. By using these two methods, I have convinced my unconscious self that I am not destroying happiness. It does still throw up a speed bump every now and then, but I can handle a speed bump. My journey may have a rough moment going over the bump, but it does keep on going.
Allow Yourself the Things You Love
The most important part of this weight loss journey is to make yourself into a better version, not to make yourself miserable. I’m not going to tell you the journey will be a walk in the park, but you shouldn’t hate it so much you turn around and go back to your starting place. If you hate it that much, stop and see what you can change to make it less painful. I chose to not limit myself this time around, and although it did make my initial loss much less dramatic than other starts I’ve had, I have been able to continue much further down the path. Slow and steady wins the race. The tortoise is our mascot. Salute him with that glass of wine and leave your guilt in your dust.