Friday, August 22, 2003
Bad Day Blues
posted by Julie |
Okay, so you did it. The day started out badly, too frantic. You overslept, didn't jog or do your situps, the kids' lunches aren't ready. So you skipped your own breakfast, eating Junior's Ho-Hos while quickly stuffing his lunch sack, and his back pack, and tracking down his shoes, hurrying the dog outside and back in, and checking schedules, and laying groundwork for the evening meal and grabbing the shopping list, and dropping or losing your keys. Twice.
Your significant other is worried about the cat. The cat doesn't seem well. Can you squeeze a vet appointment into this day?
After spilling coffee on yourself and having to go back in the house to change and not finding matching socks or ripping your hose, you finally getting out the door late, late, late.
You had no breakfast (HoHos are not breakfast), you didn't pack a lunch, you're strung out on coffee, freaked out about your mismatched socks, notice your nose hairs need trimming, and you arrive at work to be faced with donuts, pizza, the candy bowl, the vending machines.
You have a very bad day. You've blown your diet. You didn't work out.
Now you hate yourself. ("Oh you! Look what you did!" "You blew it.") The inner whining commences.
You're pretty sure you deserve to be fat. You know now you'll never be fit. Or happy. What's the use? Why bother? Other people have the grace and aplomb to take a planned and steady course through a weight loss program. Other people can have washboard abs, buns of steel. But not you. There's no way you're cut out for this.
Well, wrong, duckie.
On these days, remember that these days happen to everybody. Just everybody. The only difference between the people who succeed in weight loss and the people who don't is not the absence of these days but the way they react to them. I recommend any or a combination of these approaches:
*Laugh. It's good to laugh. The frantic scenes are pretty funny if you view them from the right angle, at the right moment. Usually that moment is later, rather than sooner.
*Resist all urges to berate yourself. That was a stressful day, behind you. And now you have a new day ahead of you. Figure out how to make the next day less stressful. Do you need to prep the night before? Get up earlier? Delegate more? Make sure you have healthier choices at the office?
*Practice saying, "Oh well." Practice shrugging and moving on. Learn to shake it off quickly. Do not dwell.
*Don't be tempted to starve through the next day, or to over exercise. You might cut back your calories a little tiny bit over the next few days, and add one more workout, but don't go nuts, or you might trigger a cycle of overeating or eating the wrong things that will hurt you and your weight loss efforts in the long run.
*Hop on the boards or on the phone and talk it out with supportive friends. It helps to be reminded just how common this experience is. But don't pull your friend into a pity party. Encourage one another to put these days behind you.
*Pull out your journal and make a plan for things you will do to avoid these situations in the future. Write about how you felt and why you felt that way, and what might have led up to it, and how you'd like to try to diffuse things next time.
*Breathe. Find a quiet room, or just pull off the road before you arrive home tonight, in a safe spot, of course. Close your eyes, and breathe. Think about how hard you've worked to eat well and exercise. Ease your shoulders down, breathe the frown lines away, promise yourself a better day ahead.
*Take a bath, or soak in a tub, or sit in a sauna, or steam awhile. Feel the warmth take over your whole body. Warmth can do wonders.
*If the stress doesn't look like it will go away soon, get help from family and friends. Make deals to cover them during their stressful times if they'll cover you now.
*Slow down by cutting down on the number of extracurricular activites you and your kids do. Let your kids help you get the groceries, make the dinner, get exercise instead.
If you find that you experience these days more than once a week, consider finding a dieting group or counselor to work with who can give you more ideas and support for managing the stresses in your life.
Remember, changing your eating and exercise habits isn't easy. It just isn't. If you expect it to be, you'll be kidding yourself. So respect that it's hard and that once in awhile, it's going to whoop you. But not in the long run.
Reducing Stress Eating
You're Not Alone
Hints for Better Mornings
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