It's nine a.m. I'm driving downtown on a rare errand and the city's best donut shop is just ahead. Beckoning. (900 calories for two.)
It's nine p.m. A box of Reeses Puffs calls from the pantry, and only whole milk is left in the house. (700 calories for two bowls.)
What can I do? Scream in frustration and stomp my feet like an angry two-year old that I can't eat whatever the heck I want and still get in shape? It's not fair!
Here are ten strategies to keep your eye on the ball (and your eye on a new pair of jeans that you deserve after weeks of daily training!):
1. Say to yourself aloud WHY you are choosing not to eat the cake. Have very specific health targets. Take an adult perspective: you are doing this for a healthy life, not as some punishment.
2. Remember, children do what they feel, but adults have a plan. Plan your cheat day. I am not against taste buds and cravings at all- but it's like shopping: you need to plan your purchases (food) and pay calorie cash up front. Plan your treat as a reward for your hard work.
3. Identify what the trigger is. Are you bored? Tired? Needing relaxation? Sad? In a social food situation? Become very aware and honest about your binges. Plan ahead for an alternate behavior.
4. Choose an alternate behavior and do it right away. Go walking, hit a fun class, do push ups, watch a Netflix workout DVD or do one at home, brush your teeth, scrub a floor, etc. This will give you personal power.
5. Thirst often masks itself as hunger. Drink water.
6. Choose alternative snacks and have them readily available. Tear into an apple, a green smoothie, peaches, frozen blueberries in vanilla soymilk, etc.
7. De-junk. Do a huge purge- get rid of the chips, cookies, candies and other fake foods that are robbing your health.
8. Call a friend and tell them you are being tempted- but not your co-dependent girlfriend who will tell you "Oh, you deserve it. Just give in." Surround yourself with people you admire, who live lives you want to emulate. Call them and they'll cheer you through it! You can even turn to your higher power for strength and patience.
9. Tell yourself positive affirmations. It sounds cheesy, but it's true behavioral science and it works. Say aloud and often things like "I have self control. I am in shape. I have discipline. I can wait two days for my cheat day. I'll eat that cake when I've burned the calories. I am worth it!"
10. Focus your attention on what you need to eat. I don't have time to wallow in what I can't eat because I'm trying to get all of my daily nutrients through food- and frankly, that is a lot of food. Did you get all of the colors in? Enough proteins?