‘Quit Effing Obsessing!’….3 Ways to Quit Your Diet Obsession

I was sitting in my office yesterday typing an email when I heard my text message alert go off.  It was my really good friend.  She wanted to know if I was available for happy hour and dinner later that night at Belair Cantina (a local Mexican place because Taco Tuesdays right?).  There was a time in my life where this would have been really problematic for me.  Why?  Because going out to dinner wouldn’t have really fit my meal plan for the day.  I would have already had my dinner planned. What if the restaurant didn’t have anything on the menu that would be acceptable for me to eat?

I would have sat in mental distress for a few minutes trying to figure out what I should do.  I mean I had options.  I could say I was busy but then again, I did want to catch up with my girlfriend.  I could say I already ate and just drink water (but who eats dinner before they meet up for dinner…at 5:30 pm mind you).  I could have suggested another restaurant that would have better accommodated my needs.  I could go, eat whatever I wanted, and then wallow in my guilt later.

But today, when I got the text, I didn’t need to contemplate it, weigh my options, or go online and check the menu first.  I simply texted back “Yes!”

In the past, there were times when I would actually pack meals to take with me everywhere to “stay on track.” I remember going to Wisconsin Dells (water park capital of the world) with my husband and his extended family for a family reunion.  Do you know I actually packed a lunch to eat?  And I took it inside the restaurant to eat while everyone else ordered food from the menu.  When I think back to that, I actually laugh.  I’m sure they thought I was completely nuts, but they were gracious enough not to mention it (to my face anyways LOL).

So what changed for me?  I stopped being so obsessive about every morsel of food I put in my mouth.  I realized that one less than perfect or ideal meal was not going to destroy my progress. I started enjoying life again.

Here are 3 steps that helped me make this mental shift:

1. Develop an Attitude of Gratitude.                                                                                                                                                                                                      

I know this might sound kind of hokey but hear me out.  I developed an attitude of gratitude and appreciation for my body.  I decided to be thankful for all the things my body was capable of instead of nit picking at myself.  I stopped the negative self-talk. “I’m not lean enough.” “My thighs are too big.”  “I look fat.”  You can choose your thoughts and I started choosing to think positive things about myself and focus on my strengths, not my weaknesses.  I decided a little self-love and body-esteem could and would take me a long way.  I could always be leaner, but being a little bit leaner wasn’t going to change who I was make or me a better person.

2.  Realize that one meal doesn’t make you fat.        

I always had this deep concern that if I didn’t stay on track, I would gain all the weight back.  That I would lose my senses and spiral out of control.  But when I stopped and thought about it logically, I didn’t gain weight because of a single meal.  I gained weight because of years of inactivity and poor eating choices.  I realized that the reverse is true as well.  I was now super active, trained hard, and ate well.  One off meal wasn’t going to suddenly make me gain a bunch of weight.  It wasn’t possible and my thinking was totally irrational.  Once this sunk in for me, I realized that I didn’t need to freak out about eating out during social events.  It wasn’t that big of a deal and most importantly, I still had control over what I was going to eat.  It likely wouldn’t be perfect but it could still be good.

3. Stop packing food to take to events.

I decided that I was done being the weirdo bringing my meals with me.  Here’s the thing, I wasn’t prepping for a physique show or cutting weight for a meet.  I was simply afraid to eat at restaurants because of fear it wouldn’t fit my macros.  Taking my meals to the Dells was a low point for me.  It was utterly ridiculous.  I was even going to sit in the car and eat by myself but my sister (who also happens to be my bff) felt bad for me and asked the restaurant if I could bring my food in.  It actually wasn’t this event that made me decide to stop.  But over time it just became exhausting, I hated it, and I felt like a slave to my diet.  One day I just decided I was done.  I was going to trust myself to eat at restaurants if I had a social event to attend and make the best decisions I could.  I’ll be honest, I made bad decisions sometimes but guess what? It doesn’t matter.  I just decided to do better next time.  Over time, it became easier and easier.

It was completely freeing and allowed me to start enjoying social events again without feeling angst about food.  So I went to dinner last night, made the best choices I could, and I had a blast catching up with my friend.

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So I know the question burning a hole in your brain.  What did I eat?  I ordered a taco salad (shredded chicken, cheese, corn, beans, and lettuce inside a tortilla bowl).  I asked the server to leave off the cheese and bring the dressing on the side.   Guess what?  When the salad came, it had cheese on it. I could have sent it back because they made it improperly, but I didn’t.  Why?  Because it’s not the end of the world.  I opted not to eat the tortilla bowl and enjoy my salad.  And you know what? It was delicious.  I totally enjoyed it, I was totally satisfied, and I enjoyed great conversation and quality time with my friend.

So the moral of the story?  Don’t let food take control of your life.  Eat mindfully, make good choices, and keep it moving.

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