I don't want to be perfect, just better...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Dealing with Temptation

I love food. I guess that is a given with me being over 300 pounds. However, I don't just love eating it. I love watching it on Food Network. I love seeing it in my inbox. 

Just today, I logged in and saw this --->

Have Mercy Betty Crocker! Don't tempt a sweet addicted food aholic with that yummy-ness. I realized that I need to modify the way I approach my food obsession.

So I am taking a bit of my own advice and avoiding unnecessary temptation. I never realized how much I surrounded myself with the image of food until I was checking my email.

I am cancelling all of my email subscriptions to Kraft Foods.com, Betty Crocker.com, The Prepared Pantry, Bisquick, Food Network, Pillsbury.com half a dozen more.

Hell, I even have to say good bye to Dunkin Donuts. Look at the temptation they sent to me. I pass Dunkin Donuts everyday on my way to work. I can get off the bus ten steps in front of their door.

I have not been doing as well as I want. I know I am committed to losing weight but I needed help dealing with temptation. I went searching for coping strategies and found this article on MedicineNet.com.

I am definitely using Number 6. I am drafting my survival script. I will post more on the actual script later. Number 4 and 5 has me reassessing who I tell about my weight loss goals. I am trying to deal constructively with my set backs and inability to move forward. I lost weight easily last year. I got under the magical 300 pound barrier so much easier than I am doing now. 

I am making more changes. I will keep going until I find the right combination that will help me lose. I am setting a firm long term goal of getting under 200 pounds. One of my  personal goals for 2010 was to drop four dress sizes. 

Read the article and let me know which of the seven you think are the most crucial. 

Here are some tips from Wilson and other experts.
1. Don't make food the focus
First off, Wilson advises renegotiating relationships that revolve around food.
"My grandmother used to fry a pound of bacon and a dozen eggs for me, give me half-gallons of ice cream, and we'd go to all-you-can-eat restaurants together," he tells WebMD. "When I told her I was committed to losing weight, I suggested exploring new ways we could connect.
We found that we both like gardening and going for walks, so that's what we did. She became willing to show that she loved me without using food."
2. Look for support in the right places
Further, experts say, you shouldn't set yourself up by looking for support in the wrong places. Remember that people do things for their own reasons, not for your reasons.
Maybe you have a mental image of your spouse going for walks with you in the evening, like other couples you've seen. He has a right to say "No," and you have a right to do what will make you fit. Walk with a neighbor, take an aerobics class or hire a personal trainer.
The same strategy applies to diet. Wouldn't it be sublime if co-workers swore off Krispy Kremes and walked a half hour at lunch, the kids begged you to buy broccoli at the store, and your mother offered nothing but kind encouragement?
Give up the fantasy. Instead, hook up with a friend who's as ready to change as you are and become diet buddies. Find a role model who's successfully lost weight and can help you past the rough spots. Enroll in a "Healthy Cooking" class. You've already made a huge step by joining WebMD Weight Loss Clinic. Be sure to check out our communityfor support and inspiration. You might consider professional help, as well, say a weight management clinic or counselor. The point is to build a support system that enables you to become your own best support.
3. Foil Your Fitness Foes
Another key to dealing with lack of support is to know your temptations, such as going out to eat with friends, and develop a strategy to deal with them

"Friends may pressure you to make bad choices," says Joseph Quatrochi, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Human Performance, Sport and Leisure Studies at Metropolitan State College of Denver. "Make a couple of decisions in advance."
One of these decisions is to select foods based on their preparation: for example, broiled or baked instead of fried. The other is not to clean your plate. "Often, you can take home one-third to one-half of a meal," Quatrochi tells WebMD.
This advice seems particularly pertinent when you consider the findings of a recent study by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. That research found portion sizes have ballooned anywhere from 23% to 60% over the past 20 years -- not just in fast food places, but in restaurants, packaged snacks, and even our homes.
4. Keep it quiet
Madelyn Fernstrom, PhD, director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Health System Weight Management Center, also suggests that you not draw others' attention to your eating.
"When you announce you're on a diet, people automatically urge you to eat," she tells WebMD. "In situations where people offer you food, accept it, but remember you're not obligated to eat it all or even most of it."
5. Learn to handle sabotage
Perhaps touchiest of all is handling those people who seem bent on sabotaging your efforts
So try turning it around. For example, when your mother pushes her baked goodies on you, ask for her support instead, Wilson says.
"Say, 'Mom, I know you care about me, and I really need your help. Your desserts are a barrier. Will you consider supporting me in this way?'"
"If she accepts, thank her," he says. "If she continues to sabotage, the voice in your head should tell you that you're growing each time you go through this process. Cultivate a positive belief in yourself, and trust that you're getting stronger."
Sabotage, Quatrochi says, is just one factor influencing "compliance," the term professionals use for "stick-to-itiveness."
"If one factor is working against you, make sure other factors encourage compliance," he says. "For example, choose exercise activities that are fun, convenient and not cost-prohibitive."
Fernstrom advises simply ignoring would-be saboteurs.
"This works once you adopt a core belief that you are accountable to yourself," she says. "Understand that the only behavior you can change is your own."
6. Draft a survival script
Since it's guaranteed you'll encounter obstacles, experts say it's a good idea to create a survival "script" for dealing with less-than-supportive loved ones. Imagine various scenarios, and rehearse your responses like an aspiring Academy Award winner:
  • "No, thank you."
  • "Thanks, but I just ate."
  • "I appreciate your making these especially for me. I'll take them home." (And straight to the garbage disposal.)
  • "I don't want to ruin our Friday night tradition, but tonight could we go to Pizza Works instead of Geno's so I can order a salad?"
  • "I've failed to keep weight off in the past, but I'm learning new strategies."
  • "About 300,000 deaths each year are associated with overweight and obesity. I don't want to be a statistic."
  • "I need your support, not your criticism."
  • "I haven't lost weight yet, but I feel better and have more energy when I'm eating right and exercising."
No matter how skilled you become in dealing with your fitness foes, there are times when you really need someone in your corner. But you shouldn't expect one person to be your all-purpose supporter. In fact, Wilson advocates looking for support in six categories:
  • Setting goals. Connect with someone who can help you explore your reasons for adopting a fitness plan and set meaningful, specific goals.
  • Living by example. Not all the fit people you know were always that way. Identify someone who has become fit to use as a role model.
  • Bashing barriers. Time, money, and other factors can be barriers to your fitness plan. A spouse who's unwilling to exercise might agree that the cost of your joining a health club is worthwhile, and agree to watch the kids three evenings a week while you attend aerobics class. Your employer might allow you a more flexible schedule so you can take a yoga class.
  • Building a supportive environment. Your old playmates and playgrounds can hold you back. Find a diet or exercise buddy, and agree that if one of you falters, the other will act as enforcer. Go to a nutrition class. Join a group.
  • Dealing with setbacks. Accept relapse as a normal part of a lifestyle change. Identify someone who will help you get past it. Understand that it can take from one to three years to make new behaviors a permanent part of your life.
  • Celebrating success. Everyone needs a cheering squad. As you reach interim goals, celebrate with people who will be proud of your progress.
Originally Published April 2, 2003.
Medically updated Nov. 3, 2005.

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