“If we defend our habits, we have no intention of quitting them.”

Oh, how this quote cuts me deep. I’m the queen of excuses. I blame my unwavering perfectionism. I always have to explain WHY I didn’t do something right when I do it wrong. Not to not take accountability for it, but to explain to the person I’ve let down (and myself) why. So that person (and I) is (am) not disappointed in me. And all these explanations are is excuses. And after awhile making the excuses also makes it OK to make the mistakes.

“It’s OK if I have fast food for breakfast. It’s just this once. And it’s not THAT bad.” (Do I ever eat a homemade breakfast with as many calories as the lowest calorie item I get through a drive thru? No.)

“After this week, I deserve to go out to dinner. And I’m doing it big!” (Except this is happening several times a week. Or day!)

“It’s not like having a few chips is that much different than having fruit, calories-wise.” (Except I only eat one serving of fruit. And about four of chips!)

“My family doesn’t get together that often.” (Yes we do.)

“It’s been a long day. I’ll workout tomorrow.” (Come on. My life is NOT hard. If I’m too tired, unorganized, etc. to workout. It’s MY fault. And usually I can make the workout work, but I’d rather sit around.)

All the little excuses add up to big problems. And when I defend my bad eating habits, over-eating, or
not working out, it somehow makes it OK. Obviously I know I should have done better if I’m making an excuse, but the excuse defends the action.

From now on, I’ll be honest with myself about what I’ve done. And work at NOT doing the wrong thing to begin with. The excuses for doing whatever I’m doing generally comes BEFORE I do it. It’s not like it’s mindless eating or not working out. I’m mindful of breaking a promise to myself. I rarely ever break promises to anyone else. I should hold myself in such high esteem.

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“Never trade what you want most for what you want in the moment.”

This quote dives deep in the heart of my eating issues (and my spending issues, probably, although my spending and saving isn’t really an “issue” as much as it could use SOME improvement – I’m choosing to focus on weight because it’s the real issue in my life). I think I’ve always seen food as a good/bad thing. And seen it as a reward or comfort. When we were young, my mom did make sure to limit things like sweets. I remember NEEDING pop. I would do anything. I’d look forward to t-ball games just for the can of pop we’d get at the end. It was glorious. And as we got older, there were things like pizza if we were good at church. McDonald’s on road trips or “if you’re good” when we’re out shopping.

And beyond that, as I got older, I’d use eating out as a reward for a long week. “I deserve it” after unpleasant things happened. Or to celebrate something good. And as I’ve had more freedom to choose what I eat (starting mostly in college and definitely since I’ve lived on my own), I tend to reward and comfort myself more.

It’s been a hard habit to break with the reward/comfort correlation. Especially since my family seems to celebrate with food. My mom’s a person who shows her love making a good meal, including snacks of sweets and desserts. And I watch these habits get passed onto my nieces and nephews. It’s definitely a tough wire to balance on because they don’t need to be eating all of the sweets. But they want them. You can’t let them have free reign in order to remove the comfort/reward feeling because that’s all they’d eat. But if you give and take away food based on behavior, it becomes a reward. Or if it’s somehow tied to love, then it’s also tied to comfort.

I have no idea how to break this phenomenon. And I don’t blame ANYONE for my food issues. I am an adult, and I just need to confront them and get over them.

A smaller, yet more significant issue, is the one related to this quote. I tend to surpass long-term success with weight for short-term satisfaction. It’s similar to what people do with saving versus spending. I have always been good at saving money. And that’s something that was instilled in my since I was young. I do go overboard on spending NOW rather than saving up specifically for something sometimes. But the funny thing is I don’t understand how I can see the long-term to save for retirement, but can’t see the long-term for eating. I tend to want what I want NOW. With food. I can’t even find a somewhat healthy balance like I do with saving (I ALWAYS save, each month without fail, but I could save MORE if I weren’t spending so randomly).

Anyway, I’ve been making a conscious effort over the past week to say, “I want that/those (donut, chips, pizza, cheese dip, ice cream, cookie, garlic bread) right now. But it will only be good while it’s actually in my mouth.” Then I try to think, long term, what the results will be if I don’t eat that same food now, or tomorrow, or next Thursday when I crave it. But rather, save up for one special splurge event. Dinner out with good friends, for example. Or a specifically made really nice meal that incorporates some of the things I want.

It’s definitely a mindset change. And it doesn’t happen overnight. I try to focus on how living in moderation my whole life is setting me up for retirement. And I feel comfortable in that. And I’d like to have the same feeling of comfort (rather than dread, regret, anger, frustration) with my weight, health and appearance.