A friend of mind texted me recently, “Now that I am so close to my goal weight, I fear that I will get cocky and sabotage my own progress. How do I make sure that doesn’t happen?
I think that there are two major issues that we need to consider when answering this question.
The first issue is that we need to ask ourselves: “Have we been thinking about this success as short-term?” Have the habits we’ve been forming all been temporary in our minds? If you eat less and eat healthier, and exercise more but all the while you’re telling yourself, “this is just until I lose that last 20 pounds”, then you are more susceptible to cockiness ruining your success.
If eating healthy and eating less is a short term goal then we only need willpower to get us through it. But the longer it takes the less willpower we will have. And as we get closer to our goal, our cockiness starts to tell us, “Oh, it’s okay if you want that cookie or those chips, you’ve got this under control now. You’re only 5 lbs away. You’ll make it up. You know what to do.” And thus we allow ourselves to cheat.
But what if instead, we said to ourselves, “This is not a fad. This is not a diet. This is my lifestyle. This is just how I live everyday.” If we say those things to ourselves, and we believe them, then our eating and exercise habits become a part of our everyday lives and we stop thinking of them as “special, short term events”. The more we believe this is normal and this is not special, the less it will occur to us to cheat.
The key to healing our relationship with food for good is to start behaving a if our new habits are for life.
There is no stop button or end date. We practice these new habits everyday until they become second nature.
The more we convince ourselves that this behavior is part of our lifestyle, the less willpower we will need to do it. If you’re not using willpower to do something, then it takes less energy to make the right decision. There will be less thought process going on. Eventually eating right will be like brushing your teeth in the morning. It’ll be second nature. And you won’t be cocky about anything because it won’t register in your brain as something special to be proud of.
But there’s an even bigger issue here. Why did my friend fear cheating at all? She feared it as we all do because she’s thinking to herself: “Inevitably, something in my life will go wrong and I will want to eat to soothe myself or escape this particular challenge in the moment.” And that’s the second and even bigger issue to this question.
We’ve talked about this before and we will continue to talk about it because it the root cause of all of our overeating. We must stop using food to solve our life problems. Instead, we must fix out life! Food is a temporary solution at best. It’s a drug. It makes us feel better in the moment but it doesn’t solve anything.
Food will not make us feel less lonely in our relationships.
Food will not make us feel more fulfilled at our jobs.
We can only change those things by fixing what’s wrong. Food will only delay us and hold us back.
So if my friend is worried about cockiness sabotaging her success, perhaps the deeper issue is what does she anticipate coming up in her life that she might need food to console her through? Perhaps she can look ahead and start working on that area of her life now, before she reaches that impasse and feels like she needs an escape.
As you start to see the success of all your hard work, check in with yourself, and make sure you are approaching the process the correct way. And remember that it’s two fold. We need to change our daily habits but we also need to fix the areas in our life that are out of balance. Living full out requires both. It takes hard work but its the only way to see lasting results. We can heal our relationship with food but only if we do it the right way.