It’s Monday, Day 1 of your diet. You’re really going to do it this time. And the day is starting off great because before work you ate a light, healthy breakfast – a cup of “Good Times” oatmeal (you know, that plain old-fashioned oatmeal with no sugar and no flavor), a slice of whole grain toast with the consistency of cardboard, and a glass of water.
It’s now 10am, and your stomach starts talking. You walk into the breakroom at work and see all the snacks in the vending machine. All the good stuff is calling your name, like the potato chips, candy bars, honey buns, and soda pop, but you resist and use your last 85¢ on a 2 oz bag of trail mix. Eating it felt like throwing coins down a well…but you are motivated to stay the course.
It’s now noon. You’re hungry and cranky. You’ve got a pile of work on your desk that you are trying to catch up on and a tight deadline you have to meet. Your day has been repeatedly interrupted by phone calls from irate customers cursing and yelling at you as if you personally did something to them and a million unimportant “urgent” emails that requires your immediate attention (including the ones that promise you 10 years of bad luck if you don’t forward the “I love Jesus” message to 100 of your closest friends). You sit at your desk with your salad and water for lunch…and then walks by some idiot that ordered pizza that smells up the entire office, and another with lemon pepper wings with extra fries and blue cheese dip. A few of your co-workers ask you to go to with them to the local Mexican joint for lunch to nosh on chimichangas and maybe a margarita or two to help get through this afternoon’s status meeting with the boss from hell. You look down at your bowl of chopped iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and full-fat Ranch dressing…and think about how much that meeting really is going to suck…You think to yourself, “Ok, maybe I’ll just go and get half a chimichanga with no cheese sauce on top, a side of fresh vegetables, and go extra hard tonight at the gym.”
The work day is over. You were uncomfortably full as tick sitting through the meeting because of the two chimichangas, side of Mexican rice, black beans, and flan you ate during lunch. Worst yet is that they really could have just sent out an email instead of forcing you to deal with the the office brown-noser, the class clown, and the “I’m always calling out sick but always posting pics on Facebook about me turning up at the club” co-worker for over two hours. That meeting made you late getting in your reports before the end of the day, so now you have to stay late to get it done, which then affects other things that leave you stressed for the rest of the evening – for me, it’s getting stuck in two hours of traffic, doing homework, sifting through bills, still trying to get in some kind of exercise, dealing with problems with bae, actually trying to get in 5 hours of sleep, etc etc etc. For others, it might be all of the above, while helping the kids with their homework, putting kids to bed, cleaning up the kitchen, doing laundry, dealing with a mouthy teenager, spending time with hubby, and so on…
Now you’re finally on your way home, with a tension headache, and you’re thinking about what to make for dinner…You’re in a crappy mood, and don’t want rabbit food. The day started off great, but since you blew your diet during lunch and don’t have time to go work out, what’s the point of trying to make it up by having seaweed and a glass of carrot juice for dinner? You’re already bloated. You’re already over your daily limit of calories, fat, and carbs. So who cares what you do now, you’ve already failed! Sigh…the day is completely shot, so you end up going through the nearest drive-thru for burgers, fries, and a personally-sized fried apple pie, and you plan to start your diet again next week when you get your mind right.
Does any of this sound familiar? Again, I’ve done it literally a MILLION times. Well, I guess today would make one million and one, unfortunately…so I’m making it this month’s Excuse of the Month.
Even after weight loss surgery, this concept is still challenging when you’ve had a bad day like I’ve had today and just want to throw your hands up and say “bump it”. You have to keep in mind that weight loss surgery ONLY reduces the size of your stomach – it doesn’t take away cravings, it doesn’t stop your car from going into the drive-thru, it doesn’t bill collectors from calling you, it doesn’t make your child stop acting up in school. It doesn’t take away any of the daily stresses of life that would normally cause you to reach for junk food you know you shouldn’t be eating. Therefore, those simple carbs (aka “slider foods”) can work around your tiny pouch and cause you to gain weight.
We have to realize that this type of thinking is unhealthy. Blowing the entire day, week, or month because you had a slip, is like tearing down a whole building because of a crack in the wall.
So you slipped. Breaaathe…woo-sah! It’s ok! The Earth didn’t blow up. Mankind didn’t end. Your parents didn’t disown you. I’ll be the last person to beat you over the head about it, but will be the first to tell you to brush yourself off and keep moving because tomorrow is a new day! If you wake up tomorrow morning, you have another chance to get it right. And yes, I’m telling myself this right now as I’m sitting here reeling from a bad day I’ve had and the slippage the ensued. I don’t want this blog to give the impression that life is going to be perfect after surgery and that I’m some kind of model patient that is doing everything 100% perfect. NO. Trust me, I have my good days and bad days. Just know that I’m struggling right along with everyone else to adopt new healthy habits and to take care of my new stomach. And you are not a failure because of a slip.
In the past, when I’ve had the “oh well, I messed up now so who cares, I’ll start again tomorrow” mindset, “tomorrow” didn’t come until weeks or months later. I just can’t do that to myself anymore. So even if you slip today, it doesn’t mean blow the rest of the day. If necessary, get yourself a break for today and just get back on the horse tomorrow – but absolutely no later than tomorrow!
Try to think in advanced about things that you can do to help reduce the chance of a slip and manage the slips that do occur, such as:
- Planning your meals in advanced
- Having healthy snacks on hand
- Thinking of healthy ways to deal with stress
- Not beating yourself up for having that slip
- Throwing away or giving away any remaining leftover food from your slip (remember, food does NOT equal money. It equals nutrition. So if it’s a non-nutritious food from a slip, any leftovers need to go.)
So what do you all think? How do you keep from blowing the whole day, week, and month after a slip? I’d love to hear from you!