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Bad Habits Of Dieting - Number 1

Bad Habits Of Dieting - Number 1

Wednesday 24th May 2017

I was having a conversation with a client the other day and it was quite clear that there was a little cycle of misery occurring that I wanted to explore a little further as its one I come across A LOT! Bad Habit of Dieting - Number 1.

The Mood Step (also known as the bathroom scales) can be a regular habit for a lot of us. And it's bad habit. Some even admit to a daily "log on" to the step, creating a rollercoaster of bittersweet emotions. Many can relate to a bad experience on the Mood Step first thing which then sees you stepping in to a whole day of low mood. The low mood then instigates some bad food choices. Which fuels even more bad food choices. This continues throughout the day, right up until the next step up and beyond. Get the picture?

I don't weigh clients, if I do, it's only for my records and these figures are kept secret! In a Food Coaching Session I advise and promote that the Mood Step should be removed from the house. Entirely. I have run a whole session on this before, as it is such a fixation in long term dieters; it is part of their lives, like washing their hair or having a cup of tea. Giving up a daily ritual is hard.

So why do it in the first place? Many reasons can start this process but most can relate to the following: You suddenly start feeling a bit heavier and your clothes feel tighter, so this may begin as curiosity? You decide to embark on a "diet", join a club, cut out carbohydrate (the uninformed food media police has created the devil in this food group), take up exercise or whatever you feel will help. This then leads to impatience. You need reassurance that the weight is coming off and that you are doing the right things. You may begin to hold on to early, precious weight memories when somehow you weighted two thirds of what you have ended up. Obsession creeps in and a habit is formed.

There are many considerations regarding our weight. If you are female, you can be experiencing fluctuating hormones, all of us can be harboring a little water retention that can be a little unpredictable, you may be a little constipated, you may have consumed a little more salt or fluid in your diet leading up to the Big Step, or you may have embarked on a new gym regime which is altering fat/muscle composition. How about the Mood Step could just be having a little off day and isn't being as accurate as usual? I could go on with a variety of issues that can make the difference of a pound of two; and that's what A LOT of you are counting and using as your marker for how the day will go!

When you make the Big Step and the results are good, you feel happy, bright and on a weight loss high; even if this is an unrelated 1lb difference. You may go one of two ways at this point - you keep the momentum going and eat well that day, making good choices. Or, the other way is also a possibility; you have lost 1lb, you believe it's the result of "being good" and the croissant at the back of the cupboard now has your name on it...followed by the coffee cake when you meet a friend later and the left over pasta on the children's plate at teatime!

Ok, so what happens if you make the Big Step and the result is bad? You've gained 2lbs, you feel awful, wretched and low. The day is spent feeling like this. You either eat for comfort as why bother with such good intentions when you are actually gaining weight? Or, you decide to use this as the good telling off you deserve and you are motivated to continue with the good eating practice, hoping for better results. Do you see the issue with the Mood Step? They could BOTH result in THE SAME behaviour!

I reckon the Mood Step is an unnecessary obstacle for us to contend with and has such an influence on our mood, our approach and thoughts on working towards any eating goals. I ask you to think about this - if you had no bathroom scales in your house for anyone to access, what is the worse thing that can happen? Would you start the day in a bad mood? Probably not and if you did, it won't be related to weight, but more associated with the fun and games we all experience getting out of the house first thing!

Life is hard and frantic enough at times, we deal with a huge amount of different emotions, events, thoughts and problems and it would be wise to shrug off a few free loaders? Imagine not having that bag of "weight concern" with you during the day, you may feel quite liberated to not have to dissect the Mood Step results and you may be able to find focus somewhere else, where food isn't such an issue! Dropping the Mood Step is the start of a good, healthy attitude towards what you eat. It's not about how much you weigh, it's about portions and what you are eating, neither of which can be found on any bathroom scales!

So, how to deal with breaking this habit?

  • Throw the scales away.
  • Use your clothes as a measure of weight and assume you are going the right way, on the whole.
  • If you are feeling bloated (please note, bloated is not weight gain and therefore should not be part of any weight related mood swing) read up on the Feeling Bloated Blog, or message me!
  • Build a new healthy attitude towards eating. Find foods that are functional, nutritious and learn to enjoy them.
  • Strive at all times to replace the bad Mood Step Habit with this new one - love your shape, treat it well, feed it well and love yourself a little more.