A Strategy for Success

The other day, I had to make cookies for a bake sale. They were ordinary chocolate-chip cookies. But I found myself eating one and wanting another one. I quickly packed up the cookies and sent them on their little way.

This incident made me think of the hundreds of times over the last 13 years that I’ve had to stop eating “dangerous, bad or tempting foods.” I’ve had a lot of opportunities to gain weight and eat foods that aren’t good for me.

I’ve been to weddings, celebrated countless birthdays, attended uncountable church pot luck dinners and many meetings where food was the focus. Whether it’s a social situation or a situation at home, I still have to make the right choices most of the time.

I know from reading some of your blogs and talking to people “in real life” that we all have countless choices to make throughout the day.

Countless opportunities to make a choice that brings you closer to your goals for yourself or farther away. That brings me to one of my core maintenance and weight loss strategies.

I look at every food as an opportunity to bring me closer to – or farther away from my goals.

Sure, I may want that M&M package or an extra big piece of cheese cake. But do I really want the results of that choice may bring? One cookie or treat won’t hurt anything, and I do eat sweets on occasion. But for the most part, I keep myself reigned in from my danger foods because I never forget my ultimate goal. I want to be healthy, look healthy and set a good example for my family.

Over time, the choice got easier. I’m not perfect – no one is – but I wanted to encourage you to begin thinking about one special strategy that will carry you through your weight loss journey and take you right into maintenance.

Any ideas on what strategy helps you make the right choices – most of the time? Diane

32 thoughts on “A Strategy for Success

  1. vickie says:

    I think we have to give ourselves the opportunity to make the right choice. sometimes that means staying away or not having certain things available. other times we can do very well to say no, but BE there. sometimes we can have a modest piece, and have it be that one piece with no repercussions. I think it depends on where our mind is at the moment, how much stress we are facing. and always – it isn’t actually the food. The food is just the part we can see. There is a lot behind the food – feelings and dysfunction and behavior patterning and fear/anxiety. all the inner stuff.

  2. Mary says:

    I agree with Vickie. It isn’t the food, it’s every single memory attached to that food. That’s why so many of us have come to the realization that there is often a lot of mental prep work to be done before recovery begins.

    Thanks for a great post.


  3. Fran says:

    Reading this I realized I don’t have a strategy. At this moment I make the healthy choices most of the time. If I eat something less healthy which I calculated in my meals I don’t feel guilty, I do feel guilty if I eat because I’m bored or something. Maybe that’s my strategy: eat healthy most of the time, planned treats? Now get rid of the unplanned, make me feel guilty food.

  4. Desert Agave says:

    Yes, for me, like Fran, planning is the strategy. I plan out my healthy meals and snacks and also plan in the occasional treat. Right now the planned treats are very occasional, once a month or so. The rest of the time, if I run into temptations, I simply remind myself that they aren’t on the plan. It isn’t always easy, but it is working for me.

  5. Deniz says:

    You are so right that remembering all the food we eat is “an opportunity to bring me closer to – or farther away from my goals”. Good strategy.

    Mine’s similar, but is backed up with some practical plans for when temptation is about (as sometimes my ‘good intentions’ need a little assistance).

    One example – if I am going to friends or out for dinner (especially if one particular butter-loving friend is cooking) I go easy for the rest of the day and eat an apple on the way there. Then I’m not as hungry and it’s easier to be happy with little portions of rich stuff.

  6. Babbalou says:

    For some of us, sometimes it really is the food. Eating sugar, particularly on an empty stomach, makes me want to eat a lot more sugar. I can get by with a small treat after a meal but grabbing a cookie with my mid-afternoon cup of coffee just sets off terrible, relentless cravings for sugar. It’s just not worth it to me, it takes days for the cravings to subside. If I don’t eat sugar I very rarely miss it or crave it and am happy with an occasional square of dark chocolate or a few dried apricots with almonds (my go-to dessert!) So my strategy for sugar is to avoid it altogether! Chips however are another story. I don’t ever want a few chips, I want to occasionally have too many chips. So my chip strategy is to plan for an indulgence, record it on my calendar and then I’m done until the next planned indulgence. No cravings in between but if I don’t have them on occasion I do get the cravings. Weird, but true for me.

  7. Lori Lynn says:

    I was just thinking about the same thing today. I’m still to the point that these group gatherings make me a little nervous, b/c I’m not sure of my self-control yet. I struggle with guilt a lot too, and if I do have something that can push it over the edge. It’s a work in progress, but thank you for the post! πŸ™‚

  8. emergefit says:

    My favorite saying, as it applies to all of this is this:

    “I defy anyone to tell me that the 2nd bite of ice cream, the 2nd Hershey’s Kiss, the 2nd handful of M&Ms, etc., tastes better than the 1st”

    There is taste, treat, surprise, and enjoyment in the beginning, and it all goes downhill from there; guilt, extra calories, depression, weight-gain, etc.

    I remember this meme daily — I try to never let it go and it has helped me so much.

    • Gina Fit by 41 Maybe 42 says:

      To what emergefit said about the second bite not being as wonderful as the first — so true! (I found for myself).

      This may sound crazy, but I bring my own “to-go” container when I eat at a restaurant and immediately put half of my meal in it when the plate arrives. Then, at home the next day, I can have the left-overs and get that “OMG this is so good” experience again.

  9. blackhuff says:

    I’m so happy that you did this post because it so happens to be my son’s birthday today and my parents are coming over for coffee and bring cake tonight. I made a conscious decision to NOT have any cake tonight or the pizza my son wants tomorrow for his birthday meal. We will be having cooked meat with salad instead tomorrow.
    At the moment my strategy to help me through these kinds of situations: To see my goal in my head, to weight loss and participating in a fitness competition. That is what helps me now.

  10. Gina Fit by 41 Maybe 42 says:

    You know what, I think you said it for me, “Over time, the choice got easier.” What I’m learning from the blog community and success stories is there is a lot of falling along the journey. Get up and keep trying … over time the choice will get easier.

  11. JourneyBeyondSurvival says:

    Lately, it’s the thought of an old Italian Nona raising her eyes at me as I lifted up once slice too many of exquisite bread.

    Much like I would cringe to overindulge in my financial debts, I’m finding similarities to discipline with food. I watch my children and evaluate how I’m teaching them to discipline themselves.

    With sleep. With money. With responsibilities. With recreation.

    With food.

    It’s very motivating. But the best motivator is just me. Me feeling better, wanting better and being better.

    Plus reading my old inspired blog posts. πŸ™‚

  12. fittingbackin says:

    none that I can share- lately i’ve been giving in like it’s my job. πŸ™ I’ve got to do what you said – think of the results, think big picture instead of I-want-chocolate-now-dang-the-consequences! πŸ™‚

  13. Hope says:

    I definitely could use a strategy, but for some reason, the getting closer/further away from my goals doesn’t really work for me, as I’m really not a goal-oriented person at all. Like my buddy Karen, I’m just going to keep looking at the comments and trying to get some good strategies! πŸ™‚

  14. Jane says:

    As I read your post and comments, I realize how much work I have to do so that I don’t fall prey to my food demons at times when I least expect it. It can happen in a heartbeat, so I need to keep my kitchen stocked with substitute treats and have tools to deal with uncomfortable feelings that may arise unexpectedly. We’re traveling again next week and will be eating in restaurants. I need to have a clear strategy and a cooler that is strategically packed. This is a very timely post, and I will remember that every food is an opportunity…

  15. 'Drea says:

    I definitely had to stop baking less. I’ll bake for others but not for myself anymore because warm desserts are hard to resist and, like you, I think about the results that decadence will bring…

  16. Cammy@TippyToeDiet says:

    At this point, I have a whole basket of tricks! πŸ™‚ I use the “helps me/doesn’t help me” one, but for splurges or things like that, I simply ask myself if having this is worth having to pass up something better that comes along during the day. M&M’s? Definitely not worth it. My grandmother’s homemade banana pudding that she makes only once a year? Oh yes, I’ll sacrifice. There’s nothing that would come up later in the day (or the next few days ahead) that would trump that pudding. It’s a little like trading baseball cards, I think. πŸ™‚

    And I disagree with Roy. Nicely-seasoned or layered foods reveal distinctions in flavor. I hadn’t noticed that until I started focusing on savoring.

  17. Dr. J says:

    It’s one thing to blame the food industry for not helping us, which they don’t, but when it’s US pushing all the unhealthy foods constantly at every opportunity, what’s up with that??

  18. Joy says:

    Once I broke my sugar addiction things just don’t taste as “wonderful” as they used to. And I like what you said on Dr. Oz, if it’s not a “10” I won’t finish it.

    There are some things I know I just can not have in the house, so I don’t. Even though I have OD’ed on some things and been very ill, I can’t pass them up. Other things I can keep safely for an occasional treat. If DH wants some mini candy bars I’ll buy them, but he has to hide them, and I make him keep up with how many there are, just in case. πŸ˜‰

    Sometimes I have to bake sweets to give away or for church functions. I try to do a cake or pie rather than cookies or brownies, so there can’t be any “missing” pieces. And I do not bring the leftovers home.

    And if I slip up, I try not to let if affect the rest of the day. I WANT to say,”oh, I’ve already blown it, break out the fried chicken”, but I’m trying to think more like “well, I’ve had a treat, back to the plan”.

    I didn’t expect to write a book, but the last thing I will say is Go for quality in the foods you do/can eat, and the cheapo junk loses lots of it’s appeal.

  19. Mary (A Merry Life) says:

    I’m trying to develop a basket of tricks and strategies for these kinds of situations but I’m finding it hard. I want the thing that I want and thinking about the results of what I will eat doesn’t always work. I’ll have to come up with some kind of strategy though because I need to!

  20. Tami says:

    I deal with it pretty much the same way you do. I ask myself if it is going to help me achieve my goals on that day at that time. If I really do want it and I feel that it can fit into my eats for that day I might go ahead and sit down and enjoy it. I try to eat everything off a plate, that cuts down on extra nibbles and it makes me more aware of what I am doing. It is a work in progress.

  21. Shawnee says:

    Lately, I’ve given myself permission. Meaning, I give myself permission to eat anything I want. When I get a negative thought about food I say to myself, “The food itself is not evil. I can eat whatever I want. Do I really want it?” The answer is usually no. When the answer is yes, I have one. I am usually satisfied with just one or one serving. I know it sounds weird, but it’s been working.

  22. Jody - Fit at 52 says:

    Late to the game Diane… but kind of like my Thursday post, like you, we all have to find those things that will work for us. I am like you in that I plan for my treats but otherwise, if it does not help me be who I really want to be then it is not worth it…..

  23. Leah says:

    I think it is a strategy to say that I’m learning to want to be thin more than I want the temporary satisfaction of food. It’s huge for me to think like that and I know it’s the link that’s been missing in my journey so far to bring it all together.

  24. Tiff says:

    I liked this post- in fact my roomate is making cookies right this very second and althought I’d like to have 3, I’m gonig to have 1. Thx! πŸ™‚

  25. Marcelle says:

    I eat most things but consider the portion sizes now, in the past I would have 3 slices of cake and now will have one…I dont eat take aways…can sit there while my hubby does and have a coffee or water ~ there are certain foods I have decided no longer to eat and I dont…
    But the chips…or treats do get to me from time to time.

  26. Liz says:

    I try to put the Temptation off and distract myself and go do something else. But if I keep thinking about it, I try to work it in my menu so the calories and portion size aren’t overloaded.

    Diane-I love your Blog and I just posted an award for you at my blog.

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