My Illogical Overweight Mind

Here is how I often thought when I was obese.

I would not eat these because they had too many calories:

Good food I wouldn't eat while dieting

But I would eat this:

cake on a table

I would think this way all on the same day.

Looking back, I don’t really know what I was thinking. There I was sitting in my kitchen chewing on a brownie that I had no business making the night before or finishing off the last several slices of cake, thinking that I would just skip the salad for dinner or the apple for snack because I needed to cut calories.


The interesting thing was that I did this over and over again. I’d be actively trying to lose weight and decide that I would not eat the apple, but didn’t really think twice about eating the entire chip bag. Or, I did think twice but rationalized that if I skipped the healthier food then I might still magically lose weight eating the cake or chips or whatever junk food happened to catch my interest at the moment.

Have you ever had these kind of illogical thoughts and actions while trying to lose weight? In some ways, what I used to do is similar to feeling as though you really can eat half a pizza because you exercised for 30 minutes. Surely one cancels out the other, or so we sometimes think.

What is about dieting and weight loss that causes us to occasionally throw logic and clear thinking out the window?

I’m really not sure and I’d like to hear your thoughts on it.  Diane

29 thoughts on “My Illogical Overweight Mind

  1. Fran@BCDC says:

    Our minds are harder to change than our eating habits, Diane! You are so right about this. We get out thoughts all twisted and we don’t do what we should. I’ve found a great deal of focus lately and am able to say no to things that are around. I wish I had a wonderful tip to help you and your readers know what it is I’ve done. I’m not even sure! I suppose I just focused on what I want to accomplish and I’ve stuck to it. Crazy how our formerly “fat” brains work.

  2. vickie says:

    Ditto what Norma said – ate impulsively.

    I went out to lunch with a friend last year. She sort of scoffed my large salad saying she could not/should not eat that much. She ate a small salad, and then when we went back to her house, she ate ice cream and cake. Very large servings of both. Exactly the thought process (or lack of though process) you mention.

  3. HappinessSavouredHot says:

    When I started running I would always have a huge, homemade banana split upon my return… because I was so convinced I had earned it. Needless to say, my weight did not bulge for a while! We have to stop telling ourselves fairy tales!!! 🙂

    • vickie says:

      I used to belong to a yoga studio within walking distance of a coffee shop. Women would walk out of the studio and go order an ice cream sundae disguised as coffee. EVERY time they were in class. I do count some things as exercise, yoga is not one of them, and I never eat more based on exercise (I think that activity points thing keeps a lot of people stuck). I can’t tell you how much seeing their hurried walk over to the coffee shop used to bother me.

  4. Dr. J says:

    In situations where a person has an addiction, the brain is hijacked and thinking is controlled. That is why addicts need clear thinking outside help to get past their blinders. Those that think their minds always give them good information have a real internal challenge to being able to change.

  5. susan says:

    I did this (and often times have to fight my mind to stop doing it). Fruit has so much sugar (even though it’s natural) I found myself giving myself little pieces of chocolate because it would hit my sweet tooth but have less sugar and calories. I think we all tend to find ourselves justifying things, that’s how we end up on the wrong end of the scale. It’s an awful head game I have to constantly be aware of.

  6. rsjo says:

    I’ve been drafting a similar post on my blog. My problem isn’t so much swapping out foods, but eating both. My logical brain tells me to stick with my plan because its working, but my ‘illogical overweight brain” tells me no one will know and I should just have one…

    My other big problem was the same as Happinesssavouredhot and I thought I earned bad food with a walk or a particularly stressful conversation with my mother. The best was when I was frustrated at my family (because I was tired and grumpy most likely) and thought I deserved rubbish food to make me feel better – illogical to say the very least :/

    So glad I can say all this in the past-tense 🙂

  7. Laura Jane says:

    Yes, I definitely try to justify my junk food eating in ridiculous ways. I can recall purposefully not buy fresh fruit because it was “too expensive,” but later in the very same day purchasing decent quality chocolate that costs more than the fresh fruit!

  8. Babbalou says:

    It’s the nature of addiction that we are not able to think clearly about whatever we’re addicted to, and some of us may be addicted to sugar, or flour/baked goods or salty crunchy snacks. I think there are commonly held beliefs that also hurt us. “Everything in moderation”, which doesn’t mean you can eat everything you want in a single day, especially if what you want will flip that craving trigger switch to “on” and the thought that you might as well eat what you’re craving or you’ll eat more trying to satisfy that craving by eating foods other than what you crave. This may be why we eat chocolate unstead of an apple or fries or chips instead of a side salad. I do best when I tell myself that I don’t (not “can’t”) eat sugar or junky snacks. Avoidance for me eliminates the cravings. I’ve realized that I no longer crave chocolate – which surprises me. I keep dark chocolate (85%) bars in my kitchen and I go weeks without thinking about it. And when I have some now, I only want a single square (a serving is 4 squares). But I’ve learned I can’t keep most dried fruit in the house – one bite and I’m obsessed. It must be the sugar!

  9. Nancy A. says:

    I always have done that, too! Figured that the fruit was too hard to fix, just grab some chips or cake instead! Why do we have to think like that? I am slowly making myself eat the healthy things instead of the calorie laden foods!

  10. Amanda says:

    I’m not sure if I did exactly that, but I’m sure I must have. I remember thinking that only eating stuff that was packaged/ pre-portioned was the only smart thing I could do, because who knows how 20 extra calories here and there from an apple or banana I couldn’t accurately measure would affect me?

    Never mind that pre-packaged foods have some leeway in their caloric labeling. That would have been too realistic…

  11. Diane Carbonell says:

    I got that picture, and a lot of other ones on the blog from It’s a site that offers free pictures that bloggers and others can use. There are some great pictures on there!

    As far as not allowing good foods, it wasn’t so much about the fruit, vegetables, or grains I was turning down as I didn’t “eliminate” any particular food group from my diet. It was more that I was so willing to eat junk instead of healthy foods.

    I can identify with your solution to not having a muffin in the morning after your shift. I probably would have bought three. 🙁

  12. L says:

    I don’t occassionally practice illogical thinking with food. Rather, I constantly work at wrestling it to the ground, sitting atop it, pinning its husky arms down and screaming, “You, are a monster.” All this to say, yeah, its a problem for me. 😉

  13. Janis says:

    You know, I can’t say enough how much I admire you for recognizing that your mind was working strangely, and stepping up to the challenge of improving. Yes, you tried a lot of times, but many people would have used those multiple attempts as proof that the problem was unsolvable or told themselves it wasn’t worth solving. And once you really got a grip on what had to be done, you stepped up and did it. As someone who has her own issues with changing ways of thinking that don’t serve me, I really admire that.

  14. Lisa says:

    OH YES. Been there done that. I have no idea where this horrible habit came from, or my justification, but I went through a stage where I’d eat snacks if I woke up in the middle of the night. Usually sugary sweets. I have no idea why I started doing that and I am SO GLAD it didn’t last long. But I would somehow justify that those calories didn’t count because I had already finished counting my calories for that day, and I hadn’t started counting for the following day. Almost like the time between 11pm-4am didn’t count somehow….?!

  15. Jodi @ Jodi, Fat or Not says:

    It’s like you’re reading my mind! So many times I talk myself out of having a banana or something because it’s too many calories, but then I’ll get a big cup of frozen yogurt later in the day. Why do we do that to ourselves?? I think for me it might be the second I go into a deprivation mindset, I’ve lost control over my choices. Frustrating!

  16. Betty says:

    The mind is a powerful thing and will be a good or bad influence! It depends on what we “feed” it. I recently learnt about the stimulating effect that sugar has on our brain function and even this little bit of knowledge can help immensely.
    I have also found that some form of appetite suppressing formula is helpful to start on this journey of fat loss. I did not believe this until I tried it and now I no longer require it and am able to control my desire for yummy sweet food – it is not attractive anymore. I would rather fresh fruit and lots of veg. Very different from a few years ago. Along with your great advice to walk and walk and walk! Thanks for such a practical helpful blog.

  17. Joe says:

    I remember I’d lift weights and then eat a whole pizza and tell myself that it was all going to build muscle. Can’t believe the bs we try to convince ourselves. We are our own worst enemy!

  18. Ron says:

    I’m like Joe. I used to workout and reward myself with a big pizza thinking I’d earned it and then wonder why I hadn’t lost any weight because I had been so good.

  19. Siobhan says:

    What I would do is to eat the cake or cookies or brownie or donut in the morning and then because I would be okay for lunch and dinner, then I’d think I’d done well the entire day. Forgetting what I’d eaten just that morning.

  20. PlumPetals says:

    I wish I had an answer to that question. What I’ve been amazed at is how all of a sudden I’ve started to ‘see’ a lot more around me. I notice what I’m doing. I notice how I’m sitting. I notice what I’m eating. Sometimes I still get a bit lazy, or slouch, or eat something I probably shouldn’t … but I notice it. It’s a big step away from the years of mindless, illogical eating. So I’m not sure how come I thought so illogically when I definitely knew better, but I’m glad that things are changing!

  21. Maxine Fowler says:

    Mmmm that chocolate cake does look delicious. But on a serious note, I think we can get addicted to the correct combinations of carbs, fat and protein and food companies know this. I think this throws our logic out the window at times.

  22. Kay Lynn says:

    I think this illogical thinking is why Weight Watchers made fruits “free”. When bananas cost 2 points people would choose to eat other, less healthy snacks for those same two points.

  23. Jill says:

    Yeah . . . I can DEFINITELY relate! Wish I understood why I gravitate toward this type of thinking, but when I start to slowly slide with healthy behaviors, this is probably the first problem behavior to crop up!

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