Welcome to the next installment of the Mind, Body, & Soultiply Quest !
If you are new to this journey – let me fill you in. This is a series on the Soultiply Blog that focuses purely on the motivation to help you achieve your body related goals, especially in regards to weight loss. This Quest will hold your hand, cheer with you, cry with you, and give you a big ole’ pat on the back when you accomplish your dreams. We may wrinkle our nose at vegetables or watch Netflix rather than workout, but the hardest part of pushing our physical limits is the motivation to continue towards results.
Today is the perfect day to write the next post for the Quest because it’s a very special milestone for me…I’ve lost over 11 pounds! I woke up and hopped on the scale and saw a number that I haven’t seen in over two years. I am extremely overjoyed, but not surprised; I know in my heart that this time has been different.
Why is this time different?
Because when I first started, I sat down with myself and got HONEST. I thought, “What has kept me from success in the past? What always seems to trip me up and get in the way?”
It was a little discouraging, to recount past failures and own up to my mistakes. But I knew that what I had done to develop healthy habits in the past didn’t work – so in order to see weight loss results, I would have to try something different.
Ultimately, after much thought, I came to some solid conclusions. For me, it boiled down to two things.
1) I never stuck with a healthy lifestyle plan long enough to see lasting weight loss results.
2) I made too many exceptions to the rules.
And the worst part of it happened when I would COMBINE both mistakes.
For example, in the past I would lose 3 or 4 pounds and I would be SO proud of myself. I would saunter around, thinking I was some hot stuff. Then I would get cocky about it. I would think, “This is easy for me! I don’t have to do hardly anything!” and I would start to make poor choices again. I didn’t realize that the healthy choices that I made were the REASON for my weight loss – I attributed all the success to myself and assumed that it just came naturally to me! So I would start to eat pizza or chocolate, or skip too many nights at the gym (thinking that weight loss had become a natural occurrence in my life now, since I had successfully lost 3 or 4 pounds) and sure enough, the weight would come right back. And that would be the end of yet another unsuccessful diet.
Once I had pinpointed the problem, I had to brainstorm a solution that would keep me from making the same mistake again.
I knew when it came to food, “rewarding” myself with sinful treats was a damaging mindset and could become a slippery slope. But at the same time, because the Mind, Body & Soultiply Quest is not a diet, I didn’t want to completely deprive myself of all the foods I do enjoy. I knew that if I was operating from a place of deprivation, I would deprive not only my body and taste buds, but my soul and happiness as well! Which is no bueno.
So I got down n’ dirty and SPECIFIC. I thought, “What are my go-to indulgences? What are the things that have derailed me from weight loss in the past?”
My boyfriend and I LOVE to go out to eat at restaurants. We have our favorite places and we keep a running list of new restaurants to try as well. And when I go out to eat at restaurants, I know it can be tricky to turn down those delicious dishes. I also knew that I loved to drink diet soda during the day, and a frozen margarita on the weekends was always a sweet treat. I love to bake and cook and try new recipes that I find on , so I didn’t want to give up my freedom to make all different kinds of food. And to sum it all up, I have a major sweet tooth. A Brittany without her chocolate is not a Brittany that ANYONE wants to be around!
When I wrote down this list, I was practically laughing at myself. These were the very things that led to my 40 pound weight gain! If I continued doing all these things, weight loss was NOT in my future.
But then I remembered what Bethenny Frankel said, “You can have it all, just not all at once.” (If you haven’t read her book, Naturally Thin: Unleash Your SkinnyGirl and Free Yourself from a Lifetime of Dieting , do yourself a favor and give it a read. No other book has managed to shift my views on weight loss and self-care quite like this one.)
And it clicked!
What if I devised a plan where I could enjoy all these things, just not all at once?
I am the type of person who loves operating on a schedule. If something is not on my calendar, then it won’t happen. So I looked at my calendar and devised a plan. I would assign each individual indulgence a week and I would rotate the schedule. That way, I would get to experience my favorite foods, but I wouldn’t have them all at the same time. It looked a little something like this:
Week 1: I can order whatever I want at old restaurants (meaning restaurants I’ve visited before)
Week 2: Drink anything
Week 3: I can order whatever I want at new restaurants (meaning restaurants I have never visited before)
Week 4: I can make 1 recipe of my choice.
Week 5: I can have dessert 1 night this week.
Here’s my reasoning: I figured that this would give me something to look forward to and I would experience weight loss because of all that I was cutting out compared to my normal eating habits.
And each indulgence only impacted a portion of the week. For example, I only eat at restaurants on the weekend, so during the week I would cook myself healthy & nourishing meals. On weeks that I didn’t get to drink anything I wanted, I only drank water or tea.
And of course, since I actually do enjoy exercising, I kept up a healthy exercise routine throughout the entire plan.
I’ve completed one full rotation on this plan and I love it!
I find it fun to measure the weeks by the perks I get and it motivates me to do my best during the “healthy downtime”.
Plus, it’s a little bit staggering to realize how much I’ve really cut out of my diet.
Check out these figures…
- In a normal five week time span, I would have drank about 45 Coke Zeros (yuck, sounds so gross to think about it that way!)
During these five weeks, I drank about 7 diet sodas.
Is it perfect? No.
Is it better? Yes!
- In a normal five week time span, I would have eaten a calorie-ridden Mexican sandwich, fries with Chipotle sauce, and chips & guacamole meal at least 6 times, which is approximately 7,200 calories.
During these five weeks, I ate it once, which is 6,000 calories less than before (not including any healthy substitutes I made, but still a staggering number!)
- In a normal five week time span, I would have had dessert at least 10 times, which would cost me an extra $50 on top of my normal expenses.
In this five week span, I had dessert once. Saving me about $45 overall. I think it’s time to go buy a pair of new shoes, amiright?!?
And you know the funny thing? You start to notice changes over the 5 weeks.
Right before I started this plan, I had my favorite Mexican meal (the dinner that I mentioned in the example above) and three hours later, I went home and had some dessert.
After 5 weeks of healthy eating, I came back to the same restaurant, ordered the same meal, and I could HARDLY finish it. I mean, I was STUFFED. I hadn’t had that much to eat in one sitting for literally 5 weeks! And even if I COULD have had dessert that night, I would never have wanted to; I was THAT full.
And here’s the real perk – this plan helps me STICK with eating healthy.
I don’t feel deprived, because I do get all the things that I love. I’m not sacrificing anything. And I have things to look forward to; I have a way to count the time. Instead of dieting for a tiny bit of time and giving up, each week brings something fun and new to experience. Because I don’t ever plan on going back to how I used to eat, this system works for me. I’ve never stuck with healthy eating for longer than 5 weeks in my life…but now I am.
Could I lose more weight faster if I didn’t have this system in place?
Yes, I know for a fact I could.
But this plan isn’t for people who crave healthy food. This plan isn’t for the lucky people who were raised with healthy eating habits, who look down upon sugar and carbs, who have natural beach body physiques.
If I ate only healthy food for the rest of my life, I would lose weight much faster… but I would succumb to temptation one day. And then I would binge and feel miserable, disappointed, and guilty with myself. And those emotions are not fair to my mind, body, & soul. Those emotions are only there to tear you down, to make you feel like not enough, to disconnect you with all the beautiful things that you are . They are the most destructive part of dieting and I want to burn them to the ground.
When I eat a cheeseburger on this plan, I savor it. I enjoy it and I don’t feel guilty. And then after I finish it, and its Monday again, I don’t touch another one for over a month. I say goodbye to it and I say goodbye to all the negative emotions tied with deprivation and lack. And this way, I stay focused on my goal for much longer than I would have if I continued on the same cycle that failed me in the past.
And it’s not a rewards system. I do not get to eat my indulgences BECAUSE I am losing weight. It is not a prize to be won. It’s merely balancing the way that I eat. Instead of 70% junk food, 30% nourishing food….I’ve switched the roles. Enough to see changes in my outlook and body, but still enough treats to feel like I’m not deprived or feeling left out. The only reward that I receive is the change that I see and feel inside.
So now it’s your turn!
Do you struggle with sticking with a healthy lifestyle plan for an extended period of time?
Try making an Indulgence Plan for yourself!
List all the decadent eating habits that enjoy and then spread them out over time.
No deprivation, only moderation.
And they don’t have to be the same as mine.
Here are a few additional examples you could use:
- Eat fast food 1 time this week
- I can eat whatever I want at parties and social gatherings this week
- I can eat take-out 1 time this week
There are literally thousands of options and only you will know what speaks to your preferences the most. What are the things that usually derail you or that you miss the most when you following a traditional diet plan? Those examples usually lead you to the indulgences you should use.
Because even if you DO start to crave soda and it’s not your week for that indulgence, it’s much easier to know that you will get it soon, rather than to never experience it again.
Plus, here’s the secret. Over time, your idea of an indulgence will change.
My body has started to love my morning smoothies, my healthy salads, and my nourishing vegetable based dishes. I can feel the energy that they are giving me. My old style of crappy eating just doesn’t mesh anymore.
Maybe next time I get to have my favorite Mexican meal, I’ll eat half of it and bring the other half home. And maybe, weeks and weeks from now, this indulgence won’t even be something that I will want to do anymore.
And that thought makes me feel powerful and strong, which feels great.
If you decide to create your own Indulgence Plan, let me know!
Of course, as I stated before with the Mind, Body, & Soultiply Quest – I am by no means a dietician or doctor, so I can NOT promise that you will see the same results. If you want to know what would be best for your personal health, consult a professional. I’m just sharing what has helped me the past several weeks, and if it can inspire you to create something helpful of your own, that would be a beautiful thing.
Enjoy and happy indulging!
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