Friday, April 30, 2010

Self-Sabotage ?

While cruising the web, I ran into an interesting question on peertrainer. The post was titled "Positive Psychology" and Stopping Weight Loss Self Sabotage. I am making a leap of faith here and please correct me if I am wrong, but I would be willing to bet that most of us do the right things most of the time.

However, sometimes I do things that I know I will regret. I know this before I even do them yet ‘sometimes’ I still do them. Just to continue with the peertrainer thread, sometimes I eat food that I know is bad for me and I know I will feel bad for eating it. I understand that this is not a healthy way to view food (however, that is for another discussion).

Here at work people go out to eat every day. I almost never want to go out to eat. I do not enjoy the experience. I do not see eating out as entertainment. I would much rather go to the gym for my lunch hour. However, sometimes I do go out to eat and since this is southern Mississippi it is almost always to a buffet. There are so many all-you-can-stand restaurants here it is ridicules. Before I even head out of the door I know that I will eat more than I should. I know that I will be lethargic during the afternoon. I know that I will feel guilty for overindulging. This behavior is not that hard to overcome. I might go out to lunch 3 times a year. But I still do it sometimes.

On the other hand, the evenings are almost always a difficult time for me. Although my home is devoid of ‘bad’ food I can create something less than optimum if left to my own devices. I was turned on to something called ‘Nasty snack’ a few years ago. It was originally straight margarine with granular sugar and flour all mixed together. Now I never liked that concoction but I created my own which I call ‘snatch’. Snatch is peanut butter with a couple of heaping tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar. Mixed all together it forms a sugary, fatty paste. This is what I crave when I want something sweet. I will usually feel guilty for having this calorie dense food in the evenings. (3 tbsp peanut butter = ~600 calories + 3 tbsp of confectioners’ sugar = ~100 calories = TOTAL 700 calories).

So, why do I sometimes do these behaviors? On peertrainer the following question was posed:

What has to be true in your life in order for you to sabotage your weight loss efforts?

I think this is an interesting question and I have thought about it for the last day or two. For me, I deviate (sabotage) from the plan when the following are true:

1. I am idle. The plan is empty for the day (or the plan has ended and there is no near term goal in place).

2. I have done some major exercise and I have not eaten properly. I am in a caloric deficit for the day or the week.

3. Following number two, I have a false sense of entitlement. I work hard so I deserve an indulgence.
I am sure that there are other fundamental reasons and these reasons are just on the surface. I might have missed the scope of the article by being so granular but I still found value in investigating my actions. Just identifying these reasons I think that I can be at better curbing the behavior.

For the snatch eating, I need to not be idle. I have plenty of stuff to do and if I am busy then I do not indulge in these behaviors. Also, I need to have something that I am working towards.  If I have worked out hard and not replenished my calories with good, healthy food then I get cravings. And last, I need to always reward myself with positive actions and not self defeating actions.  I need to think of the benefits of not doing the negative action. I need to think of how not doing the negative action brings me close to success.

I think it is an interesting question and it does not only apply to diet. On peertrainer the article continues to explore the question on a more global life scale.


Matty O said...

Your number 2 and 3 are spot on for me. I feel "entitled" to that burger and fries after a race.

I think our society has a view on food as something like a treat or a reward whereas food should be something we use to survive and sustain. Plus after eating healthy food for awhile I have CRAVED healthy foods more so than the crap we used to eat. Great post, I like to think I am not the only one that feels guilty or like a failure for eating crap once in awhile.

Andrew said...

So you don't want to visit Panino' or CiCi's for lunch today? Maybe fit in some nice shopping at Roses while we are in the parking lot?

With most athletes, food is a reward for hard work. While it aids in recovery, it won't help in the weight loss area.

Stuart said...

Great post some really thought provoking stuff!