Happy Monday! I’m here to help take away a little bit of the mystery this week. There’s one really unfortunate little mind game we don’t mean to play on ourselves that will forever keep us in our fat pants. Luckily I’ve been to the other side and back again (a couple times now) so I am speaking from experience and can help you to not make the same mistakes!
This week’s Uncomfortable Truth:
A Moment On The Lips, Much Later On The Hips
Saying no to delicious food is hard. I know, I’ve been there. I didn’t gain 70 pounds while I was pregnant because of some junk food gnome who force fed me cake while I was sleeping. I gained 70 pounds while pregnant because saying no to the Caramilk bar that second was so much more painful than the inevitable weight gain.
No, wait, that’s not even a little bit true.
All that weight gain hurt oh so much more.
But at the moment the Caramilk bar was in front of me? Saying no hurt more.
Because as soon as I put that sweet, delicious (and EVIL!!!) Caramilk bar to my lips I didn’t instantly gain 5 pounds. But I did have chocolate. The weight gain was some abstract notion of something that might happen in the future. But that chocolate? That was happening that second.
Studies have actually been done on this. It’s instant gratification versus future reward. Some people are better than others at weighing the pros and cons. But most of us, especially when it comes to food, will take delicious food this second over an athletic body in the future. It’s instant gratification. Here’s a link to an article in The New Yorker on The Marshmallow Experiment:
I will sum it up here for you: Children were brought into a room one at a time. There was a plate of marshmallows in front of them. They were told that they could have one marshmallow now. Or! If they waited a couple minutes while the man left the room, when he returned they could have two marshmallows. As with most social experiments, some subjects were able to sit patiently and wait (delayed gratification) others needed their marshmallow right away (instant gratification) and others after a few minutes realized they were alone with candy and started stuffing their face with all of it (evil master minded geniuses of the future)
Delayed gratification is what we really have a problem with. We aren’t oracles, we can’t see into the future, we can’t say for certain whether or not saying no to this delicious treat in front of us now will result in a beach-ready body by summer, so we opt for instant gratification.
And that is where we fail.
Willpower has received a bad rep as of late. We’re told we’re denying ourselves, we’re making ourselves miserable, we’re torturing ourselves, yadda yadda yadda. But do you know who’s saying that? Other fat people trying to make themselves feel better for also caving in to instant gratification.
Delayed gratification is the best feeling you will ever have. Even on junk food days I still put this into effect. Yeah sure I could devour that cookie before I’m even out of the Tim’s drive through. Or, I can take my time. Enjoy having it in my presence. Enjoy knowing that I could eat that cookie at any second, but I am choosing not to. I’m not letting the cookie dictate my actions. I am the one in control.
Control is good. Control is the difference between gaining 5 pounds or losing 30 by the end of the year. It’s easy to practice small bursts of self control, but it’s constant vigilance that will make you come out on top.
Stop thinking of it as depriving yourself. That’s letting the cookie rule you. You rule the cookie. You tell that cookie when and where you’ll eat it, not the other way around. I don’t know about you, but as a child I always had boxes of Oreos and Fudgee-os and bags upon bags of chips in the cupboards. But I wouldn’t sit around all day thinking “Don’t eat the cookies. Don’t eat the cookies. Don’t eat the cookies.” Somewhere along the line, the control went from me to the food. In the last few years, if I knew there were cookies in the house, I was eating them until they were gone. No questions asked.
I still have trouble with it. That’s why I need to keep that food out of the house. I’m not depriving myself. I’m taking my power back. And you can too. Just remember:
You rule the cookie. The cookie does not rule you.
Your turn! What are some ways you’re taking your power back and enjoying that sense of delayed gratification? Sound off below!