March 25, 2013 by Lauren Grider
Maybe you didn’t make it to the gym yesterday. Maybe you made a poor food choice. Or maybe you went to Mezza Luna, ordered a gourmet cheese pizza, and ate the whole thing (like I did several weeks ago). Whatever the case, what are you going to do about it? Well, I’ll tell you what I used to do in these situations: beat myself up, become depressed, fall off the wagon, gain 30 lbs. In that order. I’m here to tell you that it is okay to eat the whole thing every once in a while as long as you give yourself a break and don’t tear yourself down.
People that I am around every day, mostly the people I work with, often tell me that I have great will power. Some even occasionally accuse me of depriving myself while on my “diet.” Oddly, it is often the same accusers who continually try to get me to make poor food choices, but that is a discussion for another day. So, do I have ridiculously outrageous will power? Obviously not given the whole cheese pizza situation. No, I give myself a break and have what I really want when I really want it, and I just say no when I don’t have to have a treat. I really think that this is the key to longterm weight control and a healthy lifestyle. Do you really want it? Is it worth it? If yes, then go ahead and dive in. If no, then skip it.
My success doesn’t have much to do with willpower. Or, at least my longterm success doesn’t. The more good choices you make, the easier it is to continue making good choices. But, I find that indulging myself is often a great motivator. I have progressed to the point that I can have an “off” day every once in a while, or sometimes several in a row, and get back on track and keep going without berating myself.
Need more substantial evidence?
Researchers have found that when people are kind to themselves, displaying self-compassion, they are happier and even tend to eat less when confronted with temptation: Go Easy on Yourself, a New Wave of Research Urges
Additionally, remind yourself that research has shown that people who allow themselves a treat within their daily calorie allotment have more long-term success and lose more weight in the long run: Treat Yourself: Eating Dessert at Breakfast Can Aid Weight Loss