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Why can’t we do what’s good for us? May 3, 2010

Posted by Christine Coleman in Weight loss.

It makes perfect sense: when we eat well, we feel well. When we get enough sleep, we’re more alert and productive throughout the day. When we exercise, we feel energized. So why do we torture ourselves and not do these things? Why can’t we do what we know is good for us?

It’s the perfect Monday topic, since I spent the weekend overindulging. That is my downfall: eating poorly on the weekends. (And I know I’m not alone!) Mondays through Thursdays are no problem – eat really well, exercise, lose a pound or two. Then comes Friday. I’ve been good all week, so I’m going out to lunch today! (I have an unnatural love of Hardees cheeseburgers.) I could really use a candy bar to get me through the afternoon! How about a couple of beers after work? Wow, pizza sounds really good! On and on all weekend …

While I do exercise on Saturdays, and that tends to be my day to push myself running, even a run turns into a way to sabotage myself. For example, two days I ago I ran for more than 25 minutes straight, going more than two miles in the process. My motivator for the last mile was surprisingly not Chris Carpenter. Not this time. Instead it was the dark cherry mocha I saw advertised a week ago at Starbucks (when I was treating myself to a white chocolate mocha as a reward for getting up early to finish the book for my book group a couple hours later). Finish without walking, you can go to Starbucks when you’re done! I did. The cherry mocha was good, but still doesn’t beat the 400-plus calorie white chocolate mocha.

I order these mochas decaf, since caffeine is another of my battles. Several years ago, I started getting weird pains in my stomach. I went to the doctor and his first question was if I had a lot of caffeine. Yes, of course – a pot of coffee every morning before work, a diet soda or two during the day. He told me to stop having caffeine and, if the pains didn’t go away, to come back. Giving up caffeine was torture. The headaches for the first day or two were one thing, and expected. What I hadn’t known about was the lethargic feeling for a couple days after that. Once it passed, however, I felt good. No more pains. And I was able to successfully avoid coffee and caffeinated diet soda for quite a while. But one day, I was really tired at work. A Diet Coke would probably (and did) help. Then, the next day, it sounded good again. The following day, another … and now I might as well buy a 12-pack at the grocery store instead of spending 60 cents in the vending machine each day. I’ve now lost track of the number of times I get off this caffeine carousel – whenever the stomach pains return – only to get back on again within a week or so. If I would get enough sleep, it would help more. But it’s baseball season now! How can I go to bed early when the Cardinals are still playing?

Obviously I know what’s right eating-wise, and can manage to do it. I have been more disciplined – I did lose more than 60 pounds from June 2002 to March 2003. And, looking back, it seemed almost easy. The success I had in the first week built upon itself: the slightly smaller number on the scale, the leader writing the numbers on my chart and praising me, and literally getting a gold star to put on that chart motivated me week after week and month after month. Not every week was a success, but overall it added up. I still remember the day I finally reached my goal weight. Such an accomplishment, since so few at my Weight Watchers meetings ever did. A friend was going to meetings with me at the time, so she shared in my success. And how did we celebrate my goal? By going out for Mexican food and margaritas, of course!

Within a few years, I ended up gaining about 20 pounds back but refocused and lost 10. Once I did get back to my goal weight for a short period of time – running definitely helped there – but gained that 10 pounds again. Last year, after my Dad died, I gained another 10. So now I’ve been battling 20 pounds for more than a year. I’ll lose some, feel good, but then allow myself to overindulge during the week as well as on weekends and be back where I started. Such a frustration, because it’s such a cycle. I get disappointed in myself for bad choices, which just leads to more bad choices …

I wish I could answer those questions in the first paragraph, come up with a simple solution for myself and everyone else. But the truth, as we all know, is there is no easy way. No magic pill exists to instantly make us alert, thin and feeling good – despite what infomercials may try to tell us. It starts in our heads, starts with our minds, starts with making smart decisions.

One day at a time, one decision at a time.



1. Erika - May 3, 2010

I’m cheering for you! Lots of people have the exact same struggle. You are doing great!!

2. linda - May 3, 2010

Well, how did you get in my head this morning? I was just reflecting on what a binge weekend it was for me. Enough (really good) bad-for-me food that I was looking forward to getting home yesterday and having something lighter, and healthy, along with the fresh asparagus just given to me…until someone mentioned a garlic chicken pizza…. And so, it’s Monday. And we start again.

3. Eileen - May 3, 2010

I’m with Linda, I too was just reflecting on the bad choices I made this weekend(especially those Kitchen whatever potato chips) when I saw your blog. You have been such an inspiration to me — so again,
One day at a time, one decision at a time.

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