Strong and Sexy is our monthly feature from Molly Galbraith of Girls Gone Strong and it features questions from readers of the TPS newsletter. Molly will answer at least one question each month on topics geared towards our female readers. Ladies, get those questions ready and reply back to the newsletter with them.
Hi Molly! First off, thank you for everything you and the GGS [Girls Gone Strong] girls do. I read all of your stuff and love it so much. But I have a question for you. With Christmas right around the corner and tons of holiday parties, I am finding it hard to stick to my diet. Everywhere I turn there are cookies and cakes and pies and wine! I feel so weak because I can’t resist it, and then I feel horrible about myself for not having any willpower. What should I do? Eat before I go? Skip the party? Please help. – Sandra W.
Hi Sandra! First off, thanks so much for the kind words. I am excited to hear that you follow my blog and the GGS website. I am afraid this may be published a bit after Christmas, but these rules apply to the rest of the time too, so I hope they are helpful.
First things first, let me acknowledge that I understand where you are coming from. I absolutely adore food and hate feeling deprived, and never want any of my clients to feel deprived either.
I have spent almost a decade paying close attention to what I eat and trying to keep a good balance between healthy and unhealthy foods. I am a junk-food junkie at heart and there is not much that excites me more than a big plate of yummy food!
Over the last 10 years I have had times where I only ate healthy food for weeks at a time and felt guilty if I ever gave into a craving. I have also had times where I have eaten something unhealthy only to spiral out of control for a week or two afterward.
Finding that balance between eating well and enjoying yourself is difficult. But it can be done.
Over the last several years I have recognized some of the best and worst tactics, in my opinion, for dealing with these situations. I hope that by sharing these with you, that you too will find a balance between eating for optimal health and body composition and enjoying yourself occasionally.
1. BEST CHOICE: Turn the food down and feel OK about it.
Tell yourself, “That food is not good for me; it doesn’t make me feel good, it doesn’t help me reach my goals, and heck… it’s not even something that I am craving right now! I am not going to eat it and I am proud of my decision and fine with it. ”
In this case I also like to remind myself over and over again that I could have it if I wanted to, and I am choosing not to. This makes the food less desirable as it is no longer forbidden. This is the best case because you are not eating the unhealthy food and you feel good about it.
2. NEXT BEST CHOICE: Eat the food and don’t worry about it.
You would tell yourself, “I am choosing to have this food as part of a balanced diet. I am having it because I want it, it’s delicious, it’s fine to indulge occasionally and I will be right back on my plan after I have it and it won’t negatively affect me at all. I am glad I decided to have it because I really enjoyed it.”
Obviously not eating the food would be slightly better for your body in most cases, but at least you really enjoyed it and felt good and confident about your decision.
3. BAD CHOICE: You don’t eat it and you are upset about it.
The reason you are not eating it is because you are beating yourself up about wanting it and you are talking negatively to yourself. You may saying things like, “You are too fat! You shouldn’t be eating that! Why don’t you have any willpower? You are disgusting! Only a pig would eat that! What is wrong with you?”
This leaves you feeling deprived, miserable and guilt that you even wanted the food in the first place and that’s never fun. You are also more likely to binge later if you are feeling deprived and emotionally ‘down.’
4. WORST CHOICE (and yet it’s probably what most of us do most often): Eat the food and then beat ourselves up about it.
At this point, we can’t resist it, we eat it (possibly a lot of it) and then we start guilt-tripping ourselves about eating it using phrases similar to the ones mentioned above, such as, “You are disgusting! I can’t believe you ate that! You are so weak! What is wrong with you? You aren’t going to fit in your clothes now! You’re such a pig! Who eats that much food anyway?”
As you can imagine this is an awful place to be. You may have even started a vicious cycle of binging, followed by guilt and shame, followed by more binging to temporarily relieve the pain, followed by more guilt and shame, followed by, well… you get the picture. It’s not pretty.
As you can see, the common denominator in the good choices is positive self-talk and being kind to yourself regardless of your decision. The common denominator in the bad choices is negative self-talk and hatred towards yourself and your body.
Be kind to yourself and treat your body right. Exercise and eat well 90% of the time because you love your body not because you hate your body! It’s the only one you have to work with, so treat it right and become the best version of yourself while allowing yourself to indulge and enjoy life every once in a while.
Molly Galbraith C.S.C.S.