EGAD! I Caved! Battling the Hunger Demon: Tip #6

This is the last of the key ways to dealing with hunger issues. Here is another challenge you’ll face and some strategies to deal with it. This was my Liz Climo daily calendar cartoon yesterday. I couldn’t resist posting it, given how relevant it is to the Battling the Hunger Demon posts.

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Accept that sometimes you will cave.
Every time I felt challenged during my lifestyle change, I would ask myself, “Am I happier today with my lifestyle than I was before I started?”. The answer was always “Yes!”, even though some days were really, really rough.

Knowing you will have a lapse here and there should not be an excuse to make it happen. Unbridled bingeing should be a rare occurrence, the result of weeks of deprivation that drives you to the edge. How many times have you cheated before, only for it to derail your whole diet? A lifestyle change means establishing sustainable patterns, so avoid the temptation to cheat. Remind yourself that you’ve done this many times before and it’s just not worth it. Try to wait 10 minutes, diverting your attention to anything else before giving in to whatever seemed so irresistible.

I Failed. I Gave In.
A time will come when you’ll cave and eat until you’ve gorged yourself. I know this from personal experience. More than once my stomach overruled my better judgment, refusing to cooperate until I finally gave in. For some reason, to this day, one time in particular sticks in my head. It was late afternoon and I was miserably hungry. Nothing diverted or distracted me. I opened a new box of Cinnamon Life Cereal that I’d bought to portion out for breakfast, and just started scarfing it down by the handful. I ate half of the box! I was no longer starving, but I was still miserable because I felt horrible for caving into my hunger.

Forgive Yourself
We are capable of saying the most hurtful, horrible things to ourselves that we would probably never say to someone else. We are really good at beating ourselves up because we know exactly where to throw the punches. When you do end up binging, instead of running that same abusive script through your head, think about how you would respond to another person who binged.

The most important thing is to accept it for what it is-your body revolting against your plan to eat less-and go back to the regimen at the next meal, no matter what. DO NOT skip the next meal. DO NOT fast the next day to make up for it. Yes, you will feel bad. Yes, you’ll feel guilty and full and fat and terrible, and all those other awful things you tell yourself.

But it’s not the end of the world unless you let it be. Immediately resume your lifestyle change and avoid falling into that same pattern of thinking that resulted in failure all those times you’ve dieted. This is a lifestyle change. You will encounter situations in your life when you will over-indulge. It will happen because–and this may come as a shock–you’re not perfect!, but it does not have to define how you spend the rest of your life.

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