One Sunday many years ago, I messed up with my eating.
My husband, Mike and I were driving home from church and I was hungry. Now usually, I will put an apple or banana in my purse so that I can eat it on the way home.
From experience, I’ve learned that I’m tempted to get fast food when I’m hungry during those times. Fast food is quick and I typically don’t feel like cooking much after serving at church.
So here I was after church without my normal backup plan. Visions of crispy, fried chicken danced in my head.
I usually put our main course in the crockpot before church so that it is ready by the time we get home.
But I didn’t do that either.
I told Mike that I wanted to go get the fried chicken. So we drove to the fast food place. We got the biscuits and the sides too. It was all delicious.
Now someone might say, “But Kim, you failed! That wasn’t healthy at all. Why don’t you just give up on living a healthy lifestyle? Just quit and live off fried chicken and biscuits forever!”
Actually, that “someone” would have been me back in the day. I had a bad case of “all or nothing” thinking.
Let me explain.
When a typical person decides to lose weight, they usually try to overhaul everything all at once. They do well for a couple of weeks on the new plan, but then they make a mistake, not doing things exactly according to plan.
Since they did not do everything perfectly, they discourage themselves and quit.
That’s how I used to be. I would turn a slip into a slide! The slide meant going all the way back to the same old habits that made me gain weight at the beginning.
In hindsight, that made about as much sense as slipping on the stairs and deciding to throw yourself down the rest of them!
When it comes to weight loss, perfection is not your goal; commitment is.
Check out the following calendar below that represents how the days might go for someone on a weight loss plan. The green days illustrate when they did most things right and the yellow days illustrate when they did most things wrong:
If you look at the above month, would you say that the person had a successful month? Most of us would say “Yes” because the person had more right days than wrong days.
However, someone with an “all or nothing” mentality would say “No.”
Why? Because they focus only on the mistakes the person made.
They fail to consider that as long as the person has more right days than wrong days, time is working on that person’s side!
Given enough “right” months, the person will succeed eventually.
I finally succeeded with weight loss when I took the option to quit off the table. I decided that I was determined to reach my ideal weight – giving the process the time it needed to complete.
I realized that if I had more right days than wrong days, I was going to win in the end.
Now that I’ve reached my goal, I take mistakes in stride. That particular Sunday was just another day in my life. In terms of my health choices, it wasn’t my best day. But it certainly wasn’t my worst!
My philosophy is that you can eat any food you want, but there is a proper time for it. For me, that fast food outing wasn’t the proper time.
Within each day are opportunities to learn from your successes and your mistakes. The key is – learn the lesson and move forward because you will have another day to make adjustments, God willing.
For me, that means packing a piece of fruit in my purse and deciding on a plan for Sunday dinner ahead of time. I will give myself plenty of time Sunday morning to prepare what we need for dinner.
Good planning will always beat great intentions!
An African Proverb says, “Don’t look where you fell. Look where you slipped.” My slip was in not giving myself enough time to plan and execute my “after church” strategy.
The point is – an “all or nothing” mentality just makes you want to quit when challenges occur. Let’s face it: Challenges will always happen.
But when they do, do not quit. Quitting is the 100% way that you won’t receive that for which you are believing. Say this with me: “As long as I don’t give up on myself, I will never fail!”
This is your life and you can go through it as you choose. The Lord says in Deuteronomy 30:19-20:
I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days…”
I choose life and blessing. How about you?
You may stumble on the path of life. Give yourself grace for mistakes. Commit to correcting them, being patient with yourself. But keep moving forward.
That is the surefire way to ultimate success!
Author of the Take Back Your Temple program
P.S. Are you struggling with the challenges of emotional eating? Many people with eating issues know what to do but have a hard time doing it. That is where you need a community that supports each other!