It takes discipline
You have to be disciplined in order to be committed to yourself and your goals
Discipline does not mean punishment. To be disciplined means being able to analyze what lead you to stray from your plan, and then take the proper actions to prevent it from reoccurring. If you stray from your diet plan, for instance, it's not because you don’t have willpower. You can have a lot of willpower and still have moments where you simply want to “cheat” and eat something not in your diet.
You let yourself eat those foods because you convince yourself that this time will be the last time ever. It’s never the last time though, is it? Ever notice how your strength and motivation skyrocket right after a slip up? It's a result of guilt. And everything is great during that time … until you fall off the wagon again.
Successful dieting comes from conscious thinking and reasoning. When the urge to eat pops in your brain, ask yourself why. What will eating this or that do for me? Beyond the momentary pleasure, how do I benefit from eating this? On the other hand, what will I gain by not eating this? I’ll tell you. You’ll gain victory. And in order to sway yourself into a self-controlled state, you’re going to have to gain several victories, consecutively.
You see, when you cheat on your diet, you condition your brain into believing that it’s okay to give in. So when the urge to eat crappy food is strong enough, that’s it -- you will give in. To break this habit, you have to be consistent in saying no to the craving. When you are consistent, you give that response strength and you know that there is no damn way that cookie craving is going to derail you from your plan. At no time should you ever be scared to be left alone with the cookie jar!
I’ve been involved in fitness for years, and throughout my time I've applied this disciplined attitude daily. I, too, used to struggle with chocolate bars, cookies and ice cream. But keeping all these triggers around me has helped me prove to myself they cannot throw me. Of course there were times I was close to giving in. It took practice, like being in school. I had all this junk food around until eventually it became "normal" to see it and not give in. And guess what? Once I was no longer "scared" of having these “foods” around, they lost their magic. Every day I had to tell myself, "Pauline, you go ahead, you can have it all. Just remember there is a consequence. Don't play games and tell yourself you have no idea why you are not as lean as you want to be.”
There was a time I tried to find reasons for why it was okay to give in and enjoy junk food. In fact, I even attempted to justify it by coming up with a list of 10 reasons in the midst of having a craving. Here’s the list:
1. It tastes sooo good.
2. It's Friday and now’s the perfect time to have a cheat.
3. It's comforting.
4. I love chocolate melting in my mouth.
5. I’m watching TV and need a snack.
6. I have shoot in a few weeks, so I better have it now if I want to have all.
Oh, and what do you know … that’s about where I ran out of reasons to justify it. Eating junk is only good for a little while, and then what? Eventually I was able to train myself “off “ of enjoying things that give only momentary pleasure. I became more interested in long-term benefits and enjoyment. The chocolate bar did not benefit me for the long term. I realized then that no food could help me if I was only using it to gain pleasure or to fill a void when I was down and out.
I practice living a disciplined life daily. But because I have practiced it for so long now, it doesn't feel like work; it's second nature to me. When someone asks why I don’t just have a bite of this or that, I don’t see the benefit. Period. Of course I know it won't “damage” my body, but what's really in it for me? What do I gain by eating that piece of chocolate or that cookie? Most people would say, “Well, it tastes good.” Fine. But I don’t just give in to whatever urge or desire I feel in the moment. I think about things, and I make decisions based on my commitments to myself. And that’s what it is – a commitment to yourself and your goals. It takes discipline to stick with it.