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I was good on vacation, but I’m being bad at home!

Dear Georgie,  Help! I have had a bad 5 or 6 days. There have been croissants, gigantic proportions, and loads of Easter candy!! The frustrating thing is I did better on vacation than I did last week. Almost like I was making up for not being as bad while we were traveling. -toomanyjellybeans

 angel_and_devil_by_dodolog-d3dn3rvDear Jellybeans, It’s okay to have rough stretches, they teach us stuff. (And they happen to everyone!)

I think you’ve been tripped up a bit by thinking about your eating behaviors ethically, “being good” vs “being bad”. The trouble with that dichotomy is that if you feel like you’ve “been good” it has an undercurrent of wanting to be a little bad, or feeling like you’ve “earned” it or “deserve” it. (Which also enhances the desirability of the junk food, because you’re saying eating unhealthy things is something desirable that you have to earn.)

If you said “I have to work really hard this week and obey the rules and then I’ll earn the right to wear my purple shirt!” you’re implying that your purple shirt is somehow better than your other shirts, when really, you can wear whatever color you want any day.

I recommend thinking in terms of outcomes and habits instead of ethics. If you eat less calories you lose weight. If you eat more calories you gain weight. No matter what you did the day or week before, today’s intake brings you closer to your goals, or it doesn’t. Instead of telling yourself “I missed out on the junk food on vacation so gigantic portions today are okay,” how about trying, “The more I practice making healthy decisions and choosing moderate portions, the easier it gets to keep doing that.”  ?

If you just thought about your food choices it as practicing habits, and kept in mind that the more you practice them the easier and more automatic they get, it may work better for you. What do you think?

Ps – THIS DAY is good practice too. Right now you are practicing steering your mindset to regroup after a slip. Great job!

(Fabulous artwork by Dodolog)

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  • Georgie April 17, 2014, 9:58 am

    Glad it was helpful to you, Megan!! Rest assured, people tell me every day “I am probably the only person with (insert struggle)” — but that is NEVER the case. I bet there’s always someone else working on what you are, or who has gotten past it to help you along. xo

  • Megan April 16, 2014, 10:26 pm

    I appreciate this SOOOO much! I thought I was the only one who ate SO good on vacation to completely ruin it when I return home. It’s so frustrating, because allowing myself to indulge on vacation would have been so much more enjoyable than the guilt associated with making poor food choices when I’m alone at home. Mind games are cray-cray!