Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Stop Lying to Yourself and Instantly Feel Better

I've been lying to myself for decades.

For the first time in my life, I'm tracking my daily caloric intake as part of my 2014 goal. My first oh-sh*t moment was when I logged 3,876 calories on Christmas Eve! That’s enough food for a small village in some countries. And to add insult to injury, I know for a fact that I forgot some things and incorrectly logged others. 

Lesson learned. From that moment on, I’ve been mindful about every bite I put in my mouth.

Fast forward to New Year's Day...what better way to celebrate the New Year, than with a huge American brunch? I was controlled. I only ate the foods that I really wanted. I ate just enough to enjoy myself. I didn’t overindulge in anything. I was so proud of myself :)

Then I logged the calories in my handy little app (noom)...Turns out reality is a b*tch! I just ate 80% of my daily calories and it was only 1pm.

This was my ah-ha moment of how I gained 25lbs in the past year. Without the numbers, I would’ve relied on how I felt and I was proud of myself for showing restraint; so, I would've gone about my day and eaten normally, which would’ve put me in the range of 2,400 calories—twice what I should be eating if I want to lose weight. Then at the end of the month, I would wonder why I’ve gained weight, when I’ve been so controlled—even felt deprived at times. 

Luckily, I was logging my calories! Knowing my numbers allows me to evaluate my options and make conscious and rational decisions to stay within my daily caloric intake. My choices are so much clearer now and I don’t waste my calories on foods that I don’t really enjoy.

My experience with calories is similar to the experience that some people have with their money: they don’t buy something, they feel good for having control, then they spend regularly the rest of the day/week/month, but when they pay their bills, there still isn’t enough money…then they throw up their hands and say they aren’t any good with money. It’s most likely because that one little cut isn’t enough.

Once you know the numbers, you can see the truth and make choices that make a difference. Then you can stop beating yourself up for things that you shouldn’t be beating yourself up about. 

Read more: Budget for the Life You Want. Get our free ideal life budget by subscribing to our newsletter here
-Leah Schonlank

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