|sometimes yes, sometimes no
I’ve spent hundreds, maybe even thousands of hours uttering phrases like, “stop beating yourself up” or “don’t be so hard on yourself.” And, chances are, I’ll happily spend thousands more. Not only is self-criticism unpleasant, it also hurts you in the weight loss department. Let’s face it “you suck” and all its variants isn’t going to motivate you to do anything well. I think one of the most important things we do for clients, at Foodtrainers, is cheerlead a bit (the only form of cheerleading I’m on board with). Let’s fixate on the positive…to a certain extent.
You want to know what’s just as bad as being too hard on yourself? It may surprise you because being too easy on yourself isn’t strategic either. Every week I ‘Foodstalk” a group of clients. These clients send me a report every night and I respond in the morning. This past weekend, a client we’ll call “A”, as in anonymous, send me a food log. It wasn’t a pretty one. I am always glass half full for others but there were no fruits, no veg, mostly fried and white foods. Usually, if a client goes off there “off-ness it is outweighed by their on-ness. So, if there’s a slip, there are many other things that show effort. Anyway, A commented “could’ve been worse.” If this wasn’t a pattern for A, I would’ve said nothing. However, “could’ve been worse” is not going to help A reach her goals.
So, I took a deep breath and said “I have to disagree.” Sure, it could’ve been worse but if your child gets a C- but could’ve received an F, you’re not going to look at the bright side. I don’t believe in perfection but you have to raise the bar to a level that is realistic yet leaves you progressing and pleased. Because I’m sexist when it comes to food behaviors, I’ll have you know that men subscribe to this “could’ve been worse” mentality more often. I explained to A the places I felt she could’ve improved things and the advance planning that would’ve helped
As often happens, A emailed me “you’re so right” when I take a step back there are a lot of things I could’ve done better. The point is not that I’m right but that, when pointed out, A realized a little effort would’ve helped a lot