Karen has been my Weight Watchers leader -- off and on -- for more years than I care to admit. So when she gave it up last month, it became an issue for me.
I miss Karen and her sage advice, especially when I am in one of my diet "moods." So I emailed her yesterday, and once again, she gave me some words to ponder.
I asked her why I can be so good for so long, and then bam -- one day I wake up and start eating.
Karen, now speaking as what she calls a "civilian," says that when dieting, we eliminate things that we love eating -- something we can do for a time. Every now and then, Karen suggests you eat some of those non-diet foods. The key: You have to plan. Sure, it might extend your weight-loss journey, but it makes you happier.
"It may be slower but it helps manage any feelings of deprivation," Karen writes. "It seems to help me handle my portions and frequency of these kinds of things if I plan for them. I can look forward to them without the guilt."
It's the last word that hit me like a brick. Guilt. I sure have that when my eating is not stellar. And could it be the guilt that sends me into a dieting tizzy?
There are not enough shrinks in the world to make me understand my guilt. It comes from my childhood, growing up Catholic educated in a half Irish/Half Jewish neighborhood where everyone was guilty of some indiscretion daily -- usually more than once a day. In some odd way, it's comfort food for my soul. It's just that familiar. And we all know how comfort food can pack on the pounds.
I actually have never thought about how guilt has probably impacted my eating today. And I am certainly not going to dwell on it. Today, I am content to think about guilt, and to try to eliminate it from my being. It will probably be similar to cutting off my right arm, but hey, it's time to let go of that five-letter word.
It's time to stop feeling guilty. Guilt should be saved for the really bad things you do in life, certainly not eating a bag of Twizzlers. Instead, I will really try to plan for some diet bumps, recognize that they are part of life, and keep traveling down the good eating road. If I stay on course, I will eventually reach my goal. And if I eliminate guilt, when I get there, instead of being road weary, I will be wearing a big smile.
Guilt is not comfort; it is destructive.