Nearly every day someone tells me that they can’t do something until they lose weight. Whether it is buying new clothes, going on a vacation or just allowing themselves to be happy, their goal seems to hinge on weight loss. Some people won’t allow themselves anything until they lose weight. They seem to hold it out as some sort of holy grail hoping it will be just the motivation they need to make changes in their eating and physical activity to achieve weight loss. If this is you, how well is that working? Probably not well. When you deprive yourself of things based on your weight, you just head right back into that shame cycle you have heard me yammer on and on about. When is enough, enough???
What are you putting off until you lose weight? Ask yourself why. Is it meant to be a reward or punishment? Are you purposely depriving yourself in the hope that it will motivate you? I’m not saying that rewards aren’t a good idea. Sometimes it is helpful to put off buying new workout clothes until you have met your physical activity goals for a couple of weeks. If you don’t have the intention to follow through with an exercise goal, spending a bunch of money on the front end is just going to feel like another failure. On the other hand, continually depriving yourself of things that you want because your body isn’t where you want it to be probably won’t be the incentive you need. Instead, spend energy on building yourself up, telling yourself that you deserve good things and treating yourself as if that is true. Sometimes that means faking it until you make it. Afterall, if you don’t treat yourself as worthy, why would anyone else? In short, keep an eye on whether your decision to delay gratification for something you want is truly motivating or just adding to the shame you already feel.