Thought I'd share this old blog post by Skwigg:
I was looking at my sent e-mails and found some fun ones. It's kind of weird to post answers without questions, but the questions are the same as always - How do I stick to a diet? Why do I binge? What if I slip?
Lacking body confidence, not feeling sexy, and comparing yourself unfavorably to others is a self-esteem issue. It doesn't have anything to do with what you eat or what you weigh or how you actually look. It's a head thing and not a diet or exercise thing.
When you approach your meals and workouts thinking "I'm hot. I deserve this." you get a very different result than when you think. "I suck. My stomach sticks out. They're better than me. I should hide."
It's not any particular plan that makes the difference; it's how you think about yourself. It's possible that following a plan with rules and structure gave you a temporary kick of confidence and control that made you feel better, but it's that feeling that's important, not whether you got there by eating grilled chicken and dragging a cooler around, or by trusting yourself and being flexible.
I never diet, so it's pretty easy not to mess up something I'm not doing. :-) If you want to be lean and fit, you need to eat well every day. Some days I eat really incredibly well and some days I get creative with the Doritos and chocolate, but I'm always aware of what and how much I'm eating. I always do the best I can. I never "go on a diet" or "start tomorrow" or any of that. If you're thinking that way, you've already set yourself up to fail. Success is about your actions right now in the present moment. If you push it off onto what you may or may not do tomorrow, then you never get anywhere because, of course, tomorrow never really comes. It's just an idea that you can delay indefinitely.
When you fall into a pattern of either dieting or bingeing, a lot of times it means that your "diet" is too strict, too bland, too low in calories and completely unrealistic. To be successful, you have to enjoy your meals. You need the flexibility to eat out and to socialize. You need to include your favorite foods. You can't be a treat-deprived, clock-watching, tupperware-toting robot indefinitely. A lot of people can do that for a few days or weeks but when they lose it they really lose it. Think of it as an ongoing experiment. Sometimes you'll do better or worse, be more or less motivated, have more or less success. But you never just chuck it and say, "Well, that didn't work. I'm done." Somebody smart said, "There is no failure, only feedback." So, if you try something and it's a disaster or you don't get the results you want, that doesn't mean you've failed. It means you've identified something that doesn't work and now you can change it.
The important thing isn't how perfect you can be or how rigidly you can cling to your diet. The important thing is how you handle slip-ups. You want to get really good at making mistakes and getting right back on track. If you never learn how to "cheat" then you make one mistake, the guilt kicks, the bingeing starts and the whole cycle keeps repeating. You want to be the person who can have a piece of cake at a birthday party or a small popcorn at the movies, enjoy it, and carry on like nothing happened. You don't want to be the person who smells donuts and has a psychotic episode.