If you find yourself desperate to lose weight for a special event and it is stealing your joy, it is time to stop dieting and focus on what matters most.
We’ve all been there– a looming special event takes your everyday extra weight and turns it into an evil arch nemesis who must be destroyed!
Maybe it is a class reunion, a cruise, or a beach vacation on the books.
You should be excited, but your childlike anticipation turns to angst with the flip of a switch or a look in the mirror. A date on the calendar that you’d love to look forward to has become a driving force of diet and dread.
There is a desperate urgency to get this body fat OFF– “Operation Weight Loss Deadline” has ensued.
I am a sucker for a Cinderella story where the unexpected happens and the one who was once overlooked has become the center of envied attention.
This story can come in many forms. From the rewarded persistence we see in a sports movie to the single mom who prevails over an irresponsible corporation. Fairy-tale endings are what keep us coming back to the big screen and opening up our wallets.
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Oddly, fitness infomercials and diet books are rather similar.
These programs promise us outcomes that feel like our happily ever after.
We imagine that the pressure of a deadline will have us walking in discipline and self-control like never before. We believe that we will move, talk and interact with food and exercise in a completely different way. But, the truth is– these skills take practice.
Truly, this hook has swept us off our feet.
Short term goals and the means by which we strive for those weight loss deadlines miss one very crucial point:
The outcome we desire in the timeframe we require needs near-perfect adherence to our chosen plan.
For 99.9% of us, it’s not realistic to eat “perfectly.”
This factor is especially important if you have had a negative dieting experience in your past. This pressure in and of itself may be enough to cause you to overeat. Perceiving that you’ve violated your plan, you may continue to eat even more.
Let’s be clear– adding stress to food is never a good thing. It’s a vicious cycle that completely misses the point, and our attempt to add more to our world is only making it smaller.
Why does this overeating backlash happen?
When foods are considered “off limits” they become super-charged in our minds, making them even more challenging to resist.
Even if you can pull it off for your goal, how do you stop dieting? Can you actually avoid these foods forever? Do you even want to? Surely this is food for thought.
It is easy to get pulled in by the line of perfection.
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I feel like the saddest part of deadlining events is that this self-focus robs us of the joy found in the event itself.
We may even dread it or end up avoiding the fun altogether.
In times like this, when all we can think about is ourselves and our perceived inadequacies, we lose the joyful anticipation of seeing friends, visiting new places, or having novel experiences.
Those are the very reasons that we save for and make these arrangements in the first place! We’re sunk.
The Lifeline to Stop Dieting
We find our glimmer of light in changing our focus and moving our imagination. When we turn our inward thinking outward, everything changes.
When we make the experience about the experience we can excitedly look forward to our time away.
Rather than getting caught up in mental imagery of walking into a room and feeling judged because of some extra weight, think about exuding confidence because you are there to enjoy the event and to connect with others.
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.Galatians 5:13 (ESV)
Imagine the laughing. Let yourself feel the joy that comes from nurturing your relationship with others. Picture friends and family walking away from your interactions feeling better about themselves because of YOU.
Your lifeline is your ability to make others feel welcome, to share the love of Christ, to relax, and to simply BE on vacation.
Write Your Own Fairy-Tale Ending
As you can see, focusing solely on losing weight or getting fit for a special event can cause so much pressure and stress that it actually works against the very thing we were looking to accomplish.
Rather than honing in on the event itself, think about the build-up to the event. Choose joy, and peace, and the radiant beauty that comes from love self-care and a heart for others.
Take this time to be quiet before the Lord, to pray, to slow down and walk away refreshed.
And, the incredible thing is that when you reduce stress, focus on what matters, and find your peace, eating less and losing weight will be possible and probable!
If you’re looking for a lifeline to help you stop dieting so that you can fully live out the purpose God has for your life, check out The Ultimate 12-Week Healthy Habit Goal Setting Planner. In it, you will find the tools you need to be your healthiest and happiest self with no diet drama!
Brandice Lardner is a Certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach, Author, Amazon #1 Best Selling Author, and Jesus Girl whose mission in life is to help women ditch the diet mentality and find peace with food and their bodies so that they are better equipped to do the great things God has called them to do.