What is the cornerstone of every diet? It’s the food list. Every diet has “yes” food and “no” food. The inventors of diets make it sound so noble and necessary to stick to the “yes food” list. The problem is, when a dieter deviates, they often get “last supper” mentality. My brain would say, “Well, I’ve already messed up my diet. So, I might as well have as much as I want of it because… this is the last time. I’m starting over in the morning (or on Monday).”
Something bad happens when I tell myself, “you can NOT eat that”. This is different from the things I choose not to eat. I choose not to eat meat and, because it’s a choice I willingly make, meat really has no draw for me. I’m not saying I don’t have the occasional thoughts of those coconut shrimp from Outback Steakhouse, but it’s fleeting and I know, I could have them if I really wanted them. On the other hand, when I tell myself, “you can only have X amount of this, or none of that,” I am setting myself up for a “last supper”.
The solution? Well, I’m now telling myself…
“YOU CAN EAT WHATEVER YOU WANT… PERIOD!”
There is no need to have a “last” time because I know I can have it again if I want it. Do you have any idea how awesome it feels to open a package of oreos and just eat two… without feeling guilty and without craving six more? Yeah, I had that happen the other day.
One of the best ways I’ve found to combat the last supper mentality is to come up with something you’ve considered a “no” food or a forbidden food and purchase more of it than you could physically eat in one sitting (learned this trick from Geneen Roth). The first time you do this, you may make yourself sick on it, but you will also realize that there is a natural limit to how much you can physically inhale. You are not a bottomless pit. There is a limit to your hunger. Of course, if you then beat yourself up for “overeating”, you’ll just set the diet cycle back into motion. What I say to myself with this part of the process is, “It’s ok, you’re proving to yourself that NO food is off limits.” I have polished off an entire bag of Sun Chips almost daily for the past week. Since I’ve already done this with other foods, I know this “Sun Chips phase” will pass.
I know the Sun Chips have another aspect that I’m rejecting when I break open the bag. I’m not measuring them. I have measured out my chips for years now. I would weigh them dutifully like I would weigh myself. No more. So, the Sun Chip thing is not just about eating the chips, but also about throwing out the scale. You see, not weighing them (even if I might have had fewer than if I weighed them), would trigger, “Well, I messed up my diet because I didn’t weigh my chips and I have no idea how many points I just ate… so I might as well eat everything I can get my hands on because this is the last time I’ll be ‘free’ for a while.” If you’re thinking, “that’s insane!” You are so right! I am free to choose what I want to eat, and how much. I don’t need some scale or points system or calorie allotment to give me permission to eat.
The only “last Supper” I want to think about is Christ’s. It’s time to stop crucifying myself for not sticking to some “approved” food list. Jesus has already set me free.