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BennieEddie

From Diet To Turning To Junk Food - Struggling!

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How do you focus on motivating yourself to stick to a diet especially when you're going through stress. I'm struggling to fight the urges of wanting to turn to junk food as a coping mechanism. So difficult!!

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yes, so difficult.  About the only thing that works for me is to select 3-5 non junk food choices and stay with them. 

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My diet is like the Weight Watchers diet I guess.  I eat most things and as long as I meet my weight goal each day who cares?  Most diets don't work long term from my experience.  If my mind is craving a certain food there is a reason for that.  If I'm craving an ice cream cone and I give myself diet food that tastes like crap my mind gets mad and in the end I really get nowhere.  Probably 25 percent of the time when we crave food we actually need to eat.  Most of the time when we crave certain foods it's the brain's attempt at correcting a chemical imbalance in a way it feels worked before.  I think the Weight Watchers way works best long term but you have to learn control and you also have to figure out a long list of things to cope other than just food like exercise or anything you like to do.  Do those things first and leave food as a last resort coping mechanism.

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I honestly thought of the effect junk food could be having on my physical appearance to encourage myself to eat better. I’ve always been underweight, but I have bad, oily skin, my teeth started to decay when I was in high school, and I’ve had dark circles under my eyes since I was in grammar school, possibly because I never ate properly. I weaned myself off cakes, cookies, potato chips, etc. a few years ago by substituting them with peanut butter on rice cakes or green apples (since they have a lower glycemic index), low-sugar protein bars, and low-sugar yogurt (although high in fat). I was eating sugar free candies, but stopped since they’re essentially laxatives. I still struggle sometimes to avoid white flower. There are a lot of white breads and crackers in my household, and when there’s nothing else I often end up eating them. 

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3 hours ago, BennieEddie said:

How do you focus on motivating yourself to stick to a diet especially when you're going through stress. I'm struggling to fight the urges of wanting to turn to junk food as a coping mechanism. So difficult!!

I sympathize completely. Stress and anxiety creates a need to get relief right now. This is when we typically seek out problem behaviors and substituting those with coping strategies takes effort and also self-compassion.

I'm convinced taking the long view on weight loss is the best strategy. Diets can work for the short term but over long periods of time (3 years), people who lost weight on diets put it back on again. The number who do is as high as 97% and the weight loss industry makes it's money off of our failures. 

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For me I lost the weight with the Atkins diet which is the diet they gave mom to lose weight before her weight loss surgery.  We lived together so we did the diet together.  She pretty much stuck to the Atkins diet the whole time and lost over 200 pounds.  I couldn't stick to Atkins and I switched to doing things like Weight Watchers as a lifestyle.  I lost 150 pounds and have kept it off for a good while now.

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Keep some healthy (or healthier) alternatives around. Your favorite fruit with yogurt or chocolate hummus. Granola bars. Smartfood popcorn. Fry up a banana or smear it with peanut butter. Today I'm going to make banana oat cookies with stevia and dark chocolate chips. And there's an ice cream parlor near me that serves several flavors of D'Lites low cal ice cream and it's good, especially with nuts. You can find some other examples on Pinterest.

And I used to think all diet sodas were gross but diet root beer is great, and is so diet cream soda, diet cranberry gingerale, Bai drinks, Vitamin Water Zero, and Lipton Diet Peach Ice Tea, among others. If  you live near a Publix, there diet sweet tea is so good. Experiment to see what you like.

But here's the most important thing. Don't consider a binge or a greasy fast food meal as a failure and reason to give up. Consider it a treat and then get back on the horse as soon as you can. The more you practice healthy eating habits, the more it becomes second nature. And give yourself a cheat meal every once in a while. I used to keep hershey's kisses in the house when I had a chocolate craving; I'd let myself have a couple at a time. I still managed to lose weight.

Good luck, and try not to be hard on yourself.

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