Sunday, June 13, 2010

When You Don’t Care Anymore

When You Don’t Care Anymore

by Linda Spangle, RN, MA

A couple of days ago, one of my clients decided she was done with dieting. Her explanation was, "Regardless of what I said last week, I just don't care anymore. I don't care about sticking with my diet or exercising. And I certainly don't care about working on my emotions or any other issues that I'm supposed to fix in order to manage my weight!"

Do you ever have times like that? When the weather is hot and sticky, you're tired of eating grilled chicken on a bed of lettuce, and your stress is going up because the kids are out of school for the summer, it's easy to throw up your hands and insist, "Losing weight is too hard, and I just don't care anymore!"

So you eat a triple-dip ice cream cone, skip your workout and buy junk food instead of salad ingredients at the grocery store. But even as you rip open the bag of chips, somewhere deep inside, you know you aren't ready to give up.

If you're struggling with "not caring," don't assume there's something wrong with you or that you lack willpower or self-discipline. Instead, take a look at what might be causing your emotional dip and figure out how to pump yourself back up.

Here are three easy steps to help you start caring again.

1. Figure out what’s bothering you

When you don't feel like sticking with your diet plan, it doesn't mean you don't care about losing weight. Instead, it's usually a sign that something else in life requires your attention. Think about what's demanding your energy and focus right now. Perhaps you're stressed and overworked. Or maybe you're dreading the rest of summer being filled with bored kids, vacations and out-of-town guests.

2. Do it anyway!

You don't stop being a parent because you're not in the mood. In the same way, you don't have to stop caring about your weight just because you have other things on your mind. So with your diet plan, widen the boundaries or relax the rules if you need to, but don't drop out of the game.

3. Focus on actions, not feelings

Don't assume you have to wait until your motivation returns. On days when you don't “feel like it,” get methodical about your dieting efforts. Eat some fruit instead of potato chips. Drag yourself out the door and take a walk. Even five or ten minutes of activity can brighten your mood.

At the end of the day, the outcome will be the same. Even if you didn't “feel” like doing these things, you still made progress!

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