For me, a rut is when you get shoved out of what you want to be doing into what you don’t want to be doing, but it’s easier to wallow in the rut for a while than to actually take the effort to climb out and get yourself back on track. This used to happen to me on a weekly basis.
I believe, when it comes to “dieting” getting yourself stuck in a rut is to be expected, because most likely, you’re feeling left out, deprived, unsatisfied, and maybe even flat out hungry. You tell yourself that you’re dieting for a reason, that the “pain” is necessary for the gain; but there’s a part of your brain that feels like this is just wrong and cruel and it wants you to break free. It wants you to reach for that phone and call Dominoes, or make that late night run to McDonald’s. I think in its own way, a rut is your body telling you that what you’re doing is not really working and it’s time for a reassessment.
But what do you do then? Chances are, you’re trying to lose weight, so giving in to your cravings of obvious bad food choices is probably not going to help anything.
So, here are some tips for you.
- Examine your craving. Truly break it down. If it’s pizza you think you want, what is it about the pizza that appeals to you? Is it the actual food, the carbs, the cheese, the tomato sauce? Or does it go deeper, perhaps. Are you feeling emotionally strained and is pizza something that in the past you have associated with being happy or carefree? It may seem silly at first, but food can hold a very strong emotional place in our lives, as it tangles up two very big senses: taste and smell. Understanding that you may not actually want this food, but rather the feelings and memories it brings back to you, is a huge thing and can be empowering.
- What are you eating these days? If you are following a severely restricted eating plan, you may need to reevaluate this. Your body could be needing something essential that it’s not getting. Are you craving carbs? Sugar? Salt? Fat? Pay attention. Your body knows what it needs, though it doesn’t always communicate it in the most straight forward of ways. If you are having a craving, there’s a pretty good chance you need to make a small adjustment and make sure your body is fueled properly.
- Do it. This is something that I sometimes do myself and recommend to some of my clients. Go ahead and eat whatever it is you want. But do it scientifically. Do it in a way that doesn’t allow you to wallow and luxuriate in it. For example, after a very long time of not having any processed food or fast food at all, I found myself wanting a Subway sandwich. Badly. So I went for it. But I weighed myself before I ate it and thirty minutes after. Guess what? I had bloated up an entire four pounds. And my belly was huge. Then I weighed myself again the next morning and I was a solid two and a half pounds heavier (not permanently, but still!). This showed me that the taste of the Subway sandwich wasn’t worth the distress on my body. Do you hate bloating up four pounds after eating? Then trust me, your body hates it even more.
Now, clearly exercise is a good way to distract yourself from eating poorly, but I’m not putting distractors in here because I don’t want you to distract yourself from your craving – rather, try to understand it, break it down, and fix it.
I hope you guys find that helpful!