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When You Are Dieting, Is It Too Painful?

Posted Oct 24 2009 10:03pm

by Maria' s Last Diet

Your bad feeling about dieting is understandable. Experience has no doubt taught you that it has to be hard and uncomfortable. However, your past experience does not need to repeat itself in the future. You actually can diet without the pain and suffering.

Let’s take an example from something purely physical.

Kate was having a lot of trouble with one shoulder. When she raised her arm up or reached back or out to the side, she would feel pain in her shoulder. She was referred by her orthopedist to a physical therapist who was extremely helpful. The therapist gave Kate several specific exercises to do involving her shoulder. Here were the instructions about how to do them:

“As you do these exercises, stay aware of how they feel to you. If you begin to experience pain at all, back off a little – go slower, more gently, not as far. Get back to just below the pain. What this does is allow you to stretch in comfort. The comfortable stretch will enable you to have more range and capability the next time you do the exercises. It has a cumulative effect. Each time you will be able to go a little farther without hurting yourself.”

You can put this principle to work when you are dieting. It will help in losing the weight. Start out with a small, manageable step. For example, Nina told us she started by skipping dessert when she was out to dinner one evening. That’s all she did, nothing more. She missed it a little, but she was able to withstand the loss and not feel too deprived.

This may seem like a very small thing, but Nina took courage from it. Then she came up against a situation that felt too painful for her. She couldn’t even think about going to sleep without the feeling of being full. So she practiced thinking about this without actually giving up her bedtime snack of chips and soda.

She began to think that maybe she could do something about this snack trap of hers, and she tried going to bed one night minus a snack. That first night she tried it was too uncomfortable for her. She went back to just thinking about doing it.

Nina’s thinking got more creative and she decided to try once again. This time she kept to her bedtime snack attack, but answered it with mostly diet snacks. This was a stretch she could manage.

You see the pattern here―small steps, small changes, keeping pain and discomfort at bay, not doing anything too hard, no big changes until you work up to them.

It really makes sense. This is an effective way to change anything significant in your life. It is a good strategy for overcoming overeating.

Begin by making mini changes, taking baby steps that don’t upset your equilibrium. Build a path to your weight loss goal, going just a little farther each time, and you’re sure to get there without feeling pain.

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