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As a motivational speaker I was always dieting, I never believed I was eating lean enough. Lettuce, celery, and apples were the only foods I ate without a pang of guilt. Since I could never stay on that diet very long, custom-designed for a gerbil, I binged in frustration. In college, my car was littered with telltale wrappers from the Twinkies and Milky Ways I ate when no one was watching. A day was judged good or bad according to how I managed my war with food. Had I prevailed and eaten just fruit and salad? Or had I been ambushed by the enemy, chocolate? Yet, I never felt thin enough. Even when I finally achieved my elusive ideal weight of 110 pounds, I still saw my fat instead of my leanness.


Quiz:


Are You On The Perfect Diet ... for a Gerbil?


Do you rate your day by how well you waged your war with food?


Do you sneak food?


Find out if you are in the Cycle of Overeating



The Cycle of Overeating


Self-nagging is one of the most fattening things on the planet. It’s what drives the cycle of overeating. Debra Waterhouse, R.N., reports that according to a Stanford University study, weight loss doesn’t necessarily improve body image. Rather, the reverse is true: body acceptance—a low-criticism diet—is the best weight-loss program. The women who were the most at peace with their body were twice as likely to lose weight than those who were wildly dissatisfied with the way they looked. That’s why beating yourself up after eating some chocolate cake often leads to eating the entire cake.


Here’s how this works:


ANATOMY OF A BINGE


Step One: The Impossible Dream Syndrome. Glancing through the most recent copy of your favorite magazine, you take a good look at Madonna’s arms. You think your arms should look like that, forgetting about the army of workout trainers, Pilate’s teachers, and yoga instructors she has to help with those triceps. Those “shoulds” are a slippery bunch. Before you’ve had time to mull it over, they’ve got you comparing yourself to a picture in a magazine and coming out on the losing end. Then you assign yourself a Completely Impossible Task: “I will look like Madonna if it kills me. From now on I will never eat dessert.”


This leads to Step Two: The Wrong, Wrong, Wrong Syndrome. When you decree an unrealistic expectation for yourself, you are setting yourself up to fail. If you are a human being, at some point you will probably eat a piece of cake. Sure enough, at some point you yield to that slice of orange pecan torte with lemon frosting smiling at you from the dessert tray.


Breaking your promise to yourself sends you right into Step Three: The Scolding Syndrome: “You are such a fat slob. You ate cake again. What a disgusting loser.”


To lessen the pain of flogging yourself emotionally, you go into Step Four: The Oh, Screw It Syndrome. “Why bother. I blew my diet already. I think I will eat the entire tray of desserts.” Afterward, when you see the wreckage of a room strewn with crumbs, you get so disgusted that you declare you will never touch a morsel of dessert again; you’re going for Madonna arms—and the cycle begins anew.



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