I was leaving Dunkin Donuts the other day, as the woman behind me ordered her coffee with Splenda. I began to think how our behavior sends constant messages to ourselves (sometimes consciously, sometimes not) and how these frequent messages add up.
Choosing Splenda or Sweet & Low or NutraSweet over sugar translates to, “I don’t deserve what I want, what I like, or what is available to me. I will settle for second best.”
Refusing to bring certain food items into your home (especially those you crave), or to have just a couple of cookies (because that would mean you wouldn’t stop) communicates, “I don’t trust myself.”
And exercising to the point of discomfort, pushing yourself when you’re tired, sick, or plain, just don’t want to, communicates, “I deserve to be uncomfortable and to be punished.”
Now, I know some people may prefer sugar substitutes, either for taste or the fact that they preserve their caloric intakes and their teeth. But, I’d argue that the taste is conditioned, the long-term carcinogenic properties of these substances still largely unknown, and the message that you’re sending to yourself the most dangerous of all. And I know that access to certain foods can lead to overeating—but doesn’t that just raise the need to address why that’s happening? And, finally, I know that sometimes, exercise can be enjoyable, but not when you’re tired or weak or pushing yourself beyond what your body is willing to give.
I don’t deserve what I want. I can’t trust myself. I need to be punished.
Repeat over and over—your self-esteem doesn’t stand a chance.
So, choose regular over diet, invite a bag of Cheetos into your home, and skip the gym. In the long-run, I think you’ll end up eating less, enjoying more—because you’ll believe you’re worth it.