Monday, February 7, 2011

Stop Tricking Yourself

The more I think about it, the more I believe that a big problem for many of us is being honest with ourselves. And this is compounded in the blogosphere, or on weight loss forums, where you write publicly and share (some of) what you are eating and how you are doing. I am convinced there are a lot of omissions and even dishonesty in such venues, simply because we do NOT want to fess up and admit that we are having a problem.

Let's say that you do usually share your progress and eating on your blog or your forum. Have you ever overdone it, eaten a load of crap, and then just conveniently "forgotten" to add that info to your blog entry? What I mean is, you put up a post. You share all the food you ate, total it up, and say something like, "today was a great day! I ate 1525 calories." And then 20 minutes later you are snarfing Oreos? But you never add that in there. Or maybe you just skip the blog that day, or for a few days. Maybe you don't post the bad weigh in, or fudge your numbers a bit. Why? Who is this benefiting? NO ONE. Not you, and not your readers and forum friends. You are tricking YOURSELF into 'forgetting' your mistakes, and you are leading others to believe you are eating healthy and stalled out for no good reason.

Even worse, I think, is the excuse making mode. You see a cupcake. You want it. You resist. You can hardly stand it. You give in and eat it. And then you go on your blog or forum and say "oh, I decided to have a cupcake today! I did great all week, it was a deserved indulgence and I enjoyed every bite!" Excuse me?? Is this really true?? Think about it. Yes, some folks *do* have PLANNED indulgences and it works for them. I'm not here to judge. But if you *screw up* and feel bad about it and wish you hadn't, then SAY SO. Don't try and justify it. Don't try and make it sound like you *meant* to do it. Like it was part of your plan. "Oh I had a bowl of chips the other day and it fit into my plan just fine" might be true or it might be a load of garbage. Only you know the truth. But if you were *resisting* a food, or felt bad about eating it, or if you KNOW it was not part of your *real* plan, then quit tricking yourself and everyone else by trying to turn a mistake into some kind of awesome dieting tactic. Let's be real.

Of course, none of us HAS to share what we eat, or our weights, or anything else we don't want to. Many of us choose to do so on forums or blogs, and once we make that choice I do believe we have the responsibility to be HONEST. If you don't want people to know about your screw ups, that's okay. Make the blog private, or just say you had a bad day and leave it at that. But don't lie, for pete's sake. Who benefits from the trickery? Not you. Not anyone. And once you convince *yourself* that eating crap every so often is "just fine", you can bet it will be harder for you to get your mind straight and stay on your *real* plan... if it does not truly include candy bars and potato chips.

Sometimes it has been honestly painful for me to come here and admit what I have eaten or what I weight. When I gained 11 pounds in a week don't you think I'd have rather not said so? Do you think it has been easy for me to come here and admit day after day that I was eating crap back when I was stalled out for awhile? It's not easy. But it fosters SUCCESS. It fosters honesty and self reflection, even if some people want to be rude or condescending in your comments because they don't approve of what you are. So what? Ignore them, delete them, whatever. But for the sake of your own mental health and weight loss success, do not try and twist a screw up around and make it sound like you MEANT to do it and it is fine with you when it really is not.

I am going out to dinner tonight at a very nice restaurant tonight! I am excited and I know I can stay on plan there. I will update with my menu when I return, but I expect it to look something like this:

plain iced tea
fish (not fried)
steamed veggies
maybe a coffee with splenda for "dessert"

Have a great Monday!


Lily Fluffbottom said...

Thanks for the needed kick in the ass. I didn't stay accountable to myself or my blog this weekend, and I can feel it today. Saw the damage today as well. 4 lb gain over the weekend. Yikes.

Diana said...

So true! That's why I stopped posting my food tracking pages from Weight Watchers. I was horrified that I was perfect up until 10 or 11 p.m., then I'd consume more calories in an hour than I had all day. It's embarrassing.

I'm always 100% honest about my weight, which I know tells the true story. It's pretty darn obvious that I'm not always eating on plan or I'd be losing weight.

Sometimes I write about the binges, but sometimes not. I've noticed when I read about someone binging on a certain food I have a tendency to start obsessing about it. So I decided some things are better just not talked about all the time. I try to be honest, but omission isn't always the truth either. Although, I don't think people would believe the quantity of food I can consume.

It is funny how we keep winding up weighing the same. Hopefully we'll both get back down to where we were and then continue on.

When the world says, "Give up,"
Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."
~Author Unknown

Tiffany said...

This is a great post. Thank you. The only way we are going to break the cycles we are in is to be honest and address the problems. The truth sucks sometimes but you can't grow without a few pains along the way.

Ex Yo-Yo Dieter Debbie said...

I'm sure everyone has different reasons for blogging: support, new ideas, journaling, etc.

For me, anytime I don't want to put up my weight (which is daily) or what I ate is EXACTLY the time that I know I must post whatever I'm trying to hide.

As they say about addiction, "secrets keep you sick".

When I look at my own personal reasons for blogging, I know I can't lie - what's the point? If I can't give an honest account of what I'm doing, I'll never know what really works for me and what doesn't.

The truth can be mighty ugly sometimes, but for me, it's the only way I'll ever permanently get myself out of the vicious cycle yo-yo dieting.

Hope you enjoyed your dinner out!

Anonymous said...

That's what I love so much about you, Lyn, your complete honesty despite the haters. I like what Debbie says - "Secrets keep you sick."

I am and will be totally honest on my blog. My experience here though is that people are honest and then "some" people hate on them and/or post about what an idiot they are on their "perfect me" blog and that scares people away from posting their vulnerabilities. That makes me very sad, because I think most of us are here to discuss the real - good, bad and ugly.

I'm at the point in my life (thanks to my experiences on Blogger) that I don't give a crap about what "they" want to say - say ahead.

You know what's funny though. I see my name mentioned on other blogs and then I read comments from people who are nice to me on my blog slamming me on other blogs....whoa there, Fool me once shame on you...Fool me twice, shame on me. Let's just all help each other, people and leave the punishment up to each individual person. Okay, sorry Lyn, that's my 50 cents.

Kari said...

The honesty that you consistently show on blog is the reason that I have read it all the way through and taken such inspiration from it. The ups and downs are what make weight loss a struggle, and portraying the process as a cinch is damaging. Way to keep it real.

chris m said...

Really great post!
Looking forward to read about your food at the nice restaurant! Stay strong!

Courtney said...

Great post! It's difficult to be honest with ourselves, about so many things. But ignoring it doesn't un-do it or make something go away. Really, the only way to move forward is face facts, huh?!

Good work!!

Michele said...

Your post spoke to me today. I had that very experience today when I went in to update my blog with my week weigh in. I had the choice of being honest that I gained and didn't work out or lie. I chose to be honest and I am going to continue to do that. Thank you for keeping it real!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes you sound a little self-righteous...

Anonymous said...

I don't think you're self righteous at all!!! I think you are honest and no nonsense. Self righeous is saying "I eat perfectly every day." Honest writing is "I screwed up and ate X, Y, Z". You are always honest and that's what makes your blogs one of the best out there. Weight loss is not pretty or simple. It is complex and challenging and just when you've think you've figured it all out, life happens and you have a set back. I guess some people never have setbacks or challenges. Guess what? I don't care to read about them because it's just not honest and it's just not real.


losing_it said...

As usual, your post hit home for me.

It's such a slippery slope... the more you forget, the less you track, the less accountable you become.... before you know it you're back where you started.

I've fallen victim to this pattern so many times... even this past week/weekend.

In the comments, Ex Yo Yo Dieter Debbie posts "As they say about addiction, "secrets keep you sick".

it's so true.... and so sad the only one we're keeping secrets from is ourselves.

Princess Dieter said...

That anonymous commenter is sniffing some potent stuff if he/she thinks Lyn is "self-righteous." I have read this blog for 3 years and will continue to do so because Lyn is HONEST. When she does great, she says so. When she screws up, she says so. When she learns something, she reveals it. When she realizes she didn't exactly learn the lesson, she admits it.

I just don't understand the self-righteous tag unless "anonymous" is screwing up and keeping secrets and doesn't like being "twinged" by the blog entry's targeting this....

So, Lyn, keep being genuine and being inspirational to us...

Jes said...

Absolutely not self-righteous. Genuine and honest and that is exactly what your blog is for and how it benefits the most people! It's funny that you blog about this today - I just started my own blog and part of my post today is about this very thing and I have been thinking about it constantly. It's one of the things I know will be extremely hard for me and part of what I know has contributed to my bad habits and "justifications". Thanks for putting it right out there - I find your blog incredibly inspirational and REAL. Your starting weight was exactly my starting weight also.

Lyn said...


Hard to be self righteous when you screw up as much as I do :)

Lauren said...

I have been inspired by you on many things. This blog entry is amazing true..and helpful!

Thank you for in and day out to share your journey. It makes it easier to know I am not alone in this struggle.

Anonymous said...

LOL, Lyn, I think Anonymous is just a Troll.

Anonymous said...

That is one thing (among many) that I like about your blog: you are honest.


beerab said...

I hate when people disappear to be honest. I feel like um are you messing up? You doing good? Unless they are like "oh going on vacation see you in a few weeks" it makes me wonder why they are gone- most of the time it's cuz they are ashamed but to me I think if you are struggling you should be here EVEN MORE! I blog pretty much 5 days a week whether I do good or bad!

Emma said...

I think that's definitely some of the reason - that fear of failure - that wanting to be perfect. I also think it might be a bit about not wanting to beat ourselves up if we go off track. Though I think pretending it didn't happen is not the way to do it. How would you recommend being accountable but not dwelling on it? Often when I write blogs posts (I don't anymore - it's not for me) I will avoid writing about very specific occasions of binging because I dont want to dwell on it and make myself feel worse. I'll instead write some broader posts about binging more generally so I'm still dealing with my mistakes but not going into every gory details.

Big White Granny Panties said...


Anonymous said...

To anyone trying to lose weight being honest with yourself is crucial. It is super that you are so honest with yourself and the people following your blog. It is important to remind ourselves how important being honest is. But if others aren't honest that is their path, their problem. If you stick to the plan, whatever it is and add exercise you will lose the weight. You don't you won't. If the dishonesty bothers us we can choose not to follow it. Those bloggers that aren't honest may lose your support and the support of others. Their loss. In the end, why waste time reading or even commenting on them. To me it seems no different than *haters* you talk about on your blog. Honesty is important right?

Lyn said...

Anonymous (last one)~

not sure I follow what you're saying?

Lyn said...


I think an acknowledgement, a simple one, "I ate too much last night" or "I binged yesterday" or "I went off plan" is a good way to stay accountable; I think it is MOST important not to turn a mistake into an occasion to pretend it was *really* on your plan after all, if it wasn't.

Anonymous said...

I so agree with this post. I also think we are being dishonest with ourselves when we say things like "I was 100% on plan today "except"...

If there is an "except" then it's not 100% on plan. It seems like telling yourself you did great when you know you've cheated, even if it was just a small amount. 100% should mean 100%.

Just something I've found to be helpful for me. Honesty with myself helps me to do better. :)

Lyn said...


for me, since I am on Medifast, 100% is actually not a proclamation of perfection, but a philosophy some people on Medifast subscribe to while others don't. In fact there are forum groups of "100%-ers" who try diligently to stick to *exactly* the Medifast plan with no variation. So what I mean by "100% on plan" is that I am adhering to that philosophy myself and that I was successful at it for that day, "except" for whatever thing I mention.

Bunpoh said...

This hit a nerve with me. I feel bad because I abandoned my blog, after feeling too ashamed to update for a while. I'd decided to take some time off from weight loss and try to maintain, but boy, did I not. There was a lot going on in my life, too, but really, I wish I had just stuck with it. A tool is only useful if you use it. Thanks, Lyn.

Claudia said...

Very glad that I read this just now!!

Someone in the office has brought in homemade cheesecake, brownies and carrot cake, and so immediately, I was triggered...

I was telling myself, "Oh, just one little slice won't hurt. You've been good all week. ONE TINY SLICE. Come on. This NEVER happens. When is she going to bring in homemade cheesecake again? It's her'd be mean NOT to eat it as she's new to the team."

NO! No more excuses!!! I'm in 'rehab'!! And YES, that one slice WILL hurt my results right now. It'll just make me want more and I'd be lying to myself if I said I *wouldn't* feel bad after eating the 200-300 calories of junk food.

I had one bite of the cheesecake (literally, one *tiny* spoonfull) off of my colleagues plate just to taste, and then I walked away. And you know what, I'm *fine* now. I've tasted it and it's good. But that's all I needed, one taste. Not a whole plate.

I actually feel great right now!!! Very proud of myself. :-))))

Rosie said...

I'm one of those folks who genuinely does think it's "just fine" to eat really unhealthy junk food from time to time. Because part of my previous weight gain was to do with overindulging on particuarly unhealthy types of food, for me, it avoids the issue entirely to ban such foods from my diet, but that's another issue entirely.

With the matter of people avoiding talking about their slip-ups, or lying about them, depending on the person's motivation for doing that, it may not be a very constructive thing to do. I'm sure there's heaps of people who do trick themselves. But there are plenty of people who don't, and I think it's hard to judge when that is or isn't the case, from something like a blog post or message on an internet forum.

I suppose what I'm trying to get at is the importance of appreciating the huge variety of different perspectives that exist on this topic. For instance, when you say in your most recent post:

'I found I was perfectly satisfied sipping that hot coffee while others ate chocolate mousse. I did not feel deprived at all, and in fact thought, "this coffee tastes similar to chocolate and is probably even better because it is not overwhelmingly sweet."'

I completely believe that statement, I've no reason to distrust you. But if I didn't appreciate that we come from quite different perspectives with regards to our views on weight loss, it'd be easy for me to think, "yeah, right!". I know that personally, I wouldn't feel happy doing things like smelling bread but then not eating a bite if I really wanted it, but I can appreciate how that may not be the case at all for you. I suppose your equivalent might be the way you find it difficult to believe people when they say things like:

"oh, I decided to have a cupcake today! I did great all week, it was a deserved indulgence and I enjoyed every bite!"

...because I'm one of those people who does feel like that sometimes, even if it seems unbelievable or strange to other people. I don't associate eating junk food with failure because I'm getting to grips with eating it occasionally and in moderation, and so it's not much of a stretch, for me, to believe someone who says, "yeah, I ate something unhealthy, and really loved it".

I guess what I'm trying to say with this long, rambly comment is that I'm not sure how useful it is to attempt to focus on whether or not someone is lying or avoiding something based on what they're writing about online. Even in cases where someone is avoiding telling the truth about diet-related things they aren't happy with, there may be a huge number of reasons why, for them, writing in detail about their screw-ups may not be constructive, and they may instead choose to focus on the times when they're doing well. I think that's a completely valid perspective, but of course, it's just one of many!

Incidentally, I'm not trying to be critical of you, or your honesty about this issue at all (totally disagree with the comment above about you being "self-righteous", and from reading the comments, it seems as though loads of people have found this post a really helpful nudge in the right direction!). In fact, one of the reasons I enjoy coming back to this blog and reading it most days is because I do think we have really different perspectives and viewpoints, and I'd hate to be the sort of person that only exposes themselves to things they agree with all of the time!

Lyn said...


Oh I totally get your point! Some people *do* really eat cupcakes or chips once in awhile and are fine with it. I have no place judging someone else's plan.

What this post is trying to say is not anything about judging someone else's posts or blog or what they say. It is solely about judging *one's own* blog or posts. It is not directed at anyone in particular, but only an insight I had about the importance of being honest with ourselves.

So if anyone is taking this post and trying to judge ANY blog but their own, they're taking it out of context. It's meant for self reflection *only* and I do think that, used in that way, it can be helpful for many of us.

Thank you for your insights :)

Amy said...

It is a shame we, as a "dieting" society feel like we have to delude ourselves or justify it when we eat something "off plan". Sure, we want to reach our goals, but living within the confines of a diet is not a lifestyle change. I believe we need to make the changes as natural as our post-goal-weight lives will be, and for most people (of any size or background) it is normal to eat unhealthy foods once in a while. We need to stop beating ourselves up and just admit it and float past it, accept it as a part of life. The challenges you face on the journey will make the reward all the greater!

amy_joy81 said...


While I get that some might react negative to what you say thinking "Oh, what does she know" the reality is as someone who is for all intents and purposes a 'success story' you know a hell of a lot!

I like that you are honest and encourage others to be honest. The whole reason I started a weight loss blog was to publicly hold myself responsible - if I'm not honest what's the point? So I admit even when I've inhaled 2 pints of ice cream or eat mac'n'cheese for a week straight. After all, if I didn't write about it, people would still know when they look at me whether I'm losing weight or not...

As for the 'anonymous' poster screw them - the fact they didn't put their name should speak volumes. Brush it off and move on.

Keep up the good work :)

Anonymous said...

"As for the 'anonymous' poster screw them - the fact they didn't put their name should speak volumes. Brush it off and move on."

I hope that wasn't about me! I don't have an online profile with blogger so I don't know how to do anything but an anonymous post.

I guess I can at least sign my name on the bottom so I will from now on. I made the earlier comment about being 100%.

Lyn, I sure hope it didn't come across like I was saying that's how I felt when YOU say you've been 100% or anything. It's just a way that I am honest with myself and I wanted to share :)


Lyn said...

Anonymous (Liz)~

No, not at all! I am pretty sure people are reacting to the Anonymous comment that I am self righteous. It is pretty easy to hurl insults and not put a name behind them. Your comment was thoughtful and I appreciate it :)

Mary (A Merry Life) said...

I actually do go back and edit posts if I eat more or slip up after I posted. And I always post the desserts I eat on my food blog. Apparently my honesty in that regard (I'm very honest with myself about things) has lost me readers who didn't want to see me write about when I did that and made mistakes. I've always blogged honestly about my struggles with food and my weight. You don't know how many weeks I gained or maintained and admitted that on my blog (often to readers who weren't so nice). Ugh.

Anyway, I don't know what spurred your post but I totally agree. Honesty - even if it's ugly is the best way to go!

Anonymous said...

You know, this post really hit home for me, for a couple of reasons.

One is that it is a pet peeve of mine when people have a blog that is ABSLOUTELY focused on weight loss--but they never state their weight. S'up with that? They list how much they lose each week or month, but not how much they weigh.

The other reason is that this whole honesty thing has been a quandry for me. I started out with my blog being totally honest. I put my mistakes out there, in detail, for all to see--and my remorse about it. I used my blog to vent my frustartion, confusion, and pain.

And I got soooo many comments telling me to look at the bright side and be positive, that I quit being so open about my feelings.

I began to do what one commenter suggested--I noted that I went off plan and left it at that.

THEN, I quit noting it. I didn't say I'd done well--I just didn't say. My posts were about diet related issues or discoveries, but public exposure of the heart became far and few between.

That has bothered me. I still write a "putting it al out there" kind of post, but it is usually after much thought and working thru has occured. Not one in the midst of the struggle.

So this post has hit home with me saying, "yeah, I know. I hate that, too." It's just that I hate all of that "be positive" crap more. The TRUTH IS positive--even if it is the truth about failure.

I do undertand that ruly negtive, complaining, whining blogs that offer no hope are often not pleasant or healthy to read. We need a balanced way to reveal truth I suppose.

I did have a chuckle, tho. Something you said about if you cheat don't say that you loved it and it was wonderful. The way you worded that--it was almost the exact words you used when you described sitting in your car and downing a bag of M&Ms.

You may really have enjoyed it and felt good about it rather than faking it, but the repeat wording was interesting and did make my mouth drop open a second.

Us fat kids have it rough. Trying to find a balance is hard. Being honest with ourselves is harder-haddicts have trouble with telling lies to themselves let alone to others.
I'm always amazed at the crap I manage to convince myself of or avoid seeing until, somehow, a light comes on.

Thanks for this post; it has confirmed some of the thoughts I had just this morning about how I'm writing my blog, who I'm writing for, and when did I quit just writing for myself.


Casey said...

Not everyone has such strict plans as you. My "plan" includes living and never regretting indulgences or feeling guilty, but just getting on track after. I'm honest about what I eat and how my weeks go and always track weight, but I don't feel the need to blog every drink I had at my office party either.

I understand that you could be frustrated with others because you are so honest and transparent, and it is really amazing and what works for you- but there are other things that work for other people and I feel like this is slighting a good thing just because it isn't the way you do it. I still love your blog and think you are so inspirational, I just think people choose to write blogs for different reasons, from different perspectives, and with different information.

Lyn said...


of course. I have no issues with how anyone *else* blogs. This is about self reflection. Not about how I feel about anyone else's way of blogging.