After more than 5 years running an Ideal Protein clinic, I've noticed a few things. There are Seasons to dieting, and our metabolic type tends to drive the bus of our food life.
As to the seasons of dieting, it seems to be a very ingrained part of human psychology to continually feel like "NOW" is a special occasion, and "LATER" is the ideal time to commit to a healthy eating plan.
It doesn't matter when the "NOW" is - the Winter Holidays (when food-focused events permeate our calendars), Summertime (when we are bombarded with ripe fruit and succulent barbecues), Spring (when we feel like celebrating the return of light with Mojitos on the newly opened patios of our favorite restaurants), or Fall (when the winter-vegetables emerge and we are tempted by comfort foods).
Hand in hand with the times when we feel entitled or almost programmed to indulge in seasonal foods, we hit times when we seem compelled to look back at our behavior with regret and make an attempt to start anew with healthy eating or dieting. Just before Summer (when we notice our shorts and bathing suits don't fit as well as they did last year), just before Fall (those few clear months before the Holidays where it seems we might be able to stick to our food plan), just before the Winter Holiday season (where we want a plan that might act as brakes on our tendency to overeat seasonal treats) and just before Spring (when we long for a new wardrobe and a fresh start).
"The little things. They aren't little."
― Jon Kabat-Zinn
Intellectually we all understand that NOW is all there is. There is no tomorrow. It's always today. It's always right now. And NOW is the only time we have to act - either for our own benefit or our own detriment. Psychologically we tend toward extremes - either by letting it all go and telling ourselves we'll do the right thing tomorrow, or next week or next month, OR by getting super psyched to start something BIG, NEW, TEMPORARY right NOW...
The Buddhists have a saying which goes like this:
"Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water."
(In my mind, I change it to "chop veggies and drink water.)
My takeaway from this is the totally un-sexy concept of presence and focus on the actual moment-to-moment happenings that are going on RIGHT NOW no matter what conditions are operating in my life. Am I on a diet? Chop veggies and drink water. Am I "off" a diet? Chop veggies and drink water. Am I making a healthy eating choice RIGHT NOW? Am I present with the food I'm choosing? Am I acting in a way I will later appreciate or regret? Am I conscious, right at this very second, of what's in my hand, in my mouth, on my plate? Am I ensuring right now that I am prepared for what I might face in the next minutes, hours or days? The choices we make right now add up to the total direction of our lives. The choices pile up like snowflakes, landing where we guide them with our thoughts and actions. Are you shoveling your snow flakes to the side where they can fortify your efforts, or letting them land in the middle of your path blocking your way? You make that decision with each snow flake as it falls.
Food for thought, right? There really is no tomorrow. Tomorrow, by the time you can access it, will be today. Today is yesterday's tomorrow. It's all we get. It brings new meaning to the words "ACT NOW." I encourage you to spend a few moments meditating on this concept and see if you can notice how many times a day, week, year you decide that tomorrow or later are better times to make good choices.