Bidding Adieu to 'The Last Supper' Mentality

By , SparkPeople Blogger
By Beth Donovan (~INDYGIRL)

Before SparkPeople, I used to have what I now call the "last supper mentality," as in swearing off a certain food and recommitting to a "diet" after one last hurrah, aka a binge. The last supper mentality is the difference between perfectionism and the middle ground where lifestyle really is.

So many times I used to say to myself:

"OK, this is the last piece of pizza I'm ever going to eat."

It never was.

"This is the last time I'm going off my diet until I get skinny."

It never was.

It never was the last anything. I would wake up the next morning, and Pizza Hut was still delivering, and chocolate was still as sweet and delicious as the day before.

The fact that these temptations exist is both a good thing and a bad thing. I am now free-yes, free--from that last supper mentality because of it. It was that fear that I would never get to eat another piece of pizza or have another piece of chocolate that made me OVERindulge when I did choose to eat those things. The realization that those good foods will still be there tomorrow lets me reason that I can be "good" today and have my indulgence tomorrow. It's the reverse of the old indulge today and be "good" tomorrow.

Perfectionism plays a huge role in this type of thinking. If you've read my blogs before, you no doubt know my analogy: "If I got a traffic ticket, I wouldn't go break all the traffic laws the rest of the day, so why blow my day over a slice of pizza?" Sometimes it's good to allow an indulgence into your eating plan. Plan for it or don't. It's at your discretion, however planning it into the SparkPeople Nutrition Tracker does make it easier to keep it in your calorie range.

The "last supper mentality" is a fairly strong trickster. It calls out, urging overindulgence and promises a new beginning. While that sounds tempting, it isn't real. Sometimes if the urge to indulge is too strong, it may be best not to indulge at all because it can be easy to lose control. You are probably familiar with that "I'll just have a bite or two…" voice you hear, when in the back of your mind you really want to eat the whole thing. I am. Somehow I know a binge is coming on, or that I'm in danger of overeating whatever I take a bite of; in that case I stay away from food and have a big glass of ice water or some diet clear soda with a splash of juice and crushed ice. Vegetable and fruit trays really come in handy if you're hanging on for dear life fending off a binge or a last dance with a favorite food. If you do overindulge and are trying to convince yourself it's the "last ____," ask yourself how many "last _____s" you've had before.

If your present lifestyle is eating indulgences daily, try eating them every other day. Make a plan that YOU can stick to because this is all about developing YOUR healthy lifestyle. There isn't just one healthy lifestyle. There are many approaches to fitness, nutrition, mental health, and spirituality. Try different tips and tricks you find, keeping the ones that work and leaving the ones that don't.

Part of what works for my lifestyle is a house clean zone rule. Things that get me into a binging state or a last supper mentality aren't allowed into my house. Yes, sometimes they still get in because nobody has invented a food detector that sets the house on lockdown upon sensing several cans of ravioli in one bag. For the most part I've had to give up the excuses that my husband or family needs these things. They don't. They want them and I do too. So, they have to keep them out of my areas and out of sight. I don't want a clue they are even in the house.

Another of my lifestyle changes that has helped me tremendously is my rule that I must order small, regular, lunch, or senior sized meals or split a standard meal so as to halve the calories. For example, I love the Olive Garden and often order toasted ravioli or stuffed mushrooms appetizers as a meal with soup. The soups are very low calorie and full of nutrients. Most of their dishes are high calorie, but if you only eat half or a third, you can save money and calories.

Reading articles and blogs here on SparkPeople is how I learn new ideas to change my lifestyle. I hope you will do the same and get a feel for what will once and for all work for you. Don't do the last supper mentality dance anymore. Aim for better every day rather than perfect right away.

Are you guilty of "the last supper" mentality?