I saw that once on a Garfield bumper sticker. It made me smile like only the truth can.
Hmm. I didn't come here to talk about 80s bumper stickers. No, not really. I came here because it's time to diet. Again. Last time I took it seriously, it worked, because, you see, I found the secret. At least for me. And then life got painful as personal issues got in the way and all the weight I'd lost, I gained back. Sigh.
So it's time to diet again, like I said.
So I'm going to share my diet plan with you. Because in 5 months or so, I'll be back at my fighting weight. If I fight the good fight. And die with a T.
So here goes. If I were a weight-loss guru, here's what I'd say:
1. Throw away the bathroom scale. Really. That's the first step. Of course, since I've never owned one, that will be easy for me (: Anyway, I thought about buying one the last time I went on a diet but stopped myself. No counting. Counting is like watching grass grow...how distressing is that? Rather than counting calories, feel your body. Feel your body in your clothes. Live in your skin. You'll feel the differences. And one day, you'll be at the weight you want to be, but it won't be a number, it will be a feeling.
2. Use a diet drink, like Slim Fast, but DON'T do the "sensible dinner" thing. Uh uh. No way. Eat what you want. Craving pizza? Eat pizza for your one real meal, but not those cardboard Lean Cuisine things from the grocery store. Trust me, that won't get rid of the cravings, but rather, intensify them. Make it Pizza Orgasmica. Definitely. Eat what you want, and keep the portions sensible, but don't go away hungry.
Note: Almost forgot, and this may be very important -- make your one meal of the day lunch rather than dinner, so you can burn off some of those calories before going to bed. Minimize switching! If you go out to dinner with friends or family a lot, you may want to stick with dinners. On the other hand, if you do lunch with co-workers a lot, you're in luck. Switching from one day to the next is a no-no. Waiting 24 hours between real meals is a long time, waiting 30 hours, is murder. Don't do it unless you absolutely have to. Become a pariah among your friends if necessary because you're doing this for yourself. They'll come back, wagging their tales behind them for not supporting you when you needed them (:
3. Exercise. But not at first. Your body is going through some major changes. You're stressing it out, big time. Don't stress it any more. Hold off on the exercise for a few days, or a few weeks, whatever it takes to feel like you can do this and your body has adjusted.
4. Between meal snacks. Pop corn. Microwave popcorn. Mix it up with the fruit, because the fruit will drive you nuts after a while. Mix it up. You will be amazed at how few calories pop corn has. A cup of the plain, low fat popcorn is like 20 calories. A cup of the butter popcorn or the kettle corn is like 30-35. The plain popcorn is pretty bland...so if you like butter popcorn, go for the butter popcorn and eat two cups. That's 60-70 calories...a between-meals Slim Fast snack bar is like 120 calories and doesn't cure those little dancing hunger pains like popcorn. Stock up.
Note: Don't do rice cakes!
5. Your head bone is connected to your stomach bone. There's a major psychological component to hunger. We're wired to get hungry at certain times of the day, but the wires are psychological so don't put off "eating" your meals. If, after wolfing down a delicious shake, you're still hungry, go for a bottle of cold water or a cup of fruit or popcorn. But realize the hunger pains are more psychological than anything else. After an hour or so, even if you don't eat or drink a thing, the pains will go away. Like clockwork.
6. Add an exercise program, even if it's just a walk to the beach, as soon as possible. But don't rush it, you don't want to shock your system into a food frenzy. Once you get used to eating less, your body will be able to process the exercise without crying uncle. Pace yourself, but add the exercise.
6. Indulge yourself in a non-gustatory manner. Like to read? Like new clothing? Like movies or social events? Indulge yourself. Look at it this way...you're pretty much saving money every day because you're eating much less. Let's say you're saving, on average, $10 a day. At the end of the week, that's $70! Okay, you could save that money or go out and get something purty for yourself. A congratulatory gift. Something to fill those moments when your stomach is growling so loud it's drowning out the television. Whatever you do, don't let yourself get bored. Boredom = hunger.
7. Stock up on your favorite diet drinks: waters, teas (roiboos!), coffee (Philz and Ritual Grouds for me!), and diet cokes (caffeine in all its guises is sweet).
8. Target pants. Get a pair of pants that's one size too small. If you're like me, you've got a pair in the closet. Okay, take 'em out and put them somewhere where they're in view. Every month, try them on. See how they feel. If your diet is going well, in a couple months, they should fit. And that will feel great -- both psychologically and physically. Time for a new target. Go out and buy yourself a new outfit, or a new pair of pants, that is another size too small. Suddenly, the diet will seem like fun...like a game you can win.
So that's it. That's the advice I'm going to give myself. I just ate half a dozen oatmeal cookies right before I started this blog entry (give me a break -- they were small!). That's it for a while -- at least that many. A cookie instead of an apple from time to time won't ruin my diet. In fact, it's part of the plan. As soon as you find yourself saying "I can't wait until I get off this diet so I can have XXX", you're doomed. Rather, figure out how you can have what you crave without going overboard. Want a piece of coconut cream pie? Okay, go for it, but don't have any other snacks that day, and add an extra exercise cycle to your week to feed the guilt if you must. Don't look at the things you crave and say "I can't have that anymore", because it only makes you want it worse...
My diet starts at 12:01 am. I'm in this thing whole hog. Wish me luck, but don't ask me how much I've lost, cause I'll have no idea (:
Oh, And One More Thing: To diet, your head must be in the right space. If you're under a lot of stress, don't do it. Not until you can minimize the stress by either changing some things (self-imposed stress is still stress) or learning to manage the stress you're under better (meditate, my friend). But don't add more stress by taking on a hardcore diet. It's not worth it.