Friday, October 05, 2012
I hear stories of how people lose weight or maintain loss, and they always involve the details: how many calories or nutritional differentials or exercise. That is WHAT they do, not HOW they do it. I can tell you WHAT I do, but how DO I do it?
I live my life like everyone else, but there is an undercurrent of thought, a second, constant, background line that is made up of my Rules. These are rules I made for myself long ago, primarily so that every food encounter wouldn't become a debate with myself. (Can I eat this? Why can't I eat this? Maybe if I give up dessert on Friday or walk a few more miles?) I always lose debates with myself. I'm not the best debater in the world, and when I am on both sides of the debate, I am doomed.
So to avoid the debate I have rules. They aren't universal, but they were handed to me when I started losing weight and I have incorporated them into my bones. I don't eat between meals. I don't eat junk food. I seldom eat dessert. I rarely eat in restaurants. I would never tell others that these rules are the "key" to successful weight loss or maintenance but they work for me.
And I don't think it's the rules themselves, but the fact that I have them, I follow them, and they are so ingrained in my sub-conscious that I don't have to think about them anymore. Over the years and the decades they have served me well.
There are people who enjoy seeing every instance in their lives as an opportunity for choice, but that way of living would exhaust me. I have enough choices to deal with (need a new doctor, how do I fix my plumbing) that I don't have the emotional energy or confidence to make every food opportunity into a choice. Most are pre-chosen as "No". Most of the rest are "If I have to think about it the answer is No."
I pre-plan my food so that I make my appropriate choices before any longing enters the equation. It's hard enough to buy a house or a car or a dress without emotion bungling up my decision making process. Food choices present themselves far more often in today's life, and at the most inopportune times. Like when I am tired or bored or just want something pleasant to happen. Having rules to help me pre-choose is almost sub-conscious by now. It's taken years of practice to have a reliable sub-conscious, and I can articulate that sub-conscious as my Rules.
People who are desperate about weight jump at any plan that promises they can have anything they want "within reason". For me, reason works for a week or a month or a year, but the day will come when emotion wins. I rely on my Rules. And the weight has stayed off for a very long time.