Tuesday, June 04, 2013
I'm losing slowly, but I haven't backtracked in nearly two years of low carb. And I'm adding exercise slowly enough that I'm getting stronger without causing myself any pain. That suits me fine. Losing weight and getting healthy shouldn't be painful, but they certainly are work. And that's different. As they say, you can either work harder or you can work smarter.
First, before anything else, your food needs to satiate you. Any way of eating that leaves you hungry, or craving certain foods, or worse, BOTH, is not sustainable. For the obese, that eliminates darn near every eating “plan” out there, ESPECIALLY moderation. Our respected professionals have been telling us the same dysfunctional information for decades and it's generally only making us fatter and sicker.
Still, there is an enormous amount of human genetic variation. Some people might successfully lose weight using ANY of those eating plans. But that is only so long as those people are willing to stay hungry. We're talking about “weight loss” plans, not “weight control” plans.
Surprisingly, though, it turns out that achieving satiety is actually really easy. Low carb makes your hunger go away. End of story. This is not merely anecdote or wishful thinking or marketing blather, it is science. Even some of the studies that are generally antagonistic to low carb lifestyles have to give them that point. A lot of people actually have trouble eating ENOUGH on a low carb plan. That single fact alone tells me that it is probably pretty close to nature's way.
Does that mean that just buying the latest low carb book, following it to the letter, and reaching your ideal weight will give you lifelong success? Absolutely not. Does buying a new mop guarantee that your floors will be clean every day? Nope. You actually have to use the tools. You actually have to recreate yourself.
Most of the work of creation happens between your ears, though, so it can take years to get to the root of an eating disorder or a lifetime of bad habits. Even in the absence of a true disorder, change comes hard. Just like quitting smoking, you need to systematically break every single association you had with your bad/negative habit. If you leave even one behind, untouched, you are vulnerable to regaining the weight, or restarting the smoking habit.
The most powerful thing I told myself when I was quitting smoking when I hit one of those associations and wanted to “cheat” was “Oh, you're just thinking about that thing you used to do. Don't worry about it, you don't do that anymore.” At first I said it every few minutes all day long. Eventually, I said it less and less until that one magic day when I went the entire day long without wanting a cigarette.
I think the same thing applies to eating. If you constantly remind yourself of everything you "can't have anymore" you're setting yourself up with a wall of negativity. But when you look at it as a logical choice - just something that "I don't do anymore" you reinforce your new positive habit with every repetition.