This morning the scale reported my weight as 309 lbs. This is 75 lbs. lost on my program (45% of my goal) since Easter. It is also 116 lbs. lost from my highest about a year ago. I still have another 86 lbs. to lose and am plugging away at it.
I have to admit, it gets hard some days to resist the temptations in my house. My wife buys plenty of snacks when she shops, and though she has reduced the amount it can be hard to eat a bar or drink a shake from my program with a bag of potato chips sitting on the counter taunting me. It can be even harder when I turn around from the stove while cooking my Lean & Green to see my daughter standing behind me dipping those same potato chips into French Onion dip–&^#@$&#(!*&#!
Actually, there have only been a few times when I’ve had to remind myself what I was trying to accomplish and the benefits of choosing right in the face of temptation. More often than not, the frequency of my meals (every 3 hours) has made temptations either very mild, or nonexistent. Of course, when I open the fridge and see a pack of flour tortillas sitting under the bag holding the meat portion of my next Lean & Green, nothing stops that temptation! It would be so easy to wrap that meat in a tortilla, since a flour tortilla makes EVERYTHING better!
In such times, it helps to remind myself of the things I want to do once I am back down to a healthy weight. This helps, because when tempted the potential of momentary satisfaction and pleasure comes to the fore. You can see the junk food; taste it; remember the aroma; know the pleasure it would give. Of course, these sensations can come on so strongly it takes intentional effort to overcome. It helps to remind oneself of the better feeling of completing the goal. I have gone from a lifetime of bad unhealthy eating choices to committing myself to building better habits over the next year (9 ½ half more months to go). To complete a yearlong journey is an accomplishment and will bring more satisfaction than diving head first into a can of Pringles.
Another help is remembering how far I’ve come. It helps to remind myself as I feel so much better, and look so much slimmer that I once felt horrible as I slowly ate myself into an early grave. It also feels good that my daughters and wife can hug me with their arms completely around me with some room left over. There was a time when my wife couldn’t get her arms around me. It also feels good when people tell me how much younger I look or how much healthier.
Another help to resisting temptation is self-understanding. While some might be able to give in for a weekend or a short time and just come back and pick it back up afterwards, I know this is not possible for me. If I simply give in, even once, I will have to go through some major psychological work to refocus and get back to the program. Like an alcoholic who must not allow himself even the slightest backsliding, I can’t allow myself to backslide into unhealthy habits again. This doesn’t mean an anal attention to the slightest detail. It means making sure that what I do at each step is because I have chosen that step out of the possible alternatives. If I am going to eat something that is not best for my program, how will I make up for it and make sure it doesn’t cause any damage? If I am going to break the program for a day, what is the reason, the goal, and the justification for doing so? I have to be careful that anything done is carefully thought out and is the best choice for the circumstances. Allow me to give an example of what I mean. If I were visiting a friend who offered me something not permitted on my program, I might choose to accept or decline. If I will offend that person by declining, and feel it is important to accept, then I have made a choice to do this for the benefit of my friend. I would then find it easy to return to the program as soon as I am out of that situation—even if it means going out of fat burn and suffering while getting back in. However, that is very different from walking into the kitchen, seeing something and, on the spur of the moment, surrendering to temptation. In such a case, no choice was actually made. My action would simply be a reflex of “see food, grab food, eat food, repeat.” Though some can do this and pick up the program the next day, I know such surrender would be disastrous for me. Returning to my “food sobriety” would be hard fought. So why risk it? The pleasures of chips and dip, etc. are nothing compared to the pleasure I get out of my move to health.
A final thing that helps is knowledge such restrictions are not a life sentence. While I must “deprive” myself now (that term is not really appropriate because I do not feel deprived but others have expressed it that way), in the future I will be able to make wider choices. I will still have to make healthy choices, but with a healthy weight, balanced blood sugar and an active life, there will be many more options I can choose—including the occasional chips and dip. So in effect I am putting off the enjoyment of having them for another five years or so, until a heart attack, diabetes or a stroke takes me; to enable myself to enjoy such foods wisely for the next several decades. The first step is getting my weight down. But it is still just a first step. There are many more to follow.