Right about now, those who know me in real life are probably thinking, what the what???? I may be one of the last people you’d expect to write about losing weight.
Carrying extra weight, even a little extra, makes me tired. Let’s be honest, even though I’m thin, over 40, with 2 kids, and have a job where I sit in my office for hours at a time, I don’t have an ounce of extra energy to carry more weight. I mean, I’ll go to extreme measures to offload a half pound in my purse, for heaven’s sake. My weight at the beginning of the summer was the equivalent of carrying two 5-pound bags of sugar in a backpack…all day long, and that would be just dumb. I figured the few months before a big trip to France was the time to get on it.
I have never dieted in my life. I barely know how to spell it (although I do believe there’s a reason it starts with d-i-e). So I am not about to start now.
I could list a batch of strategies to get you there, because they all work. Smaller portions, more veggies, increasing daily activity, blah blah blah.
There are only really two things that helped me drop nearly 10 pounds: fire and ice.
First, the ice. Most of the time, I’m eating snacks to keep my mouth busy, not because I’m hungry. So although I don’t chew ice, I started using it as a diversion. And by ice, I mean ice and water. Anything else is empty calories. I became a connoisseur of how to best melt it and crush it, as well as what self serve fountains in town have the best crushed ice (Wawa wins). I decided to not buy chocolate or any sort of candy, which is kind of huge for me. I paid more attention to how I felt the morning after eating late snacks (lousy). I carried a cooler cup with me everywhere (yes, even into restaurants!).
Then the fire. the most important thing I did was: I asked myself, “Do I want this food more than I want to be healthy and thin in France this fall?” The answer was always no. I had a real fire to be healthy and lighter on my trip.
A magnet on our fridge when I was growing up read, “Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels,” but that little gem isn’t quite true all the time, is it? It has no deadline, and implies that constant deprivation is just the price to be paid. Who wants to live like that? My mindset, on the other hand, was that I was going to make a series of good decisions for 12 weeks so that I could enjoy however many authentic croissants I wanted. It’s Kelly McGonigal’s mantra of I will, I want, I won’t. I needed to make good, low-calorie decisions because I wanted to feel lighter when I left for France, so I wouldn’t stuff my face with bad choices before hand.
This isn’t the same as “just using your willpower”. That’s about as effective as teaching someone how to ice skate by telling them “just keep moving your feet.”
We use the same approach when we work with clients and teach them the SORT and Succeed system for organizing anything. We define what’s important, and then provide a hands-on, step-by-step method and plan for making it happen.
I will, I want, I won’t
I will keep shoes by the door because I want to have a safe, clean home. I won’t walk through the house in shoes because I’m too tired to kick them off.
I will keep my counters clear of paper because I want to be able to enjoy cooking more, and I won’t even let junk mail into the house to clutter up my counters from now on.
I will stay on top of my commitments because I want to feel less frazzled and enjoy my life more, so I won’t let email pile up in my inbox, thinking that there is a pile of nagging, unmanageable to-dos there.
So, it’s more than just wishful thinking. It’s using the willpower instinct. It’s a concrete plan of what to do, what not to do, and why.
Change takes more than wishful thinking. Use @KellyMcGonigal ‘s willpower instinct=concrete plan of I will, I want, I won’t. #organize @DarlaDeMorrow
My 10 pounds came off in about 12 weeks. Some weeks the scale didn’t appear to even move. Change is slow, and losing about a pound a week is a very healthy and realistic goal. Two pounds a week is about the most you want to lose safely.
So if you didn’t know before, now you do: dieting is a very bad way to live. Organizing your food, habits, and motivation is a much better, effective method of getting what you want. Even if you thought you have no willpower, you can use my trick of fire (desire) and ice (crushed, please) along with the mantra, “I will, I want, I won’t” to improve your outcomes.
I wanted to be 10 pounds lighter. And now I am.
Excuse me while I go top off my crushed ice.
Just for the record, I wrote this back when preparing for an extended trip to Paris, and it just never got published. But, if you know me well, you know that I am always preparing for a stay in Paris.
Also, just in case you were wondering, the butter picture is just to get your attention. To be honest, I say eat as much butter as you want, and stay away from the chemical alternatives. I happen to think that if you eat as much real, unprocessed food as you want, you probably will be very close to your ideal weight. I personally believe that the over-processing, added sugar and added chemicals in our foods are the problem, not all natural butter. So have the butter, for heaven’s sake. Just don’t have a whole stick of butter at a time. 🙂