Sunday, January 18, 2009

How Long Must I Suffer?

How many times have you impulsively ordered a dessert, wolfed down a candy bar, or taken a second helping at the dinner table, only to regret it very shortly afterwards? If you take the time to think about what you are going to eat before you eat it, you can save yourself enough calories to start losing weight right now! People eat high-calorie foods for immediate gratification: Those donuts smell so good; that pie looks so appetizing; that chocolate will make me forget how mad I am at my boss.
This week, stop and think about what you eat before you eat it, and think about delaying your gratification and what that will do for you. If you take a deep breath and decide to pass on the morning donuts in the breakroom, for how long will you be regretting that decision? Will you really be dreaming about those donuts until late that afternoon, or will the vision of donuts evaporate from your mind as soon as you are back at your desk? What if you don't have dessert after dinner? Of course you will be craving it and thinking about it at the time, but how long will you have to wait until you forget about it?
If you're like most people, once the temptation is removed you won't be fixated on that food any longer. Figure out how long it takes you to forget about the food after you've decided not to eat it. Maybe it's five minutes, or for some people maybe the thought lingers for a few hours. Now, compare this to how long you are feeling badly about your weight. How often during the day are you wishing you weighed less, wishing you skipped the last treat you indulged in, wishing you looked better in your clothes? How many times during any given day is your weight on your mind? Do you feel crummy when you see yourself (or avoid yourself) in the mirror; get dressed in the morning; go clothes shopping? Which sounds better to you of the two situations: missing a slice of cheesecake for a couple of hours in the evening, or wanting to lose twenty (or more) pounds during most of your waking hours?
This week, try delaying the gratification of empty-calorie treats in exchange for longer term happiness when you lose that weight! Pass on the junky vending machine snacks, the drive-through burger with fries, the ice cream sundaes in the evening. Choose a lower-calorie more nutritious option when you are hungry and another activity (besides eating) when you are bored or stressed.
See how much weight you lose by the end of the week. Start looking forward to the days that your new habit will be fitting into smaller clothes instead of scarfing down a piece of chocolate layer cake!

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