Tuesday, May 24, 2005

There Will Always Be More Cake

Well, I always read about how diets fail, how people abandon their diets, how people hate their diets and how maybe the diet works for a long time, someone loses a lot of weight, but then the diet ends, and then all the weight comes back.

I've been mildly unhappy with my weight for a looong time, been drinking Slimfast for years, but anything else I tried, I would abandon, or cheat massively on and then feel really bad about it. And then there would be the substitution diets where you were supposed to eat certain other foods instead. That would be fine until i ran out of those foods, or until I saw something that looked really good that I was depriving myself of.

The hardest part is all the crap that people leave in the breakroom. There's always parties, there's always doughnuts on Fridays, and there are many well-wishers in the congregation who believe the best way to thank us is through baked goods. It got to the point where I'd be eating a piece of cake and be looking forward to the second piece, or worse yet, being sad because I knew that after I finished this piece, I would eat another, but when that piece was done, then I would be done eating cake.

So, I created my own diet, The Rotational Diet. The key to this diet is "There will always be more cake." It works to strengthen willpower, gives you a great boost of self-esteem and self-confidence when you successfully say "no thank you!", gives you variety, lets you continue to enjoy chocolate frosting, and it avoids that feeling of being deprived that leads you to find yourself in the underground parking lot at Ralphs downing a Starbucks iced frappucino while eating hostess cupcakes.

What you do is select groups of foods that give you trouble... they're foods that you have easy access to, have a particular weakness for, the ones where you think about when you'll make your next trip to the breakroom to have more.

For me, I chose four categories: cake and all things cakey, ice cream, cookies and dark soda, doughnuts. Each week, I can eat from one of those categories. Which is a lot more positive than thinking about the three categories I'm depriving myself of. At the same time, then when a bunch of things are presented, I can pass over them thinking "Not this week." and feel really good about myself and my willpower.

Why? Because in a few weeks, the food I'm passing over won't be off limits. At the same time, it's helping my willpower. Saying "no" to something 75% of the time helps me ultimately say "no" to piece #2 or cookie #3 on the weeks where it's not off-limits. It doesn't always work that way, but I'm finding myself being a little more reasonable, because there will always be more cake.

And if you do cheat, it's less likely to (a) be a big deal or (b) be as big a transgression. I've also found that people are conspiring against me and sometimes the only options during a week are not the options I'm allowed to have. I'm able to say no and think about how I'm helping my body and working towards my goal.

It's a very slow diet, but I've seen modest results and that's inspiring, too.

(You might ask "Why dark soda? Many light sodas are equally bad for you." This is true. Cookies by themselves seemed such a small category, so I added dark sodas to that week as well. I find that it's not always an even trade, especially at restaurants. Sometimes they don't have a light soda I like, and sometimes it just serves as a reminder to me to be a little healthier and I'll go for lemonade (often no free refills), milk or water.)

And every Monday, I get to look forward to a new mix of potential goodies that week.

(Doughnuts are my weakness, I'm most likely to cheat with them. But only by cutting off tiny pieces. But the biggest proof that this is working is the decrease in doughnut consumption on the doughnut-ok weeks.)

As with any diet (and here's the part that stinks), exercise is also a must. I'm trying to get better about walking the dog. Yesterday the baby was up, so I carried here in one arm while trying to hang on to the dog with the other arm.
Post a Comment