Wednesday, September 2, 2015

3 Hard Truths About Dieting

Disclaimer:  This is not dieting or weight loss advice. I am the last person to be giving anyone advice on how to lose weight.  I am not an expert.  I am not a doctor.  I don't even play a doctor on TV.

However, as a chronic dieter, I have found these truths to be self-evident to me, if not to the general public.

Additional Disclaimer:  For the purposes of this post I will refer to overweight humans as "fat." This is not meant to offend anyone.  If you think it's wrong for a fat person to be called fat by anyone, including themselves, then we are just going to have to agree to disagree on that. "Fat" is not a dirty word.  It does not denote self-loathing.  It's just a word which, in this context, means excess poundage upon one’s frame.  I'm not going to sugar coat it, ahem, Splenda coat it, by coming up with seemingly non-offensive terms such as pleasantly plump or plus-size or she's got a great personality.  If the word “fat” hurts your precious little self-esteem then, go have a cookie and you’ll feel better.

Hard Truth #1:  There is no “Ah Ha” Moment

I have often heard people ask a dieter, usually a dieter who has had some success, "What was your Ah Ha moment?"  You may hear this on TV, perhaps in an infomercial for a weight-loss plan in which some D-List celebrity is asking some "regular person like yourselves" what spurred them to try (insert whatever miraculous diet plan they are selling).

They are asking for that one and only, bright-shining, pivotal, life-changing, split second in time when the dieter had an epiphany, if you will.  The fat person suddenly and without warning came to the realization that, “Holy cow, I’m Fat.!!!”  As if it had never occurred to them before.

You will hear the successful dieter give answers like:
·        I saw my reflection in a shop window and couldn’t believe how fat I was
·        I saw myself in some holiday photos and couldn’t believe how fat I was
·        I got on a scale at the doctor’s office and couldn’t believe how fat I was

You get the picture. The thing is – there is no Ah Ha moment.  Fat people know they are fat.  It didn’t sneak up on them and then suddenly, “who’s that fat person in the mirror?”  They know they should lose weight.  They’ve known it for some time now. 

There are actually several moments when the fat person is reminded of the fact that they are, indeed, fat.  But there is no one moment that changes everything. Just like there is no one and only decision to lose weight. (but that’s another story)

Hard Truth #2:  You WILL Feel Hungry

I don’t know of any diet out there that doesn’t make the claim that you won’t feel hungry.  It’s a lie.

You will most assuredly feel hungry.  If you are reducing the volume of food you put in your stomach, it will retaliate with hunger pains (or is it pangs?).  That’s just basic science, ya’ll.

Don’t panic.  It’s not the end of the world.  Think of those hunger pains as pounds vacating the premises.  Ignore them.  You’re a grown-up.  You can take it.  If it’s really too much for you, eat a banana and move on.

Bottom line is, do not go into a diet plan thinking that you will never feel hungry.  You will feel hungry every day, especially for the first two weeks of a new diet plan.  After that, it gets easier.  Also, the hunger may make you grouchy.  You, and those around you, will just have to put up with it.

Hard Truth #3:  There are No Shortcuts

Sticking to a diet is not easy. We all want it to be easy. We all want someone or something to do it for us. That’s why the weight loss industry makes billions of dollars. Our hard-earned dollars! 

Nothing will do it for you.  No weight loss plan, no diet pill, no drink mix, no packaged meals, and no weekly meetings will do it for you.  Some of these things may help you but, in the long-run it’s all down to you. Weight watchers will give you plenty of tips and support but YOU are the one who has to do the work, the shopping and the chopping.  YOU have to go to the grocery store and bypass the Hostess cupcakes to get to the produce.  YOU have to drag yourself to the gym when you don’t have time or energy or motivation to do so.  YOU have to deny yourself cheetoes in favor of iced water.  It’s all down to you.

There you have it.  My 3 Hard Truths.  I hope I haven’t discouraged anyone.  Perhaps you have a hard truth of your own to share.

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