I’m going to try something a little different here. When it comes to lists, I’m a bit of a sucker. I like to put together ordered lists of things that are good or bad, and use them to track my progress through many areas of my life. If you go back through the history of this blog, (which I really must do at some point myself) you’ll find many lists of bad stuff that I do – essentially, lists of reasons why I’m fat.
Those lists then become the route map to thinness, with varying degrees of success, and eventually, the lure of the things on the list becomes stronger than the desire to avoid them. From that point onwards, it’s just a short trip back to fatdom, and the general unpleasantness that all that involves.
So how about this then? How about if I try to look at those things differently, and start to ask myself some rather searching questions about them? I always remember how stunned I was when I realised that, contrary to everything that I knew to be true at that time, I did not enjoy smoking. Once that realisation had sunk in, stopping smoking was genuinely easy for me to do.
Is it possible that I don’t actually enjoy the things that I do that keep me fat? And if so, does that open up a new approach to shrinking that might offer a little more hope of longer term success?
Here are some of the things that I do that I believe contribute to my excess weight, why I think I like it, what the alternative viewpoint could be and the likelihood that the alternative could be correct
|The Thing I Do/Think||Why I Think I Do/Think It||The Alternative View||Likelihood that view is correct|
|Eating too quickly||Because I love my food||At present, I generally wolf things down due to a mix of habit and shame, and get very little enjoyment out of food. Eating too quickly also makes it harder to spot when you’re full.
Eating slowly makes good food taste better. You can savour every mouthful, and genuinely enjoy it. It also shows up ‘crap’ food for the salt-laden rubbish it is – the first bite may give a rush of taste, but subsequent chews taste less and less good.
|Drinking too much diet coke||Because I love it and can’t do without it||I’m used to it. I’m probably addicted to it. When I drink it after something naturally sweet like an orange, it tastes bland and chemically. It doesn’t taste good on it’s own. It used to give me headaches – maybe it even still does. That means it’s an acquired taste, and that means I’ve taught myself to love it – that means it’s an addiction.||Very High|
|Snacking in the evenings||Because I can’t help myself||It certainly feels like I can’t help it, not over any sustainable period. By denying myself, it just builds and builds in my mind into something that I simply ‘have’ to have. The guilt that comes from eventually ‘giving in’ just serves to reinforce all the bad feelings I have about myself.
If I’m hungry, and I’m eating it slowly, savouring every mouthful, then that sounds like it’s not such a bad thing. If I’m not hungry, then saying ‘you can have it – no problem about that – but you’ll enjoy it more when you’re hungry, so hold on a little’ sounds like a plan.
|Eating when I’m not hungry||Habit, routine, not knowing what hunger feels like||Food doesn’t taste as good when you’re not hungry. That means that waiting till you’re hungry before you eat is more enjoyable. Doing it ‘right’ is more pleasurable.|
|Cleaning my plate||Habit, reward, being ‘good’||The thing that should determine how much I eat is my hunger. Not the plate manufacturer or whoever dished up the dinner.
When I’ve stopped feeling hungry, that’s when I should stop eating. After that point, food stops tasting so good, so it’s a positive thing to stop eating it.
|Finishing drinks quickly||Habit, reward, being ‘good’||I’ve never really thought about this before today, and am not sure that it’s relevant, but I certainly find myself forcing drinks down when I’m not thirsty.
Just as with food above, drinking when you’re actually thirsty tastes better, particularly water.
|Not getting enough sleep||I might miss something – staying awake is somehow ‘good’.||The suggestion is that not getting enough sleep leads to weight problems, as the body has to replace the energy it’s lacking from food, so craves more.
I’m constantly tired. Constantly. Getting more sleep must make me feel generally happier and healthier.
|Not drinking enough water||I prefer fizzy drinks||See diet coke above.||High|
Random musings at the moment, but interesting to look at these things differently. The above suggests that instead of there being a positive side to some of my actions that counterbalances the negative outcomes, I’m looking at them all wrong. That in turn suggests that there’s a way to change my approach to these things without it setting off a whole load of self-denial problems.
Anyway, it’s something for me to think about. More as I make sense of it.