‘tis the season… of dietary regret. You might as well sign up with SparkPeople now (it’s free), because it’ll be good to have your program set up and your best-laid plans in place before the holidays. I’m not suggesting you avoid the Christmas cookies and the office parties and the booze – au contraire. If you have to be told that, this late in the game, just enjoy yourself and do penance in the New Year. Don’t bother making New Year’s Resolutions – just make a promise and commitment to yourself.
You know the Lay’s potato chip ad that says “You can’t eat just one”? Do you have certain foods that trigger an insatiable craving for more, more, MORE? According to at least one study, it’s the fat. Because fatty foods – get this – trigger the formation of “endocannabinoids” (yep, you read that right – cannabis-like substances manufactured in our own innards) that trigger, well, a bad case of “the munchies.”
Gives whole new meaning to the term “pot bellied,” doesn’t it?
Consider your “trigger foods.” These are the ones you taste and then can’t get enough of. I have a list – a blessedly short list – of foods that, when I’m serious about losing weight, I try to avoid at all costs. As you make your list, consider whether this fat-induced Mary Jane production is hindering your weight loss efforts.
Then again, if the holidays are stressing you out, maybe a pat of butter is just what you need to calm your nerves.
When I first started losing weight, bread was one of the things I cut out cold turkey. I like bread. I especially like bread with butter on it. One piece leads to two. Two leads to a sandwich. With cheese. But I can eliminate bread and not feel too deprived; if I don’t taste it – don’t think about it – I can live without it just fine. I don’t feel particularly “deprived.” I think of it with longing; I’m tempted. But…life goes on.
I joined SparkPeople in January 2006, all full of my starry-eyed, New Year’s resolution clean-slatedness and determination, and promptly forgot all about it. Later, determined and committed to success, I was able to put the program to good use – losing nearly 50 pounds.
Since then, I’ve quit smoking. I have a laundry list of excuses, if that won’t do – I mean, seriously, can anyone use “quit smoking” to justify gaining weight – for FIVE YEARS?? As in 2006, I recently renewed acquaintance with SparkPeople. "Oh, yeah, I remember this," I thought. I stepped on the scales. And once again, I weighed just about the same thing I had a year earlier. I browsed through some of the other members’ pages and saw their "before" and "after" shots. If I’d done what I’d said I was going to do, back in January, I’d be at my goal weight now. Instead, I’m right where I was…in January. Nothing has changed.
I look in the mirror and ask myself, once again: Self, do you want to be right where you are now, next year, at Christmas? Although the weight loss goals I’ve set for myself seem overwhelming, a quick mental calculation says they’re not at all unreasonable – and that in less than a year’s time, I can be downright svelte, just by losing 1-2 pounds a week.
The answer to my question, of course, was "no."
So, Self, when are you going to start working on this goal? If not now, when? I know I can do it – I’ve done it before. I know, without a doubt, that I can reach all the goals I’d set for myself. "The journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step," Confucious said.
"Just put one foot in front of the other, and keep moving," my mother often said.
Okay, starry-eyed Self, I muttered. Put back that stick of butter. There’s a good start.
Self and I have agreed to simply enjoy the holidays and get cracking on January 1 – it’s not procrastination, now, it’s a plan. Come the New Year, we’ll ride the wave of starry-eyed goal-setting optimism, only we’ll outlast and outshine ‘em all.