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Diet Day 212

Two conversations today with fellow travelers along the weight-loss trail have got me thinking hard.



Both friends, in separate conversations, said that their weight loss has stalled.

"I had that in February," I replied. "The whole month, I lost only a pound." And I thought, isn't it interesting how everyone has plateaus? The metabolism slows down, and your body needs a break from all this weight loss. That's what mine did. The diet just plain stopped working for a month.

But then both people startled me by saying, "Yeah, I've been careless," or "Yeah, I kind of fell off the wagon." Oh! That!

I realized that in 212 days and counting, I've never "fallen off the wagon" or "been careless." Why is that? How is that even possible? When will it wear off for me? When will I have to knuckle down and plunge back into self-denial and hunger pangs? When will I have to undertake a whole new round of dieting?

Maybe I really am doing something these friends aren't doing. Maybe my process really is different. It's certainly unlike anything else I've ever tried, because I don't feel like I'm "on a diet" at all, ever. After the first couple of days I never experienced unusual hunger or any sense of deprivation. I've had almost no temptation to fall off the wagon--because I don't feel like I'm on one.

I was assuming that the same was true for my fellow weight-losers, but apparently not.

Through days where bacon and chocolate featured prominently, and days where I never so much as left the house or lifted a finger, I've stayed consistent in only three things: I track all the calories I eat and burn, I maintain a two-week average intake that's low enough to let me keep losing weight, and I record my weight every day.

That's absolutely all. I eat whatever I want. There are days when I'm hugely hungry, and I tend to eat a lot on those days. By a lot, I mean enough to maintain a weight considerably higher than my current weight, let alone my goal weight.

There are days when I'm hugely energetic and not-hungry, and on those days my net calorie count can go pretty low.

It averages out. I don't work very hard at it. But it's the tracking that keeps me mindful, and prevents that long, slow drift back into daily overeating. Now and then I have to make a small course correction, practice a little discipline at the end of the day, refuse myself a treat, because tracking says, "Not today."

But there's no significant self-denial. I'm not eating anything now that I'm dying to quit eating "when this is over" and I'm certainly not abstaining from any category of food that I will pounce on great mountains of the moment I cast off this yoke. I already eat sugar, and chocolate, and occasional baked goods. I enjoy butter and cream and olive oil. I eat meat and eggs and fruit (olives and avocados are fruit!), and of course all the vegetables I can deal with, but only the kinds I like. I eat at nice restaurants and order whatever sounds good. I had crême brulée for dessert at lunch yesterday and it was awesome. I use salt, and coffee, and tea. Now and then I have alcohol.

There is no yoke. This doesn't feel like something I'm ever going to put behind me. It's days with plenty of good food, a decent bit of exercise, and the blessed, blessed freedom to spend my creative energy on improving my life in other areas for a change. Maybe it won't wear off.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comments. | Comment at Dreamwidth.

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