Alternatives to diets
There is only one problem with dieting. It seems so simple on the surface. Isn't it (simply) based on a philosophy which says, 'I don't like feeling (or looking) the way I do, and I want to change'? No, there is a catch, and that is that the dieter only wants to follow this plan temporarily, until the weight is lost or some semblance of 'normality' is restored, and then they intend to go back to their old habits, the bad old ways, the way of life which got them into the situation in the first place. If a person said to you, 'I keep getting these headaches and I need something for them', you might be forgiven for wanting to supply them with an aspirin. But suppose you followed them around for a day and noticed that they had a habit of banging their head on the walls, wouldn't you be tempted to advise them to stop that
behavior? Stop the banging, you end the headaches. Then there's no need for the painkillers. Stop the bad eating habits and you'll stop gaining weight. Then there will be no need for the diet. Now that really is 'simple'.
Let's look at a few bad habits. One might be the way people often try and 'eat on the run', without bothering to find a good old-fashioned dining table to eat their food from. Then there's sitting and eating in front of the television. Or there's the workplace habit of eating at your desk – even when there's a perfectly good Staff Room available where you can sit down at a table and enjoy your packed lunch. (Or, even more sensibly, there's a Staff Canteen for you to use.) Finally, there's the worst offence of eating in the street. What's the rush? You've bought something and you can't wait? Whether it's a burger, a pie, a sandwich or a bag of sweets, surely there's somewhere nearby where you can sit in comfort, relax and enjoy your food. If you eat standing up - and maybe even walking at the same time – you aren't going to feel the benefit, and you'll feel 'empty' afterwards and ready for more food.
Also, you'll have forgotten that 'small snack' when you start planning your next meal. People often do. In fact, overweight people are renowned for underestimating what they have actually consumed. If they had to write it down, of course, it would be embarrassing, but 'forgetting' is another one of those ever-present bad habits. Also, later, not only does convenient 'memory loss' usually set in, but there's the underestimating of what was involved as well. A bag of chips? 'Oh, I only ate a few', they say. Looking back, it might seem that way, but, in that case, where did the bag go? Anyone else with you? If you didn't finish off the lot, then who did, may I ask? No, if you are going to try and keep some sort of Food Diary, then the rule is always write down what you have in front of you, before you eat it. If you write it down after, you'll always be looking for a way to excuse yourself – Fish and Chips, you say? 'Oh, but I didn't eat all the chips.' No? Don't ask anyone else to count them then. You really will be embarrassed.
The result of all this monitoring and trying to curb bad habits is that the calories take care of themselves. Why? Because most people who overeat, always try and excuse themselves. They underestimate what they consume, ignore the evidence or lie to themselves (or others). If you really take the time and sit down and look at what you're about to consume - before you start – then there's no way of deceiving yourself. It's there in front of you. If it's gone, then Honey, you ate it.
Every single slimming regime in the civilized world will tell you the same thing, basically. The only way to slim is to eat less and exercise more. It means that you need to put less calories in and make sure that somehow, anyhow necessary, more calories are used up. If you could stop some bad habits, stop pretending ‘I didn't mean to eat all the chocolates' and stop ‘forgetting', (like that kebab you ate at the bus stop on the way home but didn't count), then you could start making progress.
It's not about adopting some faddy new food or exchanging grapefruits for candy bars. You already know what a bag of chocolates looks like. The trick is to stop pretending you aren't eating the thing when you quite clearly are. Learn to live with the evidence in front of your face, admit the overload, and then you might find there is no need to cut down any further.
Also, remember the Rule of the Heart. Most ‘comfort' eating comes after a disappointment, a row or any other emotional hurt. If there's one thing you need in such situations, it's time to cool down before you do anything else, whether it's seeking revenge or actually starting to eat. You need time to calm down and put things in perspective. Don't reach for that chocolate bar or pie straight away. Go for the tissue, dab your eyes and blow your nose. Then look around. This is life. Really, do you need it, after all?