Sometimes, all you really need is a good kick in the pants to get you going in the right direction. You can struggle and struggle with something, and then one day something will happen that will change the way you look at the problem and help you to reach the solution. At least that’s how it is with me. See, one of my new years resolutions for this past year was a promise to myself that I was going to lose weight. For a while I exercised on and off and ate healthy every once in a while, but none of it seemed to help. In fact I was gaining weight rather than losing it. I was getting frustrated with the whole thing, and I was nearly ready to throw in the towel and resign myself to a life of being overweight. And then, one day, my wife said something that changed everything.
She said, “You could probably get by on two corn dogs instead of four.” (We were eating corn dogs when she said this.)
She wasn’t trying to be profound. She wasn’t trying the alter the way I looked at the world. But she did. That moment was the tipping point for me. I can’t tell you exactly why those particular words in that particular situation were so effective, but somehow they were. Those words made me really realize what a slave I had been to my past.
When I was growing up my parents didn’t have a lot of money. I wouldn’t say we were poor, but we certainly weren’t rich, and while the home cooked food at the table was frequently delicious it always seemed like there was never quite enough of it for my tastes. I would always leave the table wishing I could have had just one more helping.
Fast forward a few years, and now I’m an adult. I’m still not rich, but if I want to eat until I can’t possibly eat any more, then I can afford to do that. I can retroactively indulge that little kid at my parents table with everything his heart desires. And that is exactly what I was doing. Maybe not all the time, but more often than I’d like to admit, I’d eat and eat until I was stuffed full; I was eating four corn dogs when I could just have easily gotten by on two. And it was starting to show.
So when my wife made her world-changing corn dog observation, I started thinking about food in a new way. I didn’t start counting calories, or staying away from donuts, at least not altogether. But I did start to pay more attention to my portion sizes. Before, when I got full, and there was food left on my plate, I would stuff myself to make sure there was no waste. Now, I do my best to stop eating when I’m full. I don’t always succeed, but I’m doing better.
I’ve cut back a few other places too. I drink a lot less Mountain Dew than I used to, instead substituting it with Coke Zero, which has the caffeine I like every once in a while without the calories. I’ve also taken to eating the Caesar Salads they have pre-made at the deli at work, though I’m not entirely certain how much difference that makes given the chicken and Caesar dressing.
But something is certainly working. Sometime in September I weighed 248 pounds (I’m 6″ 4′ so this isn’t quite as bad as it might sound at first.) As of the last time I weighed myself I was down to 228.
The verdict? I can say emphatically that the You Can Probably Get By On Two Corn Dogs Instead of Four diet has worked for me. Maybe it will work for you. Maybe not. It’s possible you’ve been eating nothing but plain leaf salads for four years and you’re still gaining weight. But if you’re like me, maybe all you need is a perspective shift.
Dieting doesn’t have to be extreme. In fact I would argue that extreme dieting is ultimately counterproductive given how unpleasant it is. The secret I’ve learned is found in consistency. Find something you can handle for the long haul and stick with it. You may just surprise yourself with what is possible.
And now, since I didn’t say anything about writing in this post, here is a link to a post from Amala’s blog about where story ideas come from.
It was extremely helpful to me, because now I can tell people something besides, “The Mantis Men bring them down in their Saucers of Stone and drop them off in the mail box.” The Mantis Men don’t like publicity; also they almost got in deep legal trouble with the Post Office for unlawful use of a mailbox.