I’m starting a diet of sorts. Not a traditional diet, certainly—I’m not of the mind that I’m fat, or that I need to lose weight. I am however of the mind that I need to keep growing, changing, and challenging myself. I’ve beaten some spiritual, mental, and emotional demons into submission, but what about my physical health? Is it okay that I’m winded when I run to catch a bus? No, it’s definitely not.
It’s been the bottom of the list for years. Those other demons were top priority, so the first thing I’m doing is giving myself a pat on the back for working through those. They are still in process of course, but they’re in a place of submission that allows me to take care of other things.
I gave up soda for Lent. It’s been harder than I’d like to admit. I crave it more than I thought I would, and it started me wondering: am I craving soda, or am I craving an instant gratification achieved through food and drink? It feels like the latter, which means I have to go further.
If I’m craving that gratification from soda, I know I’m getting it from other things: chips, cake, more chips, and all snack foods. So what to do?
I read an article about dieting written by a physicist, see it here: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/402293/the-physics-diet/
Amidst physicist jokes that’ll make you groan, he states, “There is a much easier way to lose weight, as we can learn from the first law of thermodynamics. Eat less.
Of course, there is a catch. You’ll be hungry.
It’s not real hunger; not like the painful hunger of starving people in impoverished countries. It’s more of a mild ache, or an itch that you mustn’t scratch. To be popular, a diet must somehow cope with this hunger. I attempted to enjoy it. I thought of the movie Lawrence of Arabia, in which T.E. Lawrence says, “The trick is not minding that it hurts.” I told myself that the mild ache was only the sensation of evaporating fat. That interpretation has some basis in physics. When you lose weight, most of your fat is converted to the gases carbon dioxide and water vapor, and so you get rid of fat by breathing it out of your body.”
I like this; this works for me. So I’ve decided to eat less.
That being said, I am now more conscious of what I am eating, and I’ve started thinking in terms of calories. Insert interwebs digression here that states someone at my height (5’8″) can be ten to fifteen pounds less than I am (currently 150ish) and be healthy. Mind, my 150ish pounds is not obese or unhealthy, but it’s not the middle of the BMI range—a figure that seems reasonable to me.
Insert other interwebs digression that looks into how many calories I should be eating: about 1400-1500 per day.
Then I start thinking: Do I want to be that guy that counts calories of all my foods? How would I even go about it? How many calories are in the turkey sandwich I have at work five days a week? How many calories are in that piece of cake I eat a couple times a week? (Working at a bakery does have its downsides.) If I cut out snacks and lunch entirely like the physicist, will I get headaches and the grumps and not be able to do my job, which involves me standing for eight hours at a time?
You could see how these thoughts can lead to anxiety. Easily. And now I can see how overweight or just weight-conscious people are very anxious about these thoughts and others that I don’t even have like, “do I look good in my clothes,” or, “am I attractive?” Luckily, gift from God, I don’t have these insecurities. But what about the people that do? Man, what a killer that would be.
So I don’t want to go down the high-anxiety route. Where’s my middle ground?
I will bring awareness to what goes in my mouth. I’ve cut out chips and soda already; I had a salad for lunch yesterday. I need to get chicken into that salad, as it just wasn’t enough, but I can do that. I can plan out my meals better, I can snack less. When I can’t resist putting something in my mouth, I can make it a glass of water or some fruit.
Also, another issue I’m working on, I can spend less money on what goes in my mouth. But spending less money is for another post. For this post, I want just say that I am no longer blithely putting things in my face for instant gratification, and when cravings occur, I’m focusing on the fat evaporating from my body, or in the case of no soda for Lent, gratitude for the things I have and being present in the moment.
This all sounds great for now; will update in a few weeks or a month and see how it’s going then. For now, week two, it’s hard.