I mentioned in my last post that there were three primary rules that enabled me to follow a very disciplined diet, ending both my insatiable appetite and my battle with overweight, in six short months.
Many of my friends applauded my self-control, and I would insist to them that I was actually using less of it to follow this new diet, than I had been using previously to minimize just how overweight I became. It is true, that the diet gradually and increasingly resolved the difficulty of powerful food cravings. But it is also true that some self-control was involved.
There were three important tricks I learned quickly, that made that self-control possible, and even easy. The first of them, Rule # 1: I Can Have That!, I covered in a previous post. Here is the second ~ Rule # 2: Eat!
Especially during the beginning, but right through to the present day, following any diet represents a lot of opportunities for overcoming temptation.
There were times that I sliced bread as part of the meal preparations for my non-dieting family members. There were dinner parties I attended where the only food I could eat was the salad I brought with me. At home, in restaurants and at social functions, I sat side-by-side with friends enjoying buttery mashed potatoes, dishes laden with melted cheese and artfully prepared chocolate desserts. While most of my friends were incredibly supportive, I occasionally heard the usual encouragements to “just try a little”, or that a dish prepared with ingredients I had chosen not to eat was actually healthy with the implication that my refusal of it was foolish.
I had to say no to myself and to others, over and over again. I would never have made it, if I met all of those temptations when I was ravenously hungry. I made it my business, not to be.
I ate the foods I permitted myself at regular mealtimes, and ate them until I was satisfied. Sometimes I ate a lot. Sometimes my lunchtime salads included 4 cups of lettuce, a hard boiled egg, sunflower seeds, some chicken, avocado and olives, a whole bell pepper, tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice and seasonings. I didn’t count calories and I didn’t restrict my portions of the foods on my unlimited list. I made an effort to make sure that I was full, and that the foods I made were delicious.
Attending social events was unnerving at first. I worried if there would be anything I could eat. When I went to a function like that, I had a two-fold approach. I might eat a snack before I left, and I would almost always bring a dish to pass that met my criteria. Sometimes I brought dishes to events where the hostess had not asked me to bring anything. It was my job to take care of myself, and I knew that if I met too many of those temptations hungry, I would fail.
This is not to say that I never had to encounter a food temptation when I was hungry, or even when I felt that I was starving. Those moments did come and I sailed through them successfully because I had achieved momentum at that point, and established firm boundaries with the forbidden foods. But they did not come in the first few weeks because I did not permit them to. I did not dare. Nor did they come very frequently for the same reason. The saying, “failing to plan is planning to fail” is totally appropriate here.
So if you want to do this, if you actually want to succeed and reach your weight-loss goal, you can do it. In my opinion, it requires less self-control than eating some bread, and some sugar. But it’s unlikely that you’ll make it if you’re always hungry. So eat; eat a lot; eat until you’re full, and succeed.