Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Looking For Loopholes

Sometimes I think about all of my past failures with trying to lose weight (in addition to my one success), and ponder why I failed before and am succeeding now. One of the biggest reasons is that my initial motivation to change was much larger this time so I had a bigger push to find a way to make it work this time. My "big life change" in several years which will require that I find a new job scared me into doing something last year.

While that motivation got me going, it isn't what has me succeeding. I think there are plenty of people who have even more important and pressing motives than me. For instance, there are people with very dire health problems or who are at risk who need to lose weight. There are also people with children or families to look after. My motive is definitely not the most pressing, and I frankly don't believe any long-term change in lifestyle can occur only because of a good, strong motivator.

This time out, one thing I finally figured out, and this is obvious intellectually, but not so emotionally, is that there are no loopholes in dealing with the food side of this. Part of the reason we (fat people) think there are loopholes is that we are constantly marketed solutions that will spare us the part we feel the least emotionally equipped to handle, controlling our eating. Low carb is supposed to make us feel less hungry by default so that we won't have to fight our urges. Weight Watchers is supposed to give us freedom so we can eat what we want as long as we stay within allotted points. Plans to focus on fitness are supposed to allow us to keep over-fueling our bodies by burning off the excess energy.

We look for loopholes because we feel hopeless and powerless in the face of food. This is what makes it an addiction. If we can just find the right alchemy, either our hunger will vanish and we won't have to fight our cravings or we can shovel in as much food as we want without gaining weight. We're desperate for the loophole that will help us escape being under the spell of food. This desperation has fueled economic empires as diet pills, supplements, diet plans, and exercise gear and plans are grasped at by people like me who feel the only way out is a loophole.

This time around, I've finally internalized the idea that there are no loopholes or special diets that will make it all go away. It will never go away. I will always have to face times when I am hungry and have to fight not acting on that hunger. I will have to build up the ability to resist food and limit portions. I have to create the psychological building blocks that allow me to do these things because there is no loophole that will allow me to not do the hard mental work.

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