I just got back from spending a long weekend with my parents. One of my younger sisters, Jen, looks great. I told me that she lost 10 pounds since Christmas. Her secret? She decided to go on an all vegetarian diet, but she still snacks on junk food. Huh? Am I missing something here?
Like Jen, I have tried various other “diets.” They just do not work for me. The reason why is that they always require such a HUGE modification of my current lifestyle. I cannot live with eating only certain food, prepared a certain way, for the rest of my life. I find dieting only manageable when I can control the eating situation, but once you are with friends and family, it is difficult to stay on your diet. I cannot live without my friends and family. Heck, what is the point of slimming down and adopting a healthier lifestyle if you cannot enjoy your life with these people?
So why am I still reading all these dieting books? I am not looking for that silver bullet. It does not exist. But what I am looking for is one or two principles that I can easily incorporate into my current lifestyle that will take me closer to healthy.
For example, I tried the Slimfast diet in college. I was able to drop 12 pounds successfully with it, but I gained it all back because I cannot just have one meal a day. From that experience, I found that I like to eat at least two meals a day, plus my three snacks. The one meal that I do not care too much about is breakfast. Since the first of January I have started drinking Slimfast again for breakfast. I have lost 3 pounds from that small behavior modification. I do exercise regularly 3 times a week for 30 minutes, but I think that has helping with preventing any further gain than actually weight loss. I ask myself the following questions as I tried the Slimfast substitution for breakfast:
1. Can I stick with it for a month?
Yes. According to the Franklin Covey’s model of time management, 27 days (could be 28 days) is the point when you change a conscious behavior modification to a habit. I hope that in another week, this will become a habit for me because breakfast is the only meal I am willing to eat “diet food.”
2. Does it require an excessive amount of preparation time?
No. I am a lazy person. Excessive preparation time is 15 minutes more than usual for me. I sip on Slimfast as I am putting on my makeup so I actually save time by not having to set aside another 15 minutes in the morning to eat breakfast.
3. Does it cost too much money?
When on sale, I can get Slimfast for $1/can. So at $1/can/day, I find this cost reasonable. I used to spend $5/week on breakfast food at the grocery store. So switching to Slimfast will only cost me an extra $2/week. This will not become a financial drain on me if I keep this up infinitely.
4. Does it interfere with my socializing?
No. Breakfast is my only solitary meal of the day. I enjoy my lunches with my friends at work and dinners with my husband. I love my daily interactions with these people. Breakfast is the only time I can make a big change without creating too much of a fuss with my socializing. And it is a big change for me to go from solid food to a liquid food. But I love being able to eat out with my friends two or three times a week when one of us get a good coupon, when we want to celebrate, or when we just tired of brown bagging or lunches. I know I need to make a change in my current eating habits to decrease my overall calorie intake for the day. The lesser of the evils for me is changing my breakfast.
Eating dinner with Jen is not as pleasant as a used to be. I can see that she is not enjoying her meal and just pushing food around her plate. So we’ll see how long she sticks with this vegetarian diet. After all, it could be my mother’s cooking that is causing her to push her food around. But then again, maybe she has not figure out that restrictive diets do not work.
Until next time and thanks for stopping by Small Steps to Health.
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