On Starting a Diet: Day One Hundred Sixty-Eight

856599_76957995Best practices for starting a diet (all the fuck over again)…

I am no expert. I am merely a repository of a great deal of experience in this matter.  This is tongue-in-cheek, and more for me than for you (despite the second person) but like everything here, if you can make use of it, do.

1.  Take/find/use a picture of yourself just as you are at this moment.   Stare at it even if it gives you the shivers.  Remember that, in all probability, you look fine.  In the grand scheme of things, you are probably okay with the fact that people see and interact with you at the size you are.  You’re able to go outside and shake hands and maybe, date, or flirt and you might even have great body acceptance and want to start dieting for reasons entirely other than the way you look.  But, there’s probably also a shred or a sliver of shame and sorrow and loss of control and dislike that you feel for yourself.  You shouldn’t have to have this embedded in your psyche, but today’s modern living…you probably do.  And for me, negative impulses have a lot more power to motivate me than positive ones.  At least when you need that good hard spur to your own ass to start watching what you eat, forcing yourself to exercising and drink water as opposed to not doing it.    So stare at that photo and think, hey, let’s get away from this visual.

2.  Prepare.  Cook a week’s worth of stuff.   Pack it and bring it and then eat it.  You have to make new neural pathways about this rather than, oh, hunger = go through the drive through and eat until either you’re overfull and you want to puke or you’re so filled with self-loathing about what you ate that you want to puke.

3. Recognize that right away people are going to comment, control, and sabotage.  Not even meaning anything by it.  They get excited (which is at the worst when you’re only hanging on by a piece of dental floss off the great cliff of bingery and wagon-falling-offing.)  They try and be helpful and start tsk-tsking when they see you with something off plan.  Even if you don’t announce it, if they see you eat one meal that shows intention, the next one you’re open season.  Then, of course, it turns out that three days in, you have to go to your favorite restaurant and more likely than not, NOT order your favorite, faux emotionally fulfilling meal and try and order a salad, knowing you have no control over how many calories or carbs are actually in it, even if you pick carefully and make notations like a freak.  You are going to have to feel like a freak for a while.   You are going to have to sit on the pedestal of person making life changes, you’re going to have to be the best taxidermied platypus in the “look at this asshole thinking *this* is the time it’s going to work” exhibit.  Because they’re never going to move you into the “Oh, shit, she actually did it” diorama until you’ve been on display, flop sweat and self-loathing and angry and self-important and all for a good long while.

4.  Get rid of the stuff in your house that you’re going to self-justify eating and pushing back your start time.  Try not to do this by eating it.  Or instituting a super long series of this is the last time I get to eat this for 9000 years so I’m going to just eat ALL of it right now.  Sometimes, you have to, though, because it seems like that will become an itch that will need to be scratched immediately when you start your self-imposed moratorium on “happy food” but, you have to stick with your start date and time and meal and once you’ve entered diet time, “new lifestyle time” or whatever the fuck you’re labeling it so that you can swallow it down with your broccoli spears, you’ve started.  It’s happening.  It counts.  Sneakery has not just physical consequences, but personal integrity consequences as well.

7. Track your shit.  Even if you have to generally guess at what’s in the things you ate…track your best guesses because when you stop tracking, you stop caring and craziness ensues and you go back to the start, not passing go or collecting 200 dolla.  MyFitnessPal is your pal.  It is not perfect for low-carb, but at least you aren’t going by gut instinct…which, when you’re in the first few weeks or months, is just not going to be accurate.  Track your water and try and drink more than 0 glasses of water a day.

8.  Find a website that helps you stay motivated – be it conversation, pictures (if you find pictures of skinny, sweaty people motivating, more power to you), recipes,  venting.   Bookmark it and look at it every day, it helps if you don’t find the people who post there on a different wavelength or philosophy than you.   No need to collect other people’s diet rage when you probably have your own in spades.

9.  Try and lower your expectations with regard to numbers and scales.  You need a scale, maybe, probably at least to start.  But you are not going to lose a pound a day, every day for the next month (or year) or whatever it would be until you’re at the goal weight you’re setting for yourself.  That’s not going to fucking happen, a. because it’s not healthy, b. your body doesn’t work like that and c. you can’t get a whole new wardrobe in a month and d. nothing in life has that exact perfect trajectory and you’re probably going to have some accidental tacos and suddenly gain back three pounds and want to stab yourself in the face.  You gotta keep going regardless of the day to day fluctuations, knowing that you’re building habits, you’re retraining your brain and your body and you’re PUSHING (persisting until something happens).

10.  Exercise from day 1.  Thinking that once you get the diet nailed down you’re going to exercise means you’re never going to exercise and then, your weight loss is slower and your energy is lower and your bad moods are like anvils falling down on your head and suddenly recidivism sounds like a damn fine plan.  You can do it for 10 minutes a day every day, that’s what’s scary.  You’re at least that powerful and when you feel like it’s mildly less stupid and awful, do a bit more.

Maybe I’ll have more ideas later.

2 thoughts on “On Starting a Diet: Day One Hundred Sixty-Eight”

  1. ” d. nothing in life has that exact perfect trajectory and you’re probably going to have some accidental tacos and suddenly gain back three pounds and want to stab yourself in the face.” – this made me LOL, but for real and way hard.

    I agree with #10, no exercise along with diet overhaul from the get-go is far less successful.

    I had recently been thinking how this time is literally the only time I’ve consistently and persistently made exercise a priority. Alas, I’ve stuck with it for 4 months, my longest and most successful stint yet & counting.

    :)

  2. That is absolutely fabulous that you’ve been able to stick with it!. I find that once you’re in the groove, it becomes crazy to stop. But when I do, I throw the whole thing out with the bathwater for even the smallest screw-up.

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