Monday, March 23, 2009

it gets easier.

On Friday I picked up The Beck Diet Solution and have been reading it over the weekend. While I’m not really interested in following her plan to the letter, a lot of it did resonate with me.

She talks about ‘muscles’ a lot – not your actual muscles, but I guess mental muscles. She talks about how the more you get used to resisting temptations, the more you strengthen that muscle. The more you get used to eating slowly and savouring what you’re eating, the more you strengthen that muscle. The more you follow your own ‘food rules,’ the more you strengthen that muscle. And the reverse is true too – the more you GIVE IN to temptation, the more you strengthen THAT muscle. The more you rush through your food, not notice what you’re eating, and finish the meal wanting more – the more you strengthen THAT muscle. The more you break your food rules (or go off plan) the more you strengthen THAT muscle.

The practical effect of that is that – dieting gets easier. It really does. I think that’s where I am now. I’m used to turning things down. I’m used to ordering salad instead of fries. I’m used to saying no to cookies and chocolate and other treats that get brought in to work. I don’t even fret about it much anymore, and I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. Little things, you know? They were giving out chocolate samples at the grocery store on Saturday and I grabbed one and put it in my coat pocket, and it’s just been sitting there ever since. I don’t feel at all tempted by it. My ‘resisting’ muscles are strong.

Don’t get me wrong, I definitely don’t think I’m home-free or anything. I know that it’ll get hard again. Just like with actual muscles, there will quickly come a day when I have to ‘up my game’ to keep being successful. My points allowance will go down, I’ll get bored of the foods I eat now – stuff like that happens, but it’s all part of the process. It just feels good that I have this … ‘proof’, now, that it’s true – that dieting gets easier. And that next time it gets hard, I just need to keep going, and it’ll get easier again.

I guess this is still kind of amazing to me because I know that even six months ago, I wouldn’t have believed it. I honestly thought there was NO WAY I could stop eating chips. I could NOT give up my muffin for breakfast. And even aside from specific foods, I really truly thought there was no way I could give up my ability to eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I was addicted to that. But now I realize it’s just that my ‘indulgence’ muscle was the only one I’d been working, for so long, that it was the only one I knew how to use. And it was STRONG. But the answer was there all along, like the opposite side of coin – just make the other muscles stronger.

I wish I could pinpoint exactly what it was that made me decide to take the plunge and join WW, and what it was that made me really work hard at it the first few weeks. If I knew what that was, I’d probably be a billionaire. :) But what I DO know is that anyone can change, if they’re willing to just give it a few weeks of solid effort. It really truly does get easier.