I hate the idea of dieting almost as much as I hate the suggestion that I read a self-improvement book. It’s not that I don’t need to lose a few pounds, or that I couldn’t learn somethings about my better self through the words of others. It’s just that remaining in a state of denial and self-loathing are so much easier that the work that one needs to put in to actually make substantive life changes.
Regardless, last week, for only the second time in my life, I began a structured diet plan because I had grown tired of watching the tire grow about my waist and because I had read an article about heart health that made me think that dropping these really unattractive pounds would be good for me.
Since I’m too lazy to do any research on my own and rely heavily on recommendations of people I like and respect, I leaned on the advice of my acupuncturist to guide me into a program that she enthusiastically endorsed. I had her order the shakes, supplements, and other goodies that would see me through an initial two-week cleanse/detox/weight-loss experience. Last Monday I jumped in.
I discovered that the claims that sold me on the program proved to be true (mostly):
The shakes taste great!
I don’t really ever get hungry!
I have more, not less, energy than ever before!
I have stopped craving the things that are bad for me!
All of the above were true for about 48 hours. The two daily shakes, which now make up my breakfast and lunch, do not taste bad at all, but are the consistency of wall-patching compound. I frequently feel like I’m eating the shake, not drinking it. By the third day, I was really hungry and found the shakes weren’t holding me until I learned a bit more about how to snack effectively.
It is absolutely true that I have more energy that before I started the diet. The big negative to this development is that it has begun to cut into my afternoon nap time. I’m having to plan more work for myself to keep busy because I’m sleeping more soundly, waking up earlier, and having trouble drifting off in the afternoon. If this keeps up I might actually finish projects around the house that I’ve been avoiding for almost 30 years, and I find that a bit distressing. It’s always been comforting to know that I’m behind on something
My craving for beer absolutely died for exactly two days. My enthusiastic resolve to take advantage of the diet plan killed my desire for a brew for 48 hours, and then it came back with a vengeance. I’m cheating moderately, but it’s OK–I feel plenty guilty about it. Please don’t tell anyone.
So, of course, given this (mostly) concerted effort, I expect the pounds to fall away precipitously, but then I remember that it took several years to attain this unsightly fat and it might just take more than a couple of weeks to burn it all off.
My highly Puritanical digital scale does not help, especially when I start checking my weight twice daily, expecting quick results. It is either just highly sensitive or wildly inaccurate. I swear that if I have a passing thought about eating a donut, the scale jumps a pound or two just as a warning. However, my clothes are fitting better, I have regained a notch on my belt, and I’ve stopped weighing myself for the time being so I can just focus on how I feel more than the half-pound I might have gained or lost.
Time is another issue. I have too much of it now. Having a shake as a meal twice a day really cuts into the amount of time needed for grocery shopping, food preparation, and meals. I try to take my time while chewing on my shake to really savor all 8 ounces of it, but from start to finish, it’s about a 15-minute process. And then I stare longingly at last night’s leftovers, the delicious lunch-sized portions of healthy looking soups, stews, and other dishes that my wife so lovingly prepares for our dinners. I check my watch to see how many hours are left until dinnertime and a real meal.
Today, I am enjoying a “cleanse” day where instead of the shakes, my food intake will be limited to four 8-ounce glasses of nutritious bliss spread out across the day, along with other supplements and a couple of snacks. It’s easier than it sounds actually. And, heck, it’s given me time to write this piece. Who knows, I might even pick up one of those self-help books that people keep giving me and give it a try.