Don’t Use Dirty Words
When I was a child, there were two words that always filled me with dread. Every evening my mother would say, “Bed time,” and I knew that I would soon be tucked into my bed in a darkened room while everyone else in the house watched something exciting on television with a Coke™ and a fun snack. Life seemed so unfair. I told my mother that the words “bed time” were dirty words. My mother laughed and said that I’d grow to love those words one day. I vowed to myself that when I grew up, I would stay up late and watch exciting things on television while having a Coke™ and a fun snack.
Now that I’m all grown up and a good way into my fifties, I love the words “Bed time” and “Nap," so those words are now on my “clean words” list. There are two words that have come to replace them though, and those words are “Diet” and “Exercise." I do not like hearing or reading those words! At least I didn’t until I faced that extraordinary number on my scale that I told you about in my last post. You also know how I cleaned up the word “Exercise," so now I want to talk about the other word!… The “D” word!
Whenever I hear or read the word “Diet,” I cringe! Immediately, visions of my friends and family enjoying mountains of good food while I munch on a celery stick and a rice cake come in to my head. Once again life seems to me to be very unfair, and I can’t wait to get the weight off and be done with this diet. The day that scary number popped up on my scale, I knew that something had to be done, but I was not going to go on yet another diet. This time the changes needed to be lasting ones that I would be able to live with for the rest of my life. I decided that the “D” word really was a dirty word, and I banished it from my vocabulary. Okay, good! Now, how do I get that number on my scale to go down without going on a...?
It was time to go back to my old hero Neil Armstrong and the “one small step” way to success. I thought about what usually happens when I tire of the weight-loss plan I’d been following. Usually I tell myself that I’ll just learn to cut back the portion sizes of the things on my dinner plate, but I never do it and... well you know the rest. What I needed were some portion control rules and guidelines that I could actually follow and feel good about. I got out all my books on nutrition, and I went online and began to research food portion control. There was a lot of good information available to me, but no two sources agreed on what a portion should be. My mother always said that if I would simply cut my portions in half, I would lose weight. I knew, however, that cutting in half the super-sized portions I usually ate was not going to do anything to lower that number on my scale. As I continued my research, I noticed that one phrase popped up in everything I read. I was seeing the words “one half cup” everywhere! I decided that my first rule would be the “half cup” rule. I would put one half cup of each of the foods I was serving on my plate and eat it. If I was still hungry, I’d allow myself one more half cup of the lowest calorie food on the menu. If I had a snack later, I’d only allow myself one half cup of it. Can you guess what happened? I learned quickly that a half cup of grapes goes further than a half cup of potato chips. This approach actually began to work for me. I don’t have a lot of scientific research to back this up, and I won’t tell you that I lost ten pounds in ten days; Nor was this the only change I had to make. It was the first change I made though, and it was the first change I felt sure I could live with for the rest of my life.
Maybe you have just faced a very scary number on your scale too. Maybe, like me, you don’t like to use dirty words like the “D” word. If so, I encourage you to tackle portion control as your first step. I’ll tell you some other ways to control your portions as we go forward, but for now try the “half cup” rule and see if you begin to notice a change in your scary number.