Down is better than up. When it comes to losing weight, most experts, pundits, and observers tell you that you should not weigh yourself every day. I have in this space gone into details on that before, but it is the general consensus. It is not so much that I buck the trend as much as it is that I am just that kind of guy, and I want to see every day whether I am losing weight or not. On the days that I am, I am happy. On the days that I am not, I review the previous day to see if there is a reason why – something I did that might explain not losing or even gaining weight – and try to adjust my behaviour for the next day. If there is no reason why, then I remind myself that weight loss is not linear, and what is important is the downward trend of weight loss over time, and not the individual points on the graph.
This morning, my weight was down from yesterday… very slightly. Following a four-day streak that had me down 3.4 lbs, the loss of only 0.2 lbs could be seen as insignificant. That would be wrong, for two reasons that I called out in the previous paragraph:
- While it may not be the individual points on the graph that are important, several points on that graph make a trend. Five days of 0.2 lbs down is equal to a pound lost.
- When losing weight, down is always better than up. That loss of only 0.2 lbs may be seen as minor, but it is still down, and down is better than up.
There are so many opportunities in life to gain weight. It is the psychological game, the constant reminders of things that you would like to eat but cannot. Avoiding temptations that are constantly in our face is so difficult and yet it is one of the cornerstones of weight loss. Yesterday afternoon I sat with a couple of friends on their porch, and they told me they bought me something. It turns out they bought me a package of Hebrew National sausages, which are of course kosher. I had originally planned that yesterday’s meal would be fish, but in the early afternoon decided that I was not in the mood for fish and would instead buy chicken. Either of these are options on my diet that I am familiar with, can control, and which are quite healthy. While the sausages might be lower in fat and whatever other macronutrients, I also know that there is no such thing in this world as a healthy hotdog. I accepted them gratefully and put them into my freezer for a day when I want and deserve a special treat.
The sausages were not my only opportunity to cheat yesterday. In fact, they were not even close. Driving to and from their house in Hamilton, I passed myriad restaurants that called to me with Buffalo wings, shawarma, hamburgers, pizzas, and more. Forget that Bulk Barn is along the way, and I could have stopped in for a handful of peanuts (or so many indulgences that are far worse). When I got to the supermarket, I bought lettuce and onions and chicken… and having to pass through the prepared foods section and bakery to get to those is never fun. How easy it would be to cheat in the breads section alone? I wouldn’t need the fancy pies and other desserts to satisfy my cravings when fresh rolls were just as delicious… and just as evil.
The other day I was thinking to myself how terrible traditional media is for a dieter, with every restaurant and unhealthy food staple being advertised with great imagery. Even the radio commercials paint a picture of the wonderful and terrible foods that I want but cannot eat. If you turn off the radio and television, you cannot drive down most streets without seeing a billboard or an ad on the side of a bus that shows temptations. If you can steel your mind to those, just walking into a supermarket to buy the healthiest of foods requires walking past the unhealthiest. It is no wonder that dieting is so difficult, with temptations at every turn. It is worse in the United States than in Canada, but it is no picnic here. If anyone asks why losing weight is so difficult, the reasons are everywhere… because marketing is everywhere, and nobody advertises salads.
In the end, I did indulge yesterday. I feel bad about it, but I stopped at Bulk Barn and bought a very small handful of peanuts – they cost me $0.77, taxes included – to eat on my way to Lyle and Dorothy’s. To compensate for the added calories, I cut out one meal replacement. Previously when I was eating peanuts every day, it was in addition to what I was supposed to be eating. To quote a line from the movie For Love of the Game: “A lot of little bottles equals one big bottle.” Yes, I had about 250 calories worth of peanuts yesterday, but I had them instead of a meal replacement. Is it a habit I should be in? No. Is it a way to mitigate the affects of cheating once in a while? Yes. Even so, I will not make a habit of it.
I still did not go for a walk yesterday. My intention was to try to go after I got home from my friends’ house. Owing to the sleepless night, I did not feel that I would have been safe walking. I could hardly walk a straight line down the hallways of my building. I hope to resume my walking today. While Princess Sophie did need to go out once in the night, it was only once… unlike the previous night which was completely lost due to her upset stomach. I will wear my bigger shoes, so as to not aggravate the already aggravated blisters on my heel, and I might limit my distance… but I will walk today.
Before I do that, I have an entire day of teaching to get through… and of avoiding temptations.
Have a great day everyone!