The food plan I follow isn’t new to me; I followed it about fifteen years ago and lost sixty pounds, when I wanted to stay off blood-pressure medication. At that time, my doctor beamed with pride over my accomplishment and said, “Now all you have to do is think like a thin person.”
Duh? I’d never been thin in my life, and even after losing sixty pounds, I still weighed more than most women my height. Think like a thin person? What did he mean? When I asked, he said, “If you gain a few pounds, take if off right away, so you can stay at this weight.”’
His sage advice fell on deaf ears, because I considered myself fat, and I thought like a fat person. As my weight gradually crept up again, these are the thoughts that were running through my mind: “I lost weight; I deserve to eat a big meal now and then.” “Now and then” soon became every meal.
Sometimes I thought, “I’m rewarding myself,” when I ate more food than I should. I also thought, “That was so good that another helping will be even better.” After a while, I got into the habit of eating dinner, having ice cream for dessert, and then eating a big bowl of popcorn while I watched TV at night. My thinking? “I won’t eat popcorn tomorrow night, just tonight.” Ha. I soon was eating it every night I was home. When my clothes no longer fit, instead of thinking like a thin person and losing the weight, I thought like a fat person and bought bigger clothes. Over the years the clothes that grew too tight were donated to charity and I bought even larger sizes. Fifteen years later, I had not only regained all the weight I’d lost but had put on an additional twenty-five pounds. Why was it so easy? Because I always thought of myself as fat, so even when photos of me shocked me, I shrugged and said, “So what? I’ve always been fat.”
The frustrating thing is that when I look at pictures taken when I was in my late thirties, when I thought myself fat, I looked fine. No, I was not thin; I’ve never been thin, but I was at a healthy weight. Why did I think I was fat? Well, I won’t go to a head shrink over it; the fact remains that because I have always weighed more than the medical charts say I should, it’s been easy for me to gain weight, thinking I’m fat already, so what’s another pound or two? I thought like a fat person. I didn’t know how to think otherwise.
This time, though, and I swear it’s true, I’m determined to use every trick in the book to lose weight, get healthy, and stay healthy. I must change my thinking and think like a thin person, so I did some research. I asked several thin people how they think. Here are some of their responses:
“I think of my body as holy, which it is, and so I take care of it. I won’t eat anything that isn’t good for me.”
“I have a trap door that shuts off when I’ve eaten enough food.”
“I refuse to eat desserts, except for fruit. Cakes, puddings, and pies have almost no food value and don’t last long enough in my mouth to be worth how long they stay on my hips.”
“Desserts don’t exist for me. Period.”
“I’ve always liked vegetables more than starches, such as potatoes and rice.”
“When my clothes stop fitting, I deny myself the urge to go shopping for larger clothes. I refuse to wear clothes any larger than the size I am now.”
“I don’t own a scale. I gauge my weight by how my clothes fit. If they start feeling tight, I eat less at each meal until my clothes feel comfortable again.”
Fitting into the same clothes year after year became a theme among the thin people I asked. One of my friends had a favorite pair of slacks that fit her perfectly. When she could no longer wear them, she set out to lose the seven pounds that stood between her and those pants. Once she fit back into her favorite pants, she donated two pair of larger-size jeans she had bought, so she wouldn’t be tempted to go back to her higher weight.
We women of size get ticked at thin women who bemoan the fact that they have five or seven pounds to lose. We scoff at their comments and say they don’t have to lose weight, but they think like thin people, so they actually do have to lose that weight. If we thought like them, we would never grow to the large size that we are.
Think like a thin person. I’ve got to learn to think like a thin person.
A few weeks ago I dreamed someone gave me a whole cake. I pulled off the icing (the best part) and was about to put it in my mouth, when in the dream I said to myself, "Whoa! I forgot I'm on a food plan!" In my dream, I stopped myself and did not eat the icing. A week or so later, I dreamed I went to an event that included dinner, but when I went to the buffet table, it held nothing but ooey gooey desserts, just the things I used to love. In the dream, though, I felt insulted and asked someone, “Where’s the real food?” Both mornings after those dreams I awoke feeling proud that even in my dreams I refused to eat things that did not contribute to my health.
Last night when I finished dinner, I took my plate to the kitchen sink and heard an ancient, familiar internal voice that said, “Dinner was good. What do you want to eat now?” I haven’t heard that voice in a few months, because I’ve been consciously working on my food plan, portion control, and healthy eating. I’ve been trying hard to think like a thin person, so when I heard that voice, I mentally answered, “Yes, dinner was good, and now you’ve eaten plenty.”
Maybe I’m learning to think like a thin person after all.
Starting weight: 245
Weight last week: 210
Goal weight for this week: 209
Actual weight this week: 209
Goal weight for next week: 208
Total pounds lost: 36
Goal weight: 150