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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tip: Watch Out for the Dieter’s Dilemma!

I’m at the stage in my weight-loss program when my loss has not only slowed to a crawl but sometimes backs up, and I have to spend a few days taking off a pound or two that I put on. At this stage, it’s harder than ever to stick to a food plan, because I’m not getting the reward and excitement of seeing the needle on the scale dropping. The urge is strong to say, “That’s it; that’s all I’m gonna lose. I may as well eat that ___.” Fill in the blank with a high-calorie food—I’m faced with plenty of them.

I keep running up against what I call “The Dieter’s Dilemma.” In the past, when each week I saw progress in my weight loss, I could easily refuse something calorie-laden. Now that I have little to no new losses to cheer about, I’m tempted to splurge on calories. Here’s a perfect example. About two weeks ago, my sister and I went to a restaurant after bowling. We smartly ordered one meal to share. When the server made a mistake on our order, though, she fixed it and added that the owner wanted to apologize by giving us a free flan for dessert. Dessert? I haven’t had a dessert, other than fruit, in months. Flan? Egg custard? Are you kidding me? Flan is one of my all-time favorite desserts on earth. No, the whole universe. A few months ago, I would have been able to refuse it, but not when I’m no longer losing pounds every month. The fresh, jiggly, mouth-watering flan came out on a dish with a large dollop of whipped cream, my other most favorite treat in the whole world. Fortunately my sister and I shared the dessert, so neither of us consumed all the calories, but we both had plenty, and I practically licked the plate clean.

Last week we went to another of our favorite restaurants, and during our conversation with the server, we mentioned how many times we go to that restaurant. At the end of our meal, as a thank-you from the owner, the server offered us another free dessert. What gives? When I was fat as a slaughter-ready hog, no one gave me free desserts, and that’s when I would have snorted them down without hesitation, happy as a pig in sugar.

What the heck, we said, bring on the key lime pie. Perhaps as some sort of offering to the calorie gods, however, this time my sister and I tacitly left the last couple of bites on the plate. Maybe we’re getting better.

Oh, and if free dessert isn’t a dieter’s dilemma, how about Passover, when one plate after another came out, this past Monday night. We’re also supposed to drink several glasses of wine, too. I did manage to sip only one tiny glass of wine and turn down some of the dishes of food and all the desserts, but I left my brother and sister-in-law’s house with a full belly, anyway. Yes, we Jews love any holiday that involves eating. On the bright side, my sister-in-law cooked fewer dishes this year and made sure they were low-calorie, because she’s on a food plan now, too.

My current mission involves fighting the dieter’s dilemma. I must remember to say “no” to free food, free dessert, second helpings, and other tempting treats that undo all the hard work I’ve performed so that I can fit into normal-sized clothes. I keep looking in the mirror to remind myself how much better I look, and it would be a shame to ruin what I’ve accomplished. Every time I leap up from the sofa without having to rock, balance, and groan, I remember how much healthier I am, too. Each time I run up the stairs, I recall how I used to climb up them painfully, one step at a time, and could barely drag the groceries up the stairs into the kitchen. No flan or key lime pie or plate of anything ever tasted as good as being healthy feels, and if I don’t lose another ounce, at least I’m determined not to go back to my unhealthy weight.

Truth be told, I’m still at a less-than-desirable weight, so I’m not abandoning my quest to lose more weight. I do, however, accept that fact that it will take longer than I hoped. Even if I don’t lose any more weight, knowing that I’m still trying to do so will keep me from turning loose of my self-control and forgetting all I’ve learned on my journey toward obtaining a healthier body.

With the support of my readers and my own mental discipline, the next time someone says, “Free dessert,” I’ll say, “That’s the dieter’s dilemma, but no, thank you.”

1 comment:

  1. Your blogs are right on target for me. First, it was letting the not as healthy choices slip back into my mouth. Then, Free Chocolate Truffles... ARGH. Food as rewards or apologies. Geez.

    We've made progress. Just step back to the plate (with healthy choices.)