I was talking to Wendi, who lost 25 pounds and has kept it off since January, about how it was easy for her to stick to her diet when she was committed, and how she hopes she can “flip the switch,” so to speak, to ignite her determination to get back on her diet and lose more weight.
We discussed what it would take to flip the switch. I believe it’s commitment. Losing weight must be very important to you in order for you to be willing to make the sacrifice of eating less, or healthier, or exercising more.
I think starting a diet, after being off one for awhile or never being on one before, is not as hard as trying to get back on the wagon when you only recently fell off. You are acutely aware of the sacrifice you must make to stick to your diet (you just did it), so you keep postponing the re-start hoping to build up your determination. All too often, however, the re-start never materializes.
Years ago, the longer and more often I had to exert my willpower to stay on a diet, the more difficult to re-start it once I got off for any significant period of time. But now that my diet allows frequent lapses, I am not dissuaded by the prospect of having to exert my willpower for months or years at a time when I am considering re-starting my diet. Now my diet allows me to splurge once or twice a week. I don’t have to be super disciplined for a long a stretch of time, which reduces my anxiety to re-start my diet. Of course, this may not work for everyone. To each his own. But this works for me and I especially like the fact that there’s a logical explanation as to why.
I must flip the switch 4 times a year to re-start my diet in order to get down to my target weight by my quarterly target date. Once I hit my target, I pig out for 2-3 weeks, then maintain for a month, and then start dieting to reach my next quarterly target. For my most recent target date, March 31, I had to hit 165 (originally my target was 163, but thanks to the 2-pound allowance Scott gave me, which I only accepted as a favor to him, I was able to hit my target without hurting myself).
Holy Cow! 26 pounds under my target!!
Oops. Wrong pic. 🙂
That’s more like it.
As it turns out, Scott didn’t even use the 2-pound allowance I gave him. So there you go. I was trying to be a nice guy, yet I didn’t finish last. I was rewarded instead. Thanks again Scott! But even with that 2-pound allowance, I had a difficult pull to make 165 by March 31. You see, I waited too long to flip the switch and had too many lapses after I re-started my diet (I had an “Oh too wonderful!” calorie-filled 6 weeks after making my 165 target weight on Dec. 24, 2012), so I had to fast the last 2 days of March (I even cut way down on fluids, which was not smart nor healthy). But I was determined to make my weight, despite the fact that I hadn’t agreed to a penalty (such as going out to dinner wearing a dress), if I didn’t make it.
So why did I kill myself to make my quarterly weight. It wasn’t because I felt the 3 pounds I had to lose those last 2 days were critical to my long-term health, or would make me look thinner. No. The requisite commitment to achieve my goal arose from my fear of losing a “bet” against my opponent, Scott, and having to admit my failure to my fellow L-Wackos. And even then, I almost didn’t make it. That’s how hard it is to lose weight, sometimes. You have to take it seriously or failure is lurking behind every corner (of a chocolate bar). At least for me, it is. Hopefully, I’ve learned my lesson and will re-start my diet sooner for my July 4th target. FYI, I have set an interim target of 163 by the end of April (although there is no penalty if I don’t make it). That will match the lowest I’ve been in 3 years. I’m planning on going to 161 by July 4, that would be my lowest in 25 years.
I also recently spoke to Laurie, who successfully competed in the L-Wacko Challenge for 6 months, but went off her diet about a year ago. We too discussed what it would take for her to re-start her diet. She said she thought about the guy I mentioned in my book who committed to lose weight when his doctor said he had to lose 75 pounds or he would likely die. Laurie said she didn’t want to wait until that happens to her, but her concern hadn’t been enough to get her to commit again. She talked about how she wanted to look better and suggested that putting up a full-length mirror in her bedroom might help. I agreed, saying that I often boost my determination to lose weight by commiserating with my mirror image over my too-big-to-see-my-you-know-what gut. I’m hoping Laurie buys the mirror and gets back on the Challenge.
For Donna, a new job and a strong desire to be thin for her first day at work was all it took for her to flip the switch. She did the SuperGlow Cleanse at least twice and lost over 10 pounds in less than 2 months. Now she’s relatively thin AND her skin is silky smooth to boot.
Meanwhile, I want to welcome the latest addition to our L-Wacko Siblinghood, Lee, a former NCAA Div. 1 All-American wrestler and, of late, an Iron Man tri-athlete. Lee wants to lose about 12 pounds by the Fourth of July (from 194 to 182), which will probably put him pretty close to his optimum weight. There is no question Lee has the willpower to achieve his objective. He loves to exert self-discipline like I love eating chocolate. He’s also extremely competitive. There is no way Lee will “lose” to any of us, especially Scott or me. It would be too embarrassing. So just signing up for the Challenge probably was enough to guarantee that Lee will achieve his weight-loss objective. But just to make it an absolute lock, he agreed to wear a dress out to dinner with the gang if he doesn’t make weight. I’ll tell you this, if Lee is wearing a dress in July, it’s because he’s been waiting his whole life for a good excuse to wear one in public, not because he didn’t make weight.
If anyone wants to commit to a target weight by the Fourth, just post it in the comment section.