I was flipping around stations last night and came across the super-long deluxe finale of NBC's The Biggest Loser
. I stopped to watch for a few minutes and part of the show began to bug me.
There was a contestant on there named Susie who was apparently out of the game in the first few weeks for not losing enough weight (I'm not sure how this works because I've not watched a whole episode before now). Anyway, we see a segment on how Susie is doing now that she's back home and there's less accountability to her diet. At one point, Susie is out with friends at a restaurant and asking about healthy choices from the menu. I'm fine with that. In fact, I applaud it. But then, as the food arrives, Susie starts to bawl and cry when her friends offer her samples or bites of various foods--including trying a taste of a peanut oil dip. Susie says, "Oh no, I can't have it" and starts to break down and cry.
We then hear her talking about how hard it is and how horrible it is.
Not to sound unsympathetic, but good grief, get over it. Now, I come at this from the perspective of someone who went on a diet and lost a good bit of weight a few years ago. I've also manged to keep the weight off, which I think is the hard part.
One of the things I learned on the diet was that, hey, you're human. You're going to cheat on the diet every once in a while because--hey, let's face it, chocolate chip cookies are delicious right out of the oven. But what defines the diet and the change in lifestyle (which is really what a diet is on many levels...it's about a change in your eating lifestyle and habits) isn't what you do at one meal but it's a big picture thing. For example, you can have portions and portion control. If you want to enjoy some stuffing at Thanksgiving dinner, go ahead. Have a small portion. Or a single portion instead of two, three or four. One thing I learned in my dieting expereince was--if you're gonna cheat on the diet, make it something you really want not just whatever is there. Don't just have that chocolate chip cookie or stuffing if you don't want it or just because it's there. Or if you have a cookie, don't say--well, I've blown it today and then eat the entire bag or the entire batch you've just baked.
In a lot of ways, Susie's actions really turned my stomach. I was fortunate in that friends and family supported me on the diet thing. But in watching Susie and how she acted, I hope I never acted that way. She was making her friends miserable because she had to say, "Oh woe is me..I can't eat whatever I want. Oh, isn't that terrible?" I mean, it's just about choices as I've said before..you don't have to make yourself a food martyr. And you can try a bit of something and it won't destroy your entire weight loss program. And I know that I had friends and family who supported me...in fact, one of my good friends would, in good nature, get after me at work when they'd bring in pizza during my diet since I love pizza and that's an area of weakness in the self-control department for me. But it wasn't done to be mean or to make me feel bad, but to help me out because he knew I was watching what I ate and that I'd beat myself up over it later. And hey, you can have friends help you out if they know you're dieting. I know that during my diet, I was addicted to baby carrots (still like them) and I remember a lot of Saturday afternoon football games over at my good buddy David Broyle's house where he'd have muchies out that included veggies and baby carrots. Also, they were not offended when I offered to bring some healthy munchies....yes, sure there were still chips and the other stuff, but there were choices. And I appreciated that a good deal.
Right now, it's the holidays. It's a time when there is a lot of really good food out there...and not all of it's good for you. But you know, if you're dieting or trying to maintain your waist line, you can do it. I know I've pledged to maintain my weight during the holidays and there is a group at the Y that is helping me to do it. It helps that there's a goal--if you and your partner win, then you get free parking for a year. Not a bad thing, really. And I know there are office parties and family gatherings coming up that will have really good food that I'll want to eat a lot of...becuase hey, food is good. But I also know that I can make it through without gaining anything and still enjoy the holidays. I hope to not make my friends and family miserable. I don't intend to say--oh look at me, I'm dieting and can't eat this or that. I know I'll make good choices, I know I'll make a few bad ones...but I hope to achieve a balance that works for me.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/30/2005 09:02:00 AM