“To Lose the Weight, Eat Food You Like”, and Other Nonsense

When you’re in a hurry, take your time.

Slow and steady wins the race.

To lose the weight, eat food you like.

Do these statements seem illogical?  If many of us are honest, the answer is “yes!”.

“Take my time when I’m in a hurry?!  Are you kidding?  I need to rush.”  Moving in overdrive may seem to make more sense when time is tight, but think about it for a moment.  I have.

I remind myself every time I am hurrying to put makeup on before rushing out the door – Kim, slow down or you will be walking around with mascara on your cheek and lipstick on your teeth (not a good look).  After a couple of re-do’s that cost me many unavailable minutes, I have learned to repeat to myself, “When you’re in a hurry, take your time.”  The end result is less like a 5-year-old playing dress up, and more like a professional heading out to work.

It is equally unnatural to tame the desire to overachieve, to “win the race” – defined (by me) as forcing quick lifestyle changes that require more deliberate “slow and steady” practice to become permanent.   The overachiever mentality runs rampant in the diet world.  There are plenty of enticements to lose it quick, and that is very tempting.

The fact is that the tortoise beat the speedy hare, and the same principle applies to changing habits.  Be patient!  It may not make immediate sense, but more realistic changes will put you ahead in the long run.

By now you have figured out that I do not really think that eating food you like is nonsense either – quite the opposite, in fact.  Food has to provide a certain amount of satisfaction to meet overall needs.  Most of us realize that physical hunger needs to be fed, but the need for pleasure from food is not as well understood by the dieting population.

The brain likes rewards – in all areas of life – and food that feels boring and bland will only be tolerable for a short time before more interesting alternatives take their place.  The more boring the food, the more taste-stimulating the “exceptions” are likely to be.  Consistency is more likely when eating is infused with a moderate amount of pleasure.

For most people, pleasure and health are not mutually exclusive.  Healthy food can certainly taste good too.  The bigger problem arises when emotional needs for reward or pleasure become tightly connected with food over time.  The habits that form as a result can be difficult to break.

But that is for a future post.  That will be a LONG one!

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2 responses to ““To Lose the Weight, Eat Food You Like”, and Other Nonsense

  1. Life is too short not to get pleasure from food!

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