Tuesday, January 8, 2008

That Diet Thing

It's January. That means one thing to millions of women. Time for the diet. If you're like me you probably start, stop, fail and give up more diets in one year that anyone needs to. It's a never ending cycle. Point to a half a dozen people that you know, and you'll find someone who just started a diet, someone who's really doing well on their diet (don't you just hate them!), someone who's just given up on a diet, someone who's failing a diet, someone who's researching diets and possibly, someone who needs to gain weight. (Hate those people too.) January is the only time of year when the majority of us are all in the same place with our diets. We're starting out. We're trying to honor that New Year's Resolution. It's kind of a wipre-the-slate-clean time. Something about the whole new year thing makes us feel like something's changed. This time we can actually do this.
Did you ever notice that people that have just started a diet are really annoying? They've suddenly become diet experts. Plus, they're so enthusiastic! Don't you just want to sabotage them sometimes? Talk them into splitting a dessert with you when you go out, or convince them that you need a binge-buddy and if they're really your friend, they'll help you through this time. Then when they crash and burn we can say, "I knew it wouldn't last."
If someone sticks to a diet enough to see some results, then you have a problem. You can't sabotage these people. It's one thing to take down a smug person who wouldn't have succeeded anyway, but if they actually start losing weight, it's just too cruel to try and derail their efforts. So you outwardly congratulate them, even while inwardly you turn green with envy as you watch their weight seemingly melt away. It hurts to see them where you want to be. It hurts so much, you find yourself eating extra chocolate to console yourself.
The ones who are failing are the crabby ones. They've deprived themselves of food long enough to get over the initial euphoria of doing something good for themselves. Now they're just hungry and burnt out on celery sticks. They're not giving up yet, so you can't share a celebratory "love yourself no matter what" dessert. They'll stick to their roughage, but they're not happy about it.
I get a kick out of the diet researchers. Don't get me wrong; I'm all for checking out what's available and making your plans based on what's best for you and your lifestyle. (Although I must say, if you had the right kind of lifestyle, you probably wouldn't need to be researching diets, now would you?) No, I like the ones who've spent years researching the best diet for them. They may have made a few practice runs on different methods, but they're still trying to find the one that fits them best. They're not losing weight and probably never will, but they could definitely tell you which diet works best for your body type!
I think the happiest people are the ones who just recently gave up on a diet. Just like pregnant women get to use the "eating for two" mentality, diet quitters have a little no-hitting zone. They just came off a diet that wasn't working. They've suffered and deprived themselves. So they just enjoy food for a little while without worrying about what it's doing to their hips. Or their heart, or blood pressure. For a month or so they don't worry about it. They're the most fun people to be around.
Unfortunately, at this point I'm not one of those happy people. I started a diet on the first. That's right, I didn't even wait until the 2nd. Who cares if the first was a holiday? I started my diet anyway. In the past week I've lost 4.5 pounds. I'm past the insufferable I-know-everything part, but I haven't lost so much that I'm in that you-can't-touch me zone. I've had enough lettuce to be a little cranky, but I'm not failing yet.
I've finally realized the secret to dieting is motivation. You have to want something else, more than you want your chocolate. I knew a man who bought his wife a new outfit every time she lost 10 pounds. That doesn't quite do it for me, although I love new clothes. For some people health is a big motivator. It does motivate me to some extent, but not to the weightloss I need. Sometimes people use an upcoming event, like a family reunion or a class reunion to motivate them. After all, who wants to carry an extra 50 pounds when meeting up with people who gave you the nickname "Olive Oyl" in high school?
So where are you in the dieting cycle? And what motivates you? What would it take to get really serious about this? Think of that for a few while I go watch my husband eat some chocolate for me.
This is so sad.


  1. Wow! Fascinating analysis of the different kinds of dieters. Thanks for sharing these insights.

  2. I just love reading your insight into the dieting world. It really hits "the nail on the head."


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