Sorry, all, forgot to push this one live yesterday!

There is a scene in “Good in Bed” by Jennifer Weiner where Cannie attends a meeting for those that struggle with weight issues.  The meeting isn’t your typical Weight Watchers meeting, but a hospital program to offer help to overweight women.  Cannie describes the perky, thin nurse in charge of the program, and then details how the nurse begins explaining portion sizes, calorie counts, etc.  Cannie and the other women begin chiming in with all of the stock language they’ve learned in all their other programs.  Then, the women just begin chanting to receive the drugs they were told about that would help them lose weight.

I found this part of the story to be not only amusing, but also true for any of us that have gone seeking help in the weight loss arena.  How many magazines have I picked up that promised “The Secret to Losing Weight and Keeping It Off Forever!” only to find the same advice:

  • Eat 5-6 small meals a day
  • Watch your portion sizes
  • Keep a food diary
  • Excersise
  • Cut out liquid calories
  • Drink water when you’re hungry

And the list goes on.  And I begin thinking, “But I’m already DOING these things!”  Sure, no one is perfect, and there are certainly times when I don’t watch my portion size, or I choose to read a book on the couch instead of turning on the treadmill.  However, there are more times when I am measuring out food, counting calories, writing down what I eat, and excersising 5 times a week.

So what’s the problem here?  Why do these methods work for some people, and for others, they just continue to gain and lose the same 5 pounds over and over again?  This is something I’ll never know.  A lot of people jump in with the genetics argument here, but I’m not sure I buy that one.  The research doesn’t seem to be consistent here, and I’ve seen a lot of people overcome a family weight issue to believe that may not be the case.

For me, my biggest problem when trying to lose weight is mental.  There are a lot of times when I’m standing in front of the refrigerator or the ice cream freezer case at the grocery store, and I’m clearly able to think, “If you’re going to eat that, you have to measure it out into it’s 3/4 cup serving and not eat any more beyond that.”  And then what do I do?  I scoop whatever I want into the bowl, not even paying a bit of attention to the calorie and fat content.  In my mind, I know it’s bad, and I know I’ll regret it later, but I give in to the supposed cravings my body has.

I know it’s a psychological thing.  I know it’s just like smoking, and you have to train yourself to avoid triggers that make you eat.  But why is it so easy for some people and not for others?  For instance, why are some people able to substitute fruit as a dessert, where as when I want dessert, I mean icing, not watermelon?  Is there a mental trigger that can be turned on and off to control these cravings?

What strategies do you use to convince yourself to setp away from the chocolate and over-sized portions?