Today, a somewhat ruminatory and possibly confusing post which rather illustrates my antipathy towards certain aspects of modern day life and in particular the ‘eating out’ experience.
The subject of ‘mind games’ arose out of something I saw when Nigella and I visited another group to get weighed. By the way, Nigella is also called Marmacita in group – it would take too long to explain right now, and neither of these ‘nom de plumes’ is her real name anyway.
Anyway… on the table at the group we visited there was a poster board with the following inspirational words printed on it. ‘If you kinda do it, it kinda works. If you really do it, it really works’. You can see it here…
This has been preying on my mind in the intervening weeks. Is it true? It sort of sounds true. I want it to be true. I want to know that if I stick to the plan then the Slimming World diet will work. If I do everything that Mandy-Lace and the food optimising book says, I like to think that I will lose weight. I know that when I leave group at the end of each meeting I am full of positivity and robust resolve to do the right thing.
Resolutions Every Week
Every week I resolve that I am going to stick to the diet and be good. But just like those new year resolutions we all make, they don’t work and they don’t last. I am really in earnest when I determine that I’m going to be good. I mean it 100%. Just occasionally I actually do keep my resolve. But most weeks I allow things to crowd in on my diet and dilute my resolution. (Btw: That’s quite a clever phrase for you English Language students to note, I try so hard!).
Even as I am on the verge of messing up, I know what I am going to do, and yet I continue with whatever unhelpful action I am about to take. I do it intelligently and decisively. I am not alone in this behaviour. Which explains why Martina posts on Facebook pictures of the ice cream she is eating with her nephew, and why Jackie asks about the best Chinese takeaway in town. I could post far worse examples from my own life, but this is my blog, and I can at least try to maintain the appearance of being a paragon of virtue, even if it is not true.
Why Do We Break Our Resolutions?
Do you want to know why we break our resolutions? Well let me tell you. I have the answer to that question right here! Sticking to a diet over months and years is hard. It is harder than hard! For me it is one of the toughest things I have ever done in my life. It involves a change of mindset and lifestyle that fights against what the world around us wants us to believe. The way of the world is one of entitlement and self-serving when thinking about food and dieting. It is a life of indulgence and denial about what we eat. Sticking to a healthy diet is not for the faint hearted.
We live in a world that says we can ‘eat out’ most days. A world where we can ‘indulge’ in any amount of food because it tastes good and we are eating it with friends and family. Resolution means taking control of this aspect of our lives.
Since Naomi and I have been on the Slimming World diet our social life has changed dramatically. We nearly always eat at home. Eating out involves risk and planning. Sometimes the menus offered at restaurants give no room for the type of food we want to consume. Instead we cook at home and have our family and friends around for dinner. How quaint is that?
It sure takes a bit more effort but spending time with good friends is worth cooking up a storm for, even if it is a Slimming World storm. We never let on to our guests that we are eating healthy food. We just cook and serve it without any explanation.
Tangential Sidenote Rant: (i.e. almost nothing to do with what I am saying here, but still relevant) It has come to my attention that in the 21st Century the restaurant experience is not what it is cracked up to be. In some restaurants, the service levels are dire. Others not so bad. Some of the ways you can get served are inscrutable too – try and work out how to get dinner at Wagamamas or Subway. I couldn’t!
I just have staff members shouting at me ‘YES?’ or ‘Your order please, sir?’ while I stand in confused bewilderment. And then when the food comes, it is not always what I expected. I don’t get served what I think I ordered.
Further to this you get the other restaurant ‘guests’ who will not stay still and sit down. Up and down to the toilets at least six times an hour, or outside to have a fag, or simply to take an ‘important’ phone call. Or they sit opposite their partner playing with their mobiles and ignoring each other. These people drive me mad! End of Rant…
Well nearly! What happened to the free bread roll you always got with your meal? They now dress it up with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and charge you extra. Don’t think I haven’t noticed! Proper end of Rant…
As well as reducing the amount of time spent in various hostelries, I have had to sacrifice my appetite for cakes, sweets, desserts, nuts and many other things. And this isn’t a one-off decision. I make my sacrificial decision every day. ‘Today I am going to stick to the plan, no cakes, no chocolate and no bad stuff!’ I say to myself in my head. And yet sometimes I still eat the wrong things.
My intelligent brain knows what I should be eating and yet there is an impetus and a huge desire inside me that works against me. I am my own worst enemy. There is a war going on inside me in the area of the will that will not subside. Wretched man that I am! Who can save me from myself and my lack of willpower?
And that is where Slimming World comes in. The group and the individuals in the group make the difference between ‘kinda’ doing it and ‘really’ doing it. Plus, there is the knowledge that at the next group meeting you cannot avoid being weighed. There’s an unstoppable certainty about the event. Whatever you do in the week and whatever you eat, the scales will be prowling around Bluebrook Hall looking out for you and waiting to pounce on you as soon as they can.
To conclude – I am on a diet. I have been for 18 months.
In reality, I am never going to be off it. This is my new way of life. The change must be permanent or my old habits will creep back. I know myself only too well. I have not turned everything around to have a chance at a longer healthy life for nothing. I never want to go back to where I was – so the change must stay.
But some days, because of my inner turmoil and obsession with food, I end up ‘kinda’ being on my diet instead of ‘really’ being on my diet. But the good days are beginning to outnumber the ‘kinda’ days. And that’s OK. I can live with that.