On Track

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I’m doing really well on my food program. I have managed to lose and
keep off 15 pounds since the beginning of the year. That’s not a lot
compared to how much my friends who are on wacko diets (like the
cabbage diet, or some scary sounding growth hormone thing) have
lost. But it’s been slow, steady, and has stayed off. I’ve done it with
assiduous attention to what I put on my mouth, and by walking up to
five miles a day. I do not attend any meetings and only intermittently
do anything as formal as writing down calories. I am sticking as much
as possible to non-processed foods and organic fruits and vegetables.
But no matter how good I do, whenever I am at parties or public
events like an oneg, I am seduced by the array of sweets. Then, and
some nights after supper when I just want something! I sometimes
give in. I have another 25 pounds to go so I know this will be a long
haul. Do you have any good tips for me?
On Track

Dear On Track:
The best diet tip I ever heard, other than the basic advice my mother
gave me (Eat less and move more!) is to make a mantra out of the old
Weight Watchers slogan: Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels.
The tricks, of course, are: to remember your mantra before the sweets
are in your mouth; to say it to yourself often and sincerely enough
that the urge to stuff your face with goodies subsides; then to take a
few deep breaths and think over your choices. If you can find some
veggies (I know, Ugh when you want sugar), or at least some cheese
or fruit, try to appease yourself first. Or promise yourself something in
the future. It turns out that will power and delayed gratification are
learned behaviors. Like any other muscles, they need use and training.
This is all great advice but not as easy as it sounds. I’m still not very
good at it.

But the reality of dieting the right way, the long way, is that you’re
going to have many many chances both to get it right, and to blow it.                            Another good tip is to think of each time you eat as a choice. Don’t
give yourself permission to stay on the wrong track if you make one
wrong choice during a day. As in, I already ate something bad
today…so I’ll be better tomorrow. You have three (or more)
opportunities each day to eat the right thing. If you’re going to go off
program, then plan for it, and be especially good before and after.
You’re not going to be perfect for the whole next year or however long
the process takes. But you can be mindful. That’ll help you keep the
weight off.