When it comes to dieting, I have two sides to my personality. They both compete, and at times, one or other of them has the upper hand.
In the red corner, we have “Wants To Be Slimmer”, weighing in at about one hundred and sixty pounds and wearing the happy-face trunks. And in the blue corner, “Wants To Eat Pie”, weighing in at two hundred and sixty pounds (and rising), and wearing the cookie-monster trunks.
Seconds out, round one!
A lot of whether I’m successful in my dieting depends on whether my red-corner guy is sufficiently motivated to beat the crap out of the blue-corner guy. Because while blue-corner guy is bigger, red-corner guy is stronger, quicker, and generally healthier. But red-corner guy needs to focus, exercise, think about what he’s doing, and decide not to eat the pie. And after many years of deeply-ingrained bad habits, red-corner guy doesn’t always find that half as easy as it sounds.
It takes a bunch of amateur psychology to get it right. Changing the words — “I don’t” is more powerful than “I can’t”, just as “I do” trumps “I must” — and learning that you can’t just whip yourself towards a goal with one target. It helps to have both an idea of what you do want, and what you don’t want, so that when Red Corner Guy isn’t interested in the carrot, you can whip the hell out of him with the stick.
And also, it’s a massive help to keep the diet comfortable, consistent, and pleasant, and the routine surrounding it as simple as possible. Because if I’m knackered from work, and my diet routine consists of two hours of exercise a day, salad greens for lunch and some measly dinner, then it’s going to be the Blue Corner Guy, winning by knockout in the first round.
Fortunately, I’m pretty easy going. And in this case, my occasional laziness works to my advantage, as I’m always inclined to make the diet routine as simple and comfortable as I can. Which sounds bad, but in actual fact, it means that I’m able to stick with it for a lot longer than I might otherwise, because my diet just isn’t as draining as it would be if I pushed it. I don’t feel emotionally worn down by it, I don’t feel deprived (because I’ve already figured out the foods that I like to eat on it, that I can use to snack on it), and — critically — I’ve figured out which cheat frozen things I can buy and stick in the freezer, and then just microwave when I’m tired, rather than going to the Gigantic Sandwich Shop to avoid having to cook.
(I miss the Gigantic Sandwich Shop. Sigh.)
But for the time being, Red Corner Guy is winning. He floats like a chubby butterfly, and stings like a diabetic bee. But it feels awfully weird sometimes trying to rope-a-dope, when the dope you’re trying to rope is yourself…