I was kind of embarrassed to keep posting about eating, because I feel like I'm belaboring the points quite a bit, but going back over my hit counts and comments, I see that the topic is easily one of the most popular I've ever chosen to write about. Oooooookay. I don't want to turn this into a diet blog, but I'll give you all more of what you want, at least for a while.
I've been clicking through some of the posts on the No-S Diet bulletin board. Meanwhile, one of my close friends followed the link from my post a couple of days ago on it and was intrigued. She hates measuring, counting, keeping track of stuff, and already makes almost exclusively non-junk choices, so it sounded like a perfect idea for her to try, she said. I stayed with her for a couple of days this week while Mark was out of town, and we discussed it a lot.
I should have known better! Now I am suffering from regimen confusion.
I spent a day and a half (off and on, we had other stuff to do of course) talking to my friend about the ins and outs of the No-S Diet: why it might work for her, how best to tweak it for her particular personality and tastes, how it might be just the thing for me as a maintenance regimen or when I get sick of tracking calories, the psychology of why it might work, the situations under which it wouldn't work, etc. etc. etc. Now, even though I am not following the No-S diet -- I am most certainly, for example, having snacks every day, and taking seconds of at least some of the stuff on the table -- I keep catching myself thinking as if I am trying to follow it. "Don't snacks!" my brain is saying to me, as I am about to consume my 153-calorie afternoon mini-meal (sliced tomato and one ounce of fresh farm Tilsit cheese on a Wasa brand cracker bread). "No seconds!" my brain is nagging, as I am helping myself to another spoonful of Brussels sprouts after cleaning my plate and deciding I wasn't quite full.
This has happened to me before: failure to concentrate on my existing plan, getting sidetracked by some other attractive idea. It is not that the alternative plan is a bad idea. I alluded before to my thoughts that the No-S regimen might be a very nice maintenance plan for me, when I decide to stop counting and tracking calories and portion sizes for some reason. The problem with having two different plans in mind is that one tends to try to follow, at any given moment, the plan that restricts you least right now. So... "Should I have a midafternoon snack? Of course! I should have a carefully measured snack to keep my blood sugar steady and keep from getting hungry later. After all, even though the No-S diet says no snacks, I am not on the No-S Diet!" Later: "How much should I put on my plate? Ooh, the No-S Diet says I should put as much on my plate as I possibly think I could eat, and it doesn't matter if the stuff is calorie-rich as long as none of it is a sweet..." Still later: "Saturday! The No-S Diet says I should indulge if I want!" Monday mid-morning: "Snack time! Good thing I'm not on the No-S Diet!"
It strikes me that this is a general problem with people who have been on lots of different diet regimens. The thing is, all reasonable diet regimens (pretty much) have some balance between contexts when you must restrict yourself and contexts when you may indulge:
- Weight Watchers: Indulge in low-point-value foods; restrict high-point-value foods.
- Low-carb: Indulge in meats, cheeses, fats, and green vegetables; restrict starches, fruits, and sweets.
- Low-fat: Indulge in carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, even sweets; restrict fatty proteins and fats.
- No-S: Indulge on weekends and special days and on one plate at each meal; restrict between meals.
- What I've been doing: Indulge in whatever type of food I want (since I don't like junk much), restrict amount of food.
This has been covered before in Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding:
Call up Jude to complain about diet failure, who says write down everything you've eaten, honestly, and see if you stuck to the diet. Here is list.
Breakfast: hot-cross bun (Scarsdale Diet -- slight variation on specified piece of whole-wheat toast); Mars Bar (Scarsdale Diet -- slight variation on specified half grapefruit)
Snack: two bananas, two pears (switched to F-plan as starving and cannot face Scarsdale carrot snacks). Carton orange juice (Anti-Cellulite Raw-Food Diet)
Lunch: potatp (Scarsdale Vegetarian Diet) and hummus (Hay Diet---fine with baked spuds as all starch, and breakfast and snack were all alkaline-forming with exception of hot-cross bun and Mars: minor aberration)
Dinner: four glasses of wine, fish and chips (Scarsdale Diet and also Hay Diet --- protein forming); portion tiramisu; Toblerone (pissed)
I realize it has become too easy to find a diet to fit in with whatever you happen to feel like eating and that diets are not there to be picked and mixed but picked and stuck to, which is exactly what I shall begin to do once I've eaten this chocolate croissant.
(Thanks, Amazon Search Inside Feature.)