Monday, March 1, 2010

Shifting from What I Shouldn't Have to What I Love

Thinking of trying to lose weight, and the first thing we typically think of is, "What do I have to give up?"

Whether this is a particular food or drink, I have found that the best way to spend all day thinking about how much I would like to have it is to tell myself I shouldn't.

Our brains create images as we process things like cake, wine, beer. The more descriptive we are, the clearer the image is. Chocolate cake, glass of wine, pint of beer. Chocolate triple mouse cake, glass of cabernet, ice cold pint of beer. At a certain level of description, I can even feel my mouth water - imagine biting into a slice of lemon and if you have ever done it, you can taste the tart sour juice. And if we have a favorite brand, then the image is even louder and clearer -- and most likely has a photo-shopped type image either provided by the manufacturer of that item, or created by our own internal graphic design department that can make the food or drink the most appealing thing on earth.

If I asked you not to picture a pink zebra with purple sunglasses, the image of what I am asking you not to picture has to exist before your brain can process the "don't" part of the picture. I can't tell myself I shouldn't want to eat cake, ice cream, girl scout cookies, wine, beer and on and on without thinking of all those things. The longer I make my don't eat list, the more images that flip through my head to torment me.

Instead of telling myself I can't have red wine when I get home from work, I picture the glass or wine and then think, what is it about the wine that I want. Maybe I just want to feel calm and relaxed and that is a feeling I have successfully achieved by drinking wine. But, maybe there is something I would rather have. If it is a feeling of being relaxed, then maybe a nice soak in a hot bath (for some reason I get this image of a candle lit bath because that sounds more relaxing) would work better to relax me, without the calories.

I haven't given up any one food/drink. There are a lot of foods I no longer eat -- but that is because I am continually developing my palate to seek more and more pleasure..

Palate:The sense of taste: delicacies pleasing to the most refined palate.

That four dollar bottle of chuck just isn't calling to me tonight. Nor is the frost bitten ice cream. The more an image appeals to me, if I put the real version of it under a microscope and really slow down and taste it -- it is amazing how something like a girl scout cookie that was baked weeks ago, seems really stale and unappealing when compared to something that seems refreshing and alive like a granny smith apple.

If I said, "Don't eat girl scout cookies, eat an apple." I hope all of you reading would know just how lame a suggestion that is. If you want the cookie, eat the cookie. Enjoy it, savor it, if you had the choice to have that cookie, or a home made cookie -- maybe it would be better to hold off and whip up a batch -- at least then it is made out of ingredients you can identify -- and I am sure cooking burns calories.

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