I am about to lose 50 pounds! Damn the statistics. I’m really doing it this time. Here’s the plan.
By the way, I love making big weight loss plans. I especially love the feeling that they’re foolproof. But this time’s gonna be different. I finally have a strategy that is guaranteed to work.
Here’s the secret to success when losing weight: Eat only when you’re hungry.
After years of research and arduous trial and error, I have finally stumbled upon the simple reality that my body wants food when it’s hungry and that’s all. Not hungry? No food. Full? Stop eating, even when the plate still has delectable bites on it.
The last issue standing in my way is this little voice in my head that seems to doubt my prospects. Do you have a similar voice? I don’t know about you but I think it’s okay to hold conversations with our inner voices. It’s not crazy.
Actually, crazy is pretending the voices will ever shut up.
I’ve never met anyone who didn’t have dissenting voices playing in their head. Most people try to ignore them, fearing that if they listen, the voices will take over. Nonsense. If you want to make progress in life, you’ve got to acknowledge and even honor these parts of your personality.
Anyway, as I consider my slam-dunk weight loss plan, this little voice in my head starts to talk to me. You know that food gremlin in your mind? If you listen, you can hear it.
Here’s what the little food gremlin in my head says.
Little voice: I’m not little. Stop calling me that.
Me: Yeah, ok, sorry, you’re BIG. Ok? You’re large and in charge.
Little voice: I’ll take you diet plan and shove it up your ass while I’m stuffing Pringles down your throat.
Me: Come on, now. Let’s be…
Little Voice: I’ll line your heart with the nougat of 1000 Snickers.
Me: Dude, chill.
Little Voice: Something cold? Swimming pools of ice cream. You’ll develop tennis elbow from all the spooning of ice cream into your face. I can make you do that. Don’t fucking call me little. I’m a big fat hog and you’re my bitch!
Little Voice: Fuck off!
Ok, so the first round of negotiations didn’t go so well.
Time for a different approach!
As a properly credentialed mental health expert, I understand that each and every part of us holds a positive intention. No part of you wants to harm you, really. They might act in harmful ways but your parts are always coming from a protective space. You know what I mean?
A smoker smokes in order to calm down or fit in. People bite their nails to reduce stress or stave off boredom. And so on. There’s always a positive goal, even if it’s indirectly achieved. If you want to negotiate effectively with yourself, you need to understand this. When your voices feel the compassion, they will bend your way.
Did you hear that, big food gremlin?
Little Voice: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…..! That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Take your pop psychology somewhere else. And I see you’re sitting there munching a bag of parmesan crisps as you type. God.
Me: Umm. Yeah, ok, but surely you don’t want to kill me.
Little Voice: No, absolutely not. Not right away. I want to see you suffer for a long time before you expire. Diabetes is just around the corner! That will be fun. Remember your dad? Huh? The amputations and the sweet smell of infection that followed him around like a nauseating cloud? That’s where we’re headed.
Me: What do you really want? I mean, really. I know there’s good in you.
Little Voice: You’re not Luke Skywalker, asshole.
Me: Really, what do you want?
Little Voice: How should I know? I eat. That’s what I do. A hog doesn’t wonder why he eats. He just does. What do you want?
Me: To be healthy and ripped and energetic and happy.
Little Voice: You’re talking to the wrong hog.
Little Voice: Shut up already. If you really want to know, I would be such a plague to you if you had balls. You’re such a sad sack. You sulk. You’re never grateful for what you have. You’re always shopping for the next trinket to will fill the void. You’re such a victim! Pathetic.
Me: Let me guess, you drown it all in food.
Little Voice: It’s a little pleasure for a few minutes. Beyond that, it’s not my problem. And you deserve the consequences. Anything else?
Shit. I am feeling sobered up by this conversation in my head. I took a break for a few hours to think about it. Interestingly, I had zero appetite. Fuck my guaranteed weight loss plan. I know that much. So pollyanna. Coming up with weight loss schemes is just more mental masturbation when I have deeper issues.
We all do. How many people start a diet plan every day? How successful is the diet industry in helping people lose weight and keep it off? About as successful as I have been. So much weight loss fantasy.
Still, eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full is the best idea ever. The problem is when inner stress is triggered, which often comes from self-criticism and the attitudes displayed by negative self-talk, all hope goes out the window. Your attitude just changes – turns on a dime like a sports car. Voom! You’re in the pantry.
And my dad. I watched the man die because he couldn’t control what went into his face. I wonder what his inner voices were telling him. He never dealt with it. Will I?