Okay. I know what they say. Diets don't work.
If you take the "t" off the word "diet" – what you have? Die.
Anyone who's struggled with his or her weight all their lives knows all these cutesy cliches. We now know our weight is genetically predetermined, but that doesn't help. We still have to lose weight to be healthy. Genes or no genes.
The bottom line is, if you want to lose weight to be healthy you have to consume fewer calories than you burn.
That means either continuing to eat they way you like and spending 23 out of 24 hours seven days a week working out ... or cutting back on calories.
"Why is it that all the good things in life are fattening, and stuff like carrot sticks, eewww."
It's not fair, but as my psychiatrist, Dr. Bob, often reminds me: "Life isn't fair."
So, I'm now on Day Six of my first week of Weight Watchers. I'm dieting. They call it a lifestyle, but not yet for me. Right now, it's a diet.
I know I'm not going to lose weight on a diet of toasted whole wheat baguettes slathered with sweet butter. Or egg white omelettes loaded with melted cheddar. Or chocolate covered almonds. I'm feeling a craving coming on.
The point is I'm in the midst of changing my habits. It takes a long time.
A lot longer than they tell you at a Weight Watchers meeting.
My friend psychologist John M. Grohol found a new source of information about changing habits "across the pond" at University College London – from scientific psychology researcher Jeremy Dean and his PsyBlog.
In a recent post, How Long to Form a Habit? Dean says it takes on average – 66 days to change a habit – with no guarantee this new habit will stick. He cites a July 2009 study in the European Journal of Social Psychology.
It's complicated. Depends on the habit. Eating habits are probably among the hardest to change permanently along with quitting smoking and giving up alcohol or breaking a drug addiction. (What's the difference between an addiction and a habit, I wonder?)
If I could abstain from food altogether, it would be easier than moderating what I eat. One chocolate covered almond is harder to eat than none at all.
At Weight Watchers they tell you it takes 31 days to change a habit. Marty will love this news. According to Dean, we're in for another 60 days of struggling to change our eating habits. If I announce this at my Sunday meeting, I'll be pelted with two-point snacks.
Here's my problem.
I take one (1) 200 mg tablet of an anti-convulsant called Epival/Tegretol/Carbamazepine twice daily to stabilize my manic tendencies. It works for me.
I also take eight (8) other different drugs, including three (3) different immunosuppressants, to keep me alive with my transplanted kidney.
My complex daily cocktails of drugs don't exactly ease the weight loss process.
"It could be your med making you hungry. I gained 100 lbs. while on Epival/Depakote, and I met a man in a bipolar support group who had the same experience. He lost it all when they switched him to Topamax. Me, I'd manage to lose 20 or 30 lbs. but then I'd start a new med and gain it all back.
"Since I started Truehope and got off all my meds my appetite has plummeted. I eat a fraction of what i used to eat. I just am not hungry all the time any more.
What works for Monica would kill me. I need my drugs to survive.
We're all as chemically different as we are emotionally different.
I'm going to struggle to lose my weight and reach my goal, again.
For 60 more days – to change my habits – and every day after that.
Life isn't fair. It's life. That's the point.