Tuesday, May 20, 2008

D-I-E-T is a Four-lettered Word

I . HATE . dieting . . .

Yeah, yeah, it's a lifestyle, not a diet. Yada, yada, yada. But let's face it; before it can be a lifestyle, it's good habits. And before that -- it's a DIET.

By now, you've probably heard the claim that it takes 21 days to create a new habit. Do know how that theory came about?

"Dr Maxwell Maltz wrote the bestseller Psycho-Cybernetics. Originally a Plastic Surgeon, Maltz noticed that it took 21 days for amputees to cease feeling phantom sensations in the amputated limb. From further observations he found it took 21 days to create a new habit. Since then the '21 Day Habit Theory' has become an accepted part of self-help programs.

"Brain circuits take engrams (memory traces), and produce neuroconnections and neuropathways only if they are bombarded for 21 days in a row. This means that our brain does not accept ‘new’ data for a change of habit unless it is repeated each day for 21 days (without missing a day).

"The idea may be simple but the trick is in persevering. The new habit needs to take the place of a previous entrenched old one. Old habits are not so easily over ruled. The new habit will need to be supported and encouraged to have any chance of survival." (aristotle.co.nz, italics and emphasis added)

Notice the "without missing a day" part. Even if it's your kid's birthday? Nope, no cake. A holiday? No way. Forget about that cardboard heart-shaped box full of guilt trips. Sunday dinner? Go for that gravy boat and sink yourself straight to dieter's hell.

Food is as much of a necessity to our social lives as it is to our physical lives. And that makes it hard; not impossible, just difficult.

And what about exercise? Every day? I thought you were supposed to have "rest days", not to mention the fact that a 21 day period obviously has a few Sabbaths thrown in there.

Now I love fresh foods and a good workout. I love how alive I feel by exhausting myself near to death (figuratively, of course, let's not be dangerous about it!) I love everything about having a healthy lifestyle. So why can't I seem to stick to it long enough to pull though 21 days?! Why do I stash candy between the folded sheets in my linen closet? How is it I've convinced myself that, not only do I deserve a double cheeseburger, it's actually good for me; a medically needed stress reliever?!!

Sound crazy? Like an exaggeration? I know, I know . . . Some of you are reading this thinking, "What? You're so small! What are you talking about?!" So I'm not huge, so I hide it well, etc. etc. But here's the real skinny . . .

I am unhealthy. As in, I got the "letter" from the Dr. asking me to schedule an appointment immediately to talk about my numbers after my last round of blood work. As in, my BMI is in the "overweight" field and my body fat percentage is in the "obese" range (yeah, that's not a typo -- OBESE!)

I don't think I look obese. I'm okay with how I look. It's not about that anymore. The problem is I am starting to feel obese; slow, sluggish, no energy, dare I say. . . OLD. I swear I can even feel my arteries hardening some days (is that possible?). What happened?!! I used to be a heptathlete. I ran a marathon - and liked it! I'M ONLY THIRTY!!!

AHA!! Exactly! I'm ONLY thirty! I have time time to change! That is, unless those arteries give out before the next 21 days, actually 31 days. I'm starting on June 1. That gives me time to make a plan and get prepared. After that I'll post something I did (or didn't do) that will help me with my 21 day challenge.

* * *

Want to join me? Just pick one thing you want to improve about yourself (having a positive attitude, eating healthier, quitting smoking, reading your scriptures daily, etc.) and make your plan. Then starting June 1 post something you did that day toward your goal on your blog --everyday.

If you don't have a blog (or don't want to post it on your blog), but want to participate, leave a comment on each of my daily posts. This will provide the accountability factor as well as something positive and goal-related to look forward to each day!


Edie Keysar said...

And I was feeling so good about finally getting under 200 lbs! Thanks for bringing me back to earth honey :-( I will have to think about your challenge.

Jaime said...

I think this post is totally AWESOME!!! I so want to join with you. I love a challenge and I have a whole laundry list of things I could improve or change, but one thing I really need to do is stop eating so much sugar and work on my core (back/abs). I have sugar hidden everywhere in the house and I feel like having three kids has left me with less muscle holding me up which causes back pain, etc. So, there you go, I'm gonna do it...2 core classes a week and try not to bring home that ice cream! Thanks for the idea & invite!

Kristal said...

Mom, you SHOULD be excited about your success! I think you've been doing great!

Nicole said...

What a great idea!! Count me in!! I'm going to make mine to wake up at 7:00am every morning. I was so good at it, but the last couple of weeks Adelyn has been sleeping in until 8 or 9. I've been doing the same too, which means I haven't been going to the gym as much. Up at 7:00 and out to the gym. Thanks Kristal, I'm going to make it wotk!

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