Day 13: Self-control and dieting

16 01 2010

Dieting sucks. I don’t know anyone who actually enjoys it, but it does come easier for some people to exhibit self-control than others. I’m one of the “others.” Since this project started on Jan. 4, it has tested my resolve. I’ve enjoyed taking my lunch to work, thereby avoiding the fast-food lunches that I know are so bad for my diet. Dinners, on the other hand, I still need to work on. Louisville has a LOT of good locally-owned restaurants. Carrick and I avoid fast-food at dinner, but these past couple weeks we’ve continued taking the lazy way out each night after work — we stop by a local restaurant on the way home for dinner.

While restaurant meals still have too many calories, fat, sodium and out-of-control portions, one improvement I’ve made since starting my diet is to make healthier choices from the menu. My favorite menu item at many of the restaurants include fries, chips or some other bad-for-me side item. I’ve now asked the waiter/waitress to leave off the fries or chips. Or I substitute a small salad. And despite the fact the scale only moved a little bit this week, at least it did move the right direction.

A couple times this past week, Carrick had fries with her meal. I was proud of myself for not sneaking one off her plate (which always leads to many more than one). In my opinion, dieting and exercise are easier to do when you have a partner who is also doing it with you. But it’s hard for both people to get in the same mind-set at the same time. And that’s ok. It just means I need to work a little harder at my self-control. Last year, Carrick was training for our local mini-marathon. Eating healthy, training runs and exercise were part of her daily routine. My daily routine was . . . nothing. I ate what I wanted, didn’t exercise and it paid off like I expected — I gained 20 pounds. She finished the mini-marathon and achieved her goal. I’m still so proud of her. I’ve never been a runner and can’t imagine running 13.1 miles unless my pants were on fire or a rabid dog was chasing me. Besides, arthritis and running don’t seem like a good combo.

We both may not be in the same mind-set right now, but we’ll get there. I think it’s much like quitting smoking: I tried to quit many times and failed. But when I was ready to quit (not because friends or family wanted me to), I did it. I’ve not smoked in 7 years and don’t miss cigarettes at all.

MSNBC had an article today about a new study that suggests that self-control is contagious. Researchers found that “. . . watching or even thinking about someone with good self-control makes others more likely to show the same restraint. And they found the opposite also holds true — people with lousy self-control influence others negatively.” The ultimate decision still relies on the individual, not on others. What do you think? Do you eat healthier if you have someone to do it with you? Do you have an exercise partner or do you exercise on your own? Does it make a difference?

Today’s starting weight: 151

Today’s food journal:

Breakfast/lunch:
— Organic whole wheat english muffin = 294 cal.

Dinner:
— 3 pieces pepperoni pizza = 1,015 HOLY CRAP!!! I’m not sure what’s more horrifying: the calories, the 2,475 mg of sodium or the 43 grams of fat! (I think my pizza-eating days are over.)
— Diet Coke = 2

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