If you follow my Instagram account, you already know that I’m trying a new approach to dieting – a Snickers a day to keep the cravings away! I lost 5 pounds over my first two weeks of this approach and I really thought I was on to something! Then the third week came along and I lost my way. What went wrong? Shouldn’t a Snickers diet be fool proof? For a brief moment, I did blame the Snickers.
But nothing clears the head like a Monday morning. Monday is start over day. Every week, week after week, Monday comes around again and all the sins of the weekend have to face the light. Monday morning, I had to face my bathroom scales. It was a bummer to see that most of the 5 pounds I worked so hard to lose had found their way back home.
The problem wasn’t the Snickers. It was all the other stuff:
Another day, my boss brought in walnut blueberry muffins from his wife. If it had been anyone else, I would have politely said, “no thank you,” but it was my BOSS and besides, his wife bakes delicious muffins.
Friday was the day I really sank my ship. Standard Friday night dinner at home is a carry out pizza. I needed to eat light during the day on Friday to indulge in my pizza Friday night. Did I do so? No. No, I did not. To be fair, with the Presidential Inauguration happening that day, it’s a wonder I didn’t just hide all day in bed under my comforter with a box of Russell Stover and a bottle of wine.
On Friday morning, one of my staff wanted to treat us all to coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts. Wanting to play it cool about my dieting efforts, I ordered my favorite flavored iced latte (but, at least I got a small this time, instead of my usual medium!) I was going to stop with that, but there was some mild pressure to get a donut and I could muster up only the briefest show of resistance against ordering my favorite, a French cruller. Clearly, Dunkin’ Donuts is a danger zone for me.
Then, the same day, my entire work group decided to go to lunch together and I worried that if I didn’t go, I’d be seen as not a team player. They chose a diet unfriendly BBQ place where the only veggies are the coleslaw, the pickles, and the “cheesy taters.” Could I have taken my own lunch in with me and quietly eaten my 2-point low carb yogurt at the table? I don’t think so. For one thing, my colleagues would rib me (see what I did there?) and for another, it’s a small, family owned place where the owner visits the tables and wouldn’t hesitate to call me out for not ordering anything…Nicely, of course, but I’d rather just not have that happen. So brisket and cheesy taters it is! I also got a half-rack of ribs to go and took them home to my husband (brownie points!)
Since I had blown it so badly already for the day and I was depressed anyway, I figured it was destiny for me to have cinnamon roll during the late afternoon. I don’t even know what vendor sent them to our office, but they were shipped from some bakery in Pennsylvania and they looked good! Why we got them the third week of January instead of the week before Christmas, I’ll never know, but warmed in the microwave, my cinnamon roll tasted fresh baked to me.
Later that evening, I had the pizza too. By then, I wasn’t even hungry, but I ate it anyway. Don’t waste food!
The weekend continued in much the same vein; you get the idea. There were potato chips involved.
I could have done a few things differently – I could have had just the Hot Tamales at the movies and not ALSO the giant tub of popcorn. I could have eaten the Boss’ wife’s walnut blueberry muffin and then skipped the rice with my dinner that night (but I love rice, so that would have been hard). I could have gotten only a diet soda and the half-rack of ribs to go at the BBQ joint, sipped the soda at the table and ate my yogurt when I got back to the office.
Also, during the week, I ran out of fresh fruit and vegies at home, so I couldn’t add them to my lunch box. It’s amazing how a little bit of fruit or vegetable will help curb hunger. Without them, I got too hungry a few times, which led to me grabbing an unwise snack or being unable to stop grazing when I’d eaten enough.
All you can do from your mistakes is learn from them. That’s what I’m all about for 2017 and on this blog – learning from my mistakes and figuring out what works for me. That’s the secret behind my Snickers diet plan, too. I have been gaining weight, and trying to lose it, for the past 5 years (a time period that coincides exactly with my menopause onset, ahem.) Thanks to menopause, none of my old weight loss tricks seemed to work anymore.
I’ve tried a bunch of different ways to lose weight, but didn’t stick with any of them because results were so discouraging. And, to be honest, I didn’t have much self-discipline either. When I refer to “self-discipline”, I don’t mean will power. I mean the discipline to eat properly on a regular schedule to avoid getting over hungry and the discipline to plan ahead and shop for healthy snacks and meals. Dieting efforts are guaranteed to fail when you are both allowing yourself to get hangry and not keeping healthy diet friendly foods in the house. Will power fades fast under those circumstances.
My Snickers inspiration came from the Snickers advertising: “You are not you when you’re hungry.” It’s crazy effective advertising, because it reinforces what we already believe! The slogan “Snickers Satisfies” has been around for a long time and has convinced us that Snickers is a valid option for the hungries. Snickers’ advertising is genius. I’m a true believer. With the peanuts, it just seems like a healthier alternative to a Milky Way, for example, and seems to stick better with less sugar crash. I already occasionally relied on a Snickers to get through a late evening at work or an afternoon after missing lunch.
I needed a “hook” or a gimmick to keep me interested in my diet plan, even if results were disappointing. I toyed with the idea of a mono diet, where you eat only one food for a period of time to lose weight and reset your relationship with food. I didn’t think that would work for me, not because I didn’t think I could do it, but because I don’t want to deal with the comments that would generate from the people around me. But one meal a day I could do…
Some people advocate telling others that you are on a diet. I suppose the idea is to enlist their support and encouragement, and maybe even admonishment if they catch you “cheating”. I prefer to keep my diet to myself. For one thing, I’m prideful. Among general acquaintances, I don’t like to admit that I have lost control over my eating habits, even if you only have to look at me to know it already. I also don’t like to admit what an impact menopause has had on my weight and weight loss efforts because, in general, people do not need to know my age. I don’t care to be pigeon-holed in that way. I’m more likely to mention dieting among close friends and family, but, so often, “encouragement and support” comes off like reprimand or scolding. I really, REALLY, don’t like being told what to do, even if the intention is supportive.
So, while I have occasionally talked about my diet with my closest friends and family, and have occasionally mentioned that “I’m trying to eat healthier this year” to general acquaintances, I have not talked about my Snickers diet. It works for me because it’s subtle. There is a vending machine in the break room. Everyone hits it once in a while. Seeing someone nosh on a Snickers at their desk is a non-event. I just don’t announce that it is actually my lunch. I already know that, despite advertising claims to the contrary, a Snickers bar is candy. I am replacing one meal a day with candy. I really don’t need the helpful people in my life to point that out to me.
I have a sweet tooth. I love sweets! I am familiar with the conventional wisdom that cutting sugar entirely is supposed to eliminate your craving for sugar, but honestly, I don’t want to cut sweets entirely. If I knew I could have my Snickers, if, in fact, my daily Snickers was sacrosanct, and I had that to look forward to every day, wouldn’t it be easier to turn down second helpings and other sugary or fattening snacks? The first two weeks that I was doing this, the answer was yes and the scales reflected that. Then I got off track for a few days. But, this time, I’m back on the wagon, and knowing I will get to eat a Snickers today really helps me do that! Hurrah for gimmicky diets!
What diet gimmicks have you tried? Let me know in the comments!