Paired Phrases

Does the urge to diet ever come over you when you see a diet commercial or pop-up ad? I’m sure tempted. I grow wistful thinking about becoming thinner, glamorous, younger-looking, yada yada yada. But then I remind myself (or my husband) that what diet companies want more than anything else is to make a profit, i.e., they want people to buy what they’re selling, succeed enough to be impressed, fail to keep the weight off, and repeat the cycle. What a money-making system!

Today, in honor of my third anniversary of deciding to give up weight-loss diets, I thought it might be fitting to tell you three things I’ve learned so far. Only one per year? Yes, these concepts take time for us diet-addicts to master. The first thing I’ve learned is not to give in to going on yet another weight-loss diet. Dieting is such a tough habit to break.

The second thing I’ve learned is that freedom to eat whatever I need, want, feel like having, get a hankering for, and/or think would satisfy is the cure for bingeing. Yes, I’m sometimes sucked into larger-than-life commercials for pizza, which you can almost smell through the TV. I also go through phases where I eat the same thing for lunch everyday (cookies, chips, liverwurst sandwiches) until my appetite for that particular food finally wanes. But I can’t even remember the last time I spent the day eating until my stomach couldn’t take any more, i.e., bingeing. Thank God!

The third thing I’m learned is that it’s helpful to pause and make a mental note that I’m actually ready to stop eating. It reminds me of saying grace before meals, only this comes afterwards, kind of like a benediction. I like the phrase my grandsons use. When the rest of us are still eating, one of them will suddenly put down his fork and say, “I’m done,” followed (usually) by a request to be excused to go play. Sometimes he’ll even decline dessert! Of course, his stomach is smaller, so that accounts for him getting full faster. Yet I admire the self-awareness and self-monitoring that’s reflected when he says, “I’m done.” It’s simple, concise, and easy to remember. My next goal is to pair the phrase “I’m hungry”—which I seldom fail to notice—with a matching “I’m done.” I’ll let you know how it goes.


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