On the way to work today I had to wait for every single light to turn green. The first couple of red lights passed nearly unnoticed. The next couple of red lights sparked some impatient indignation. “It’s Saturday at 6:30 AM, I am the only one here, what am I waiting for!” The next couple I began to reflect on my own reaction to the waits. Why am I stressed about sitting here, I wondered. I would be setting in this very seat, I would be doing nothing else but waiting to arrive at work any way. Why am I in a hurry to get where I am going? I am going to work, it will be there when I get there, and I will get there when I arrive. Arriving sooner comes with no reward, arriving later than sooner carries no penalty. Why do I want to get there sooner, then.
What is it about the pressure of time, what is it about the temporary setback that makes us feel like we are degraded? When you are trying to lose weight, does it really matter if you lose a pound a week or two pounds a month? When you get to your target weight there will be no earth shattering changes in your life. If you get there slow, but the changes you made to get there are the kind you can do from now on, isn’t that a much better outcome than getting there twice as fast? If you diet in a manner that you cannot sustain, which results in you regaining all of the weight lost and resuming the upward trend of all the years past, isn’t that worse than not dieting?
Losing weight must be accomplished in the exact reverse process from that which you gained it. If you speed up the process then you will be living in a manner that cannot be kept up, your results will be fleeting. If you are patient, if you look at daily setbacks as moments to reflect on your life instead of looking at them as pauses, reversals, or reasons to stop trying, then you will be using the stop lights on your journey to the little you that is trapped inside of the bigger you.
You gained every pound of the weight you now carry one ounce at a time eating carbohydrates instead of fats. It did not show up in a month. It was not all there in a year. It took years of eating carbs to gain it, it will take years of not eating carbs to shed it. Your pace will be gradual, but sustainable.
The good news is that you don’t even have to quit eating carbs completely. Sure, at the beginning, for at least a couple of weeks you have to quit eating carbs completely, but once your body chemistry has flipped over to getting energy from fat instead of from the carbs you eat every day then you can begin to eat the occasional dessert, have the rare sweetened drink, eat rice at the Chinese restaurant, or eat the chips at the Mexican restaurant. When you are living on dietary fats you will find that the gradual loss will continue–even if you eat a candy bar. Your progress to smaller is gradual and constant, as long as you live mostly on meats and fats. Green leafy vegetables are great for adding bulk in the bathroom, they contain almost no carbs, so they are perfect to eat, human.
If you want to quit eating carbohydrates and processed foods the first habit you have to break is in your grocery store. Don’t go down every aisle, stay on the outside walls of the market. You will want to buy lots of green leafy veggies, real meats with fat in them (70-30 hamburger for instance), cheeses, eggs, real unflavored full fat yogurt, cottage cheese, and true butter (not margarine). When you buy fats to cook with make them real ones, like butter, lard, tallow, coconut oil, or olive oil.
While fruits are healthy to eat from time to time, for the first few weeks of eating no carbs you won’t want any of them. If you do eat fruits make it green apples and green bananas. You will hate them they are not sweet at all–that’s the point.
Don’t dread the stoplights on your journey. They are places where you can contemplate the journey, they are part of the trip. Time is not an enemy, time is not a reason to stress out about your progress. You will get there when you get there, plan on staying.