Had a great discussion with the Diet Shrink today. I told her I was feeling "weight loss fatigue" -- tiring of the weighing, measuring, teeth gritting and exercising, especially when the scale hasn't been registering anything.
Her question for me: Why is getting to 150 pounds so important?
I really didn't have a great answer. "It would be nice" is a useless response.
The discussion stemmed from this morning, when I stepped on the scale and saw the same number. I thought to myself, "How bad do you want it?"
I let that question roll around in my head for awhile. (And yes, the Don Henley song always spring to mind.)
"Apparently, not as badly as I wanted that order of fried pickles at the Marlins game Saturday."
I likened my desire to lose weight to the old dilemma of "Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now." The pickles are a short-term thrill -- all salty and crispy and freakin' delicious. Losing all the weight I want to lose is way down the road, but I'm guessing that thrill will be much more long lasting than a cardboard dish of crinkle-cut crack.
It's not who I am in other parts of my life. I chose Mr. Right and tomorrow we'll be married 19 years -- there was never a "Mr. Right Now."
I research dishwashers and computers out the wazoo before I make a purchase. I read food labels, buy my gas from "ethical" oil companies, drink Fair Trade coffee ...
So why am I so slutty with my food choices?
OK, I exaggerate. Nine times out of 10 I make excellent food choices. But put me in front of a pile of tortilla chips or chocolate chip cookies (or fried pickles) and I'm like a drug addict.
Turns out that comparison is pretty accurate, the Diet Shrink says. The high you get from eating fatty goodies may be related to the one you might feel if you smoked pot.
A recent UC Irvine study looked at endocannabinoids, marijuana-like substances that can stimulate the brain's reward system. Researchers found that fat appears to activate the chemicals, just like marijuana.
This is why I chose the psychologist I'm seeing -- she deals with addiction issues, which typically are drugs and alcohol. But I'm treating my weight loss as a food addiction, and food addiction is increasingly being recognized as having the same properties.
OK, let's steer this ship back to the main headline.
I asked her, "How do I make the desire to lose weight greater than the desire to hoover up a plate of fried pickles?"
It's tough, she said, but I have to ask myself, every time I want to consume any food, "Will this help or hinder my goal to get to 150 pounds?"
Every morsel, every time.
We did find a silver lining on the scale thing: In the past year, I haven't gained any weight. I've stayed exactly the same, and still 25 pounds down from the all-time high.
So ... yay.
No time like the present to start the downward motion.
I do have a short-term goal that may take the place of deep-fried pickles: the until-now elusive pre-baby weight, only 5 pounds away. I would like to be there by BlogHer '11, which is the first week of August. And every day until then I will remind myself why getting to 150 is so damn important.
150 is Mr. Right; 235 is Mr. Right Now.