Dieting

When I got on the scales this morning I was surprised that the damage report was as low as it is. Not that it is low by any account; just less than I had thought woud be the case. Today is our first full day back in Canada following our winter sojourn down south.  It’s as good a time as any to start a diet.

The Battle of the Bulge has been on and off for me throughout my life. Primarily my discovery of dieting is that everything turns on eliminating bread and sugar.  Once with a vengeance I tried the Atkins Diet of pure protein, filling my larder with meat and cheese. It worked. But like most fanatic undertakings it eventually subsided and things returned to normal – which is to say, my weight and former eating habits came back.

Seemingly the antithesis of dieting is satisfaction; that is, dieting normally appears as a conflict of satisfaction and deprivation.  The further elucidation is that without the satisfaction I end overindulging to compensate – spooning peanut butter from the jar or drinking maple syrup from the bottle. If I have learned nothing else about dieting it is that one cannot count on deprivation as the key.  Accrordingly I am proposing to attempt a new strategy of dieting by affording myself what I enjoy rather than focusing on tricks like protein or veggies or fruit where everything one consumes is governed by some calculation rather than the simple measure of pleasure.

Certainly portions matter. And I also intend to pay attention to that dynamic. So for the time being I shall confine my breakfast to a sliced Granny Smith apple (or banana), a small bowl of Bran, one English muffin with butter and peanut butter.  The singular feature of each those items is that I enjoy them. Plus they satisfy what I believe are critical elements such as fruit, fibre and fat. I like fat. The fattier the bacon, the better. But I will avoid bacon and processed meats.  My instinct tells me they’re not the best thing to consume. And by the way I forgot to mention that the peanut butter will be entirely natural, no added sugar. But the accompanying butter will be that stuff in a plastic tub that is probably full of fuel additives, but “I like it” so it stays.

I’m inclined to think that the success (if any) of this particular “diet” will be that it addresses the psychological features that underlay dieting. Food for me is evidence of more than nutrition. It is for example at times a social construct – like oysters on the half shell, steak tartare, cheese board and fresh fruit. Where I get into trouble is with desserts – outright sweets like carrot cake with a mountain of white creamy icing, Key Lime pie made from condensed milk, butter tarts naturally and pecan clusters.  Those are bad and unnecessary; that is, they’re not excusable as “satisfaction”.  Rather they translate the difference between going up to the trough and getting into it.

The evening meal (we now only eat two meals a day, breakfast and dinner) will be seasonal leaves (I’ll buy a large plastic box of pre-washed lettuce or spring mix), sliced green pepper, tomatoes topped with a trace of olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar. Perhaps some Maldon salt!  An occasional bit of cheese in the salad will be tolerated. Accompanying the salad will be fresh salmon filets which I’ll cook sans anything else in the microwave for all of two minutes. Dessert, if any, will be fresh fruit of some sort. I can feel my halo glowing already!

Somehow I expect I shall manage to abuse the scheme whereby my weight loss will in the end be nil.  Nonetheless I am going to see what this plan produces. I just have to remind myself that there are limits – that old psychological disruption, pitting reason against self-restraint. So tarsome! At the very least I shall be able to distance myself from the philosophic angst of Epicureanism. Whether that improvement calculates into wegith loss…

Epicureanism | epikjo’rianiz(a)m | noun

an ancient school of philosophy founded in
Athens by Epicurus. The school rejected
determinism and advocated hedonism (pleasure
as the highest good), but of a restrained kind:
mental pleasure was regarded more highly than
physical, and the ultimate pleasure was held to
be freedom from anxiety and mental pain,
especially that arising from needless fear of
death and of the gods.