I’m too fat. All the efforts I make to lose some weight, have only led to some very temporary successes. As said in this week’s Share and Inspire, I feel out of control, a victim even of circumstances I cannot master. Now I’ve applied YAYOM to this depressing battle.
And guess what: YAYOM doesn’t agree.
Not a victim
The YAYOM Essentials Scheme is very clear: I am not a victim. If I keep expanding around my personal equator, then that’s entirely my own choice. I am not a victim of liking all foods, of not wanting to throw away food or of considering it impolite to decline a second plate when offered.
Ok, YAYOM, that may be true, but instead of making me feel guilty for being a weak ass, maybe you could tell me how to change.
YAYOM says: change is not necessary, but it is possible if you want.
Thinking of too much weight
Let’s start with the thoughts. Look at the first sentence of this blog post. That’s a thought. The choice of the word ‘fat’ betrays my personal idea of being fat. According to the BMI calculator, I am ‘just’ overweight. The ‘too’ suggests I want change. That is possible, but it is certainly not necessary. I can also choose to stay exactly as I am and replace the thought ‘I’m too fat’ with another thought, like ‘I’m just perfect’.
There’s a second thought. In Fat F*ck Fail I write ‘I hate it’. That surely does suggest a desire for change. It would be interesting to explore why I hate being overweight. Must be something about having no character. But! Now that I’m aware of my hateful thought, we can just as well question it. Do I really hate being fat? And if so, why then isn’t that reflected in my actions?
A zero with too many ones
YAYOM says that our actions reflect our thoughts. Remember that actions have a binary nature: every action has 2 possible values, 1 or 0. Not all actions can have a value=1 at the same time. Probably all actions can have a value=0 at the same time, but chances are that means you’re dead. Switching off an action automatically switches on another.
What are my actions? That’s a simple question to answer. I eat. So the action ‘eating’ has an almost standard value of 1. It is obvious that if I turn ‘eating’ to 0, I will lose weight. But that would be very drastic without the guarantee of feeling better. So, ‘eating’ should remain on 1. How is that compatible with losing weight?
Luckily ‘eating’ is layered and has many aspects. I’ll treat 2 aspects of eating: quality and quantity.
First quantity. We can split quantity into 2 subaspects: frequency and size. Frequency is clearly the number of times that I switch on the action ‘eating’. For example: while writing this text, I left my table 0 times to find something to nibble. Many other blogs posts, though, have been interrupted many times by the action ‘eating’.
How much and many times?
To change the frequency of eating, it is probably best to set a maximum to the times eating can have a value of 1, say 3 times daily: 3 meals. But maybe I don’t have to be so drastic and can decide not to eat after 8pm or not within 2 hours of a meal. If then still I note the craving to eat, I can decide to switch on another, incompatible, action instead, like going outside for a run or a walk.
Size is the aspect my wife refers to when she says ‘you’re eating too much’. The portions I take everytime I switch eating to 1 is entirely my choice. I can take a handful of chips, or a bowl or a bag or several bags. At dinner I can eat 1 plate or 5. In the restaurant I can take a main course only or complete that with a starter and dessert.
Maybe you’ll notice how each of those is an action of its own. While main course can have a value of 1, that does not necessarily imply starter and dessert should also have a value of 1. We could even split that up further and introduce the extra dimension of finishing plate or not. Eating involves a chain of actions switched to 1 and 0.
Note how switching size to 0 would automatically turn off frequency too.
Switch on the apple
Then there is quality. Because, even when eating=1, that does not necessarily say much about what it is that I eat. There is room for choice there. Bluntly said, the choice is between ‘healthy’ and ‘tasty’ food. Pizza or a salad? An apple or cookies? Of course, it can also be apple and cookies, but that would lead us back to frequency. The choice of what I eat is mine. Switching on ‘apple’ would probably switch off or at least snooze ‘cookie’.
It is important to be aware that the one switching on and off actions is me. Nobody else. Other people offering food aren’t but wind and waves if my goal is to lose weight. They try to distract me, but only have as much power as I give them.
Deal with it
So, what can I do to lose weight? It is clear (to me) that too many subdivisions of the action ‘eating’ receive a value of 1 when confronted with the choice. The solution lies in leaving those actions with a value of 0. Preferably by turning on other actions, which are not compatible with eating.
Of course, another possibility is to accept the eating addiction instead of trying to fight it.
As I said, there is a contradiction between my thought ‘I hate being fat’ and my actions. Maybe there is another thought at play here. I won’t explore that here, but leave you (and me) with a small suggestion: no selfdiscipline.
Could it be? Let’s talk about that next week. Or leave your comments below or on Facebook.