Cheaters never prosper
It happened as it so often does: Out on the town on a Friday night. I was with my wife and some friends in a restaurant, and having eaten nothing but pre-packaged Walmart meals for two months one thing soon lead to another. My plan was to order a garden salad with chicken, as I had always done when dining out, but when menus arrived the burger and fries called my name so loudly that I just had to have them. And having given up alcohol over the same two months, I cheated again by washing it all down with a couple glasses of wine.
Don’t get me wrong: I enjoyed the meal. But when I got home I felt disappointed at having cheated on a diet I had worked so hard to start. I felt even worse when I discovered the consequences of my actions. Stepping on the scale before bed, I saw that my weight had jumped several pounds. And despite the fact that I immediately returned to my proven weight-loss plan, it took three whole days to get back to where I was before my moment of weakness.
Consistency is key
After that, there were no cheat days. There were no cheat moments. Otherwise, I would always have been treading water, and constantly looking back at what I did wrong instead of staying focused on my goal.
My own experience is supported by academic research. A 2017 Drexel University study suggests that slowly but steadily shedding pounds each week can be more beneficial for long-term weight loss than seeing your weight drastically drop only to rise again. Researchers found that weekly weight variability among 183 obese subjects, measured at the first six and 12 weeks of a guided weight-loss program, was associated with less weight loss when measured at 12 and 24 months.
Knowledge is power
By making a conscious effort to track my food intake, I gained essential knowledge about what and how much I could eat to achieve my goals. I also learned how many calories I needed to burn each day, which brings me to the topic of my next post: The exercise regimen that accompanied my dietary changes, and that ultimately kicked my journey into a higher gear.
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