I decided I would give up meat.* Some people give up chocolate or wine. I don’t drink much wine and chocolate doesn’t have much of a hold on me. So I thought I would give up meat. I was doing great, too. Just a Diet Coke and granola bar for breakfast. Another Diet Coke and peanut butter sandwich for lunch. Another Diet Coke and some Girl Scout cookies for dinner. Then I went to worship and got the ashes on my head. It was all official now.
The next morning I took my Diet Coke to our church men’s group. As I was crumpling up the foil from my Chick Fil-A chicken biscuit and throwing it in the trash, I thought, “DAMN IT!”
I made it roughly 24 hours. One day. And I was out.
I don’t think I’m alone. We consume food without really thinking about it. When they cut pizza into those small square slices, they don’t really count, do they? We can have pretty much whatever we want when we want. As a friend says, “You don’t have to be hungry to eat a hot dog.” So we don’t think about it.
Until we do.
Something stirs in us and we decide to make a change. And it’s usually a big one. We’re all in. We’re Keto, Paleo, Vegan, Atkins, I’ll have the burger without the burger, and take my own Kale chips to the movies kind of all in.
I don’t know a thing about diets. I am not a registered dietician, nor am I a nutritionist.
However, I do want to offer one piece of advice about food if you’re trying to lose weight.
Before you try to make any changes, do this. Write down every single thing you eat for two weeks. Every. Single. Thing.
Now, use your brain. You don’t need to count every french fry, but call it a large order if that’s what it is. However, if you eat eight cookies, write down “eight cookies.” Write down everything. You will find some easy places to make changes.
I have done this a number of times. Here are a couple things I discovered.
1. If you would have asked me how many times I went through a drive-thru, I would have said maybe once a week. When I tracked it, I realized it was five times over the two weeks. I don’t care what you’re ordering, there are better choices.
2. My office manager has a bowl of candy on her desk filled with those tiny little Snickers, Milky Ways, and Hershey Bars. They are literally bite-size. One of these will not kill anybody. BUT, what if you go into your office manager’s office seven times in one day? Well, you’ve just had a JUMBO snickers; you just paced yourself is all.
Your body does not manufacture calories. You have to put them in, and quite simply, most of us just put in too many. Before you start cleansing, tracking macros, cutting carbs, and drinking protein shakes, just be thoughtful about what you eat and how much of it you are eating. You will see a difference.
*Yesterday marked the beginning of the Christian season of Lent. It’s a time to reflect on our lives, what they mean, and what we believe Jesus has done for us. Many people give up some simple pleasure in their lives during that season. That simple act of sacrifice serves as a reminder of the sacrifice of Jesus.