make the same response to a given stimulus a thousand times, and it becomes difficult to do anything else.
If, having done so, you then wish to do elsewise, it takes some effort of will, but having made that effort of will a thousand times, a new habit becomes emplaced.
Such a change though, has to start with that effort of will.
Dear reader, I've been unhappy for quite some time with what I've been seeing in the mirror, and about a week ago, I made a spontaneous and frivolous decision to download a calorie counting app for my ipad.
Having made a few inputs about my height, weight, lifestyle and goal, the app set me a daily target of 1740 calories per day.
I can eat lard, drink beer, eschew lettuce, eat three eclairs and a cheese and onion pasty, but that's my limit. 1740 calories. How I get there is up to me.
Making a conscious decision to do things differently has actually been quite easy. Just a simple tap on an ipad screen got the ball rolling.
Doing things differently has been easy too. Since I'm making a conscious effort, maintaining the old habits but in a different way is straightforward.
I spend a few hours working, and I'm hungry. I drive to a supermarket and buy something to eat. My brainstem says "buy easy energy - pasties, cheese sarnies, etc) my conscious mind over-rides this. Result being a full belly, energy being released over a longer period of time, and both fewer calories, and more of the good stuff.
Today I popped in to a shop for lunch, and I got an apple, a banana, a reduced fat egg and cress sandwich, and some short dated organic on the vine cherry tomatoes.
It cost a little less than the sugary fatty usual, and meant that tonight, having only eaten about 600 calories, I have a surplus of about 1000 to use however I want.
I'm getting drunk on 4 or 5 bottles of strong ale. Huzzah!
Initial results have been spectacular. I've gone from 14 stone 8 pounds to 14 stone 1 pound in a few days. Only the greek economy is shrinking faster.
I'm told that such a rapid loss is unhealthy, but that I should normally see such initial gains when I start dieting. Fat cells, when depleted, dont just cease to exist, they just shrink. So, I should expect to find the pace of weight loss slows, and that it's all too easy to regain.
But for now, I'm enjoying the task I've set myself, as much because I've tasked myself as because of anything else.
The hard part is to take the time to input everything I'm consuming into the app. But the specifics don't matter. If I get through 1900 calories because I didn't bother inputting the scoop of icecream I had at the end of yesterday, It doesn't affect the bigger overall trend.
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