Will the Eurozone collapse by the New Year? Can you control it?
Will the USA collapse by the New Year? Can you control it?
Will China collapse by the New Year? Can you control it?
Will you have gained weight by the New Year? You can control it.
(Note: This essay was written by a lifelong fatty in disguise.)
During World War Two just in time for Christmas 1944, the Germans’ Wehrmacht breached the Americans’ lines in Belgium then raced towards the coast. The ensuing battle became known as the “Battle of the Bulge”.
Alright, you think that you already know where this line of thought is heading, and you’re probably right, to a point . . . fat breaching the Americans’ waistlines of their breeches then racing towards greater obesity. Well, the thesis herein is a bit broader. It offers more than observation. More than analysis. It offers a resolution to the situation-in-question weighing heavily on the mind, if not the waistline, of every fatty disguised or not. Even better, it’s a resolution that’s free, convenient, and available at any time to anybody.
That’s right! No paying some profiteering “snake-oil-peddler” offering weight-loss by selling you smaller portions with less taste at higher prices . . . a proven failure, by the way. No joining some expensive, so-called health-club; only to injure yourself on a variety of mechanical contraptions in a fruitless attempt to burn those excess calories that you shouldn’t have swallowed in the first place. Instead, try employing a little Science to do that which you know in your brain . . . if not your stomach . . . is right.
Before we begin the analysis, here’s a little scientific background. Matter (such as the fat on your belly, hips, or backside) is just a sort of compression of energy. The First Law of Thermodynamics states that energy neither can be created nor destroyed.
Applied to fatties and everyone else, weight becomes a simple issue of CI/CO . . . calories in/calories out. Yes, yes . . . the perennial purveyors of diet-books, diet-foods, diet-programs serve self-selected facts as proverbial red herrings to distract gullible, frantic fatties from the simple truth . . . CI/CO. They tell you that it’s not that simple; for example, claiming that the kinds of food that you consume can make all the difference . . . they can, but they don’t. Ignore the claims and ignore those who make them!
Surely, we can discuss the Specific Dynamic Action (SDA) . . . the percentage of calories consumed required to metabolize those calories . . . of a diet overly abundant in protein; the potentially harmful effects of such a diet, notwithstanding. SDA or no SDA, fats or no fats, “carbs” or no “carbs”, the behavior of these slick salesmen of pseudo-salubrious misrepresentation is under the control of one consequence and one consequence only . . . money, your money! In controlling weight, outcome always can be reduced to CI/CO, which is the reason, statistically, that all of these inflated, self-serving claims end in failure.
Take the notion of eating one group of foods, say protein, over others . . . perhaps, a diet of extra-high protein and extra-low fat. Yes, the SDA of protein is high, approximately 30%; if you consume 1000 calories of pure protein, your body requires 300 of those calories to metabolize the 1000, leaving a net-CI of 700. The SDA of fat is much lower. Conclusion? Eat all protein and no fat? Consequence . . . you die.
The varied and vital, dietary requirements of omnivores such as we humans notwithstanding, with regard to controlling weight, look at the situation-in-question from a practical perspective. A meal high in fat is satisfying; a meal low in fat isn’t. Why?
Fat stays in the stomach longest of any group of foods. A glass of skimmed milk with no fat? Through the stomach in a flash . . . unsatisfying! A glass of whole milk with the same number of calories? Stays in the stomach for a while . . . satisfying! Would you rather feel unsatisfied or satisfied? I personally know a middle-aged woman who, when she gains a few extra pounds, loses them via a short-term diet composed almost entirely of ice-cream.
Say, ignoring reality, you unreasonable limit your intake of fat at each meal. Consequences? Cognitively, you congratulate yourself about your “willpower”. Emotionally, you feel out-of-sorts. Physiologically, you feel deprived. Behaviorally, you consume multiple snacks of foods extra-low in fat, often at night after an unsatisfying supper. Ultimately, even if you lose weight in the short term, you regain the lost weight, and often more, in the long term.
“Alright, what about surgery?” you may ask. Now, wouldn’t that be an extraordinary gift for Chanukah or Christmas? “Here, honey . . .a gift-certificate to have your stomach stapled.” Clearly, surgery performed by licensed physicians is a different story from worthless, dietary fads touted by charlatans. Even so, surgery is only for the morbidly obese, and it carries its own risks. Moreover, a determined fatty can eat his way around his surgically-mutilated gut.
The basic fact is the basic fact . . . eating is a behavior, a necessary consummatory behavior. Unlike other consummatory behaviors, however, such as drinking alcohol, shooting heroin, or smoking tobacco, eating doesn’t allow for abstinence. Therein lies a most challenging aspect of the situation-in-question.
We’ll be restricting ourselves to only the ritualistic feasting of the holiday-season. You, nevertheless, can generalize the message herein beyond the first day of January.
Scientific behavioral analysis involves describing the context of the situation-in-question then specifying the ABC’s . . . the antecedents, behaviors, and consequences (www.inescapableconsequences.com). Admittedly, sometimes it can be more difficult than it sounds but, fortunately, not in this case.
Context: The span of time in the USA from Thanksgiving* through New Year’s Day.
Antecedent: The serving of meals, snacks, and calorie-filled liquids . . . think eggnog.
Behavior: Eating and drinking.
Consequence: Gaining of weight.
Analyzing the situation-in-question isn’t so difficult. Facing it? Another matter. Those willing to face it may ask, “Ah, but how to resolve it?”
Resolving a problematic situation-in-question is where the proverbial rubber meets the road. Often, it can be difficult. Fortunately, in this case, it’s relatively easy, at least to describe [acknowledging the contribution of the late experimental psychologist, Charles B. Ferster, Ph.D. (1922-1981)].
You begin by specifying the problem. Typically, you do so in terms of behavior and its associated cognition, emotion, and physiology; but, for this situation, you need specify only the behavior. Then, you target a goal, design a plan, and employ measurement of the consequences. Always remember, B = f(x) under c . . . behavior is a function of its consequences under a given set of conditions (i.e., context).
Problem: A behavioral excess of eating and drinking.
Goal: To have maintained your weight pre-Thanksgiving throughout the holiday-season.
Plan: Put into play the following five, simple procedures:
1) Eat only in the place designated for eating; e.g., in the dining room or at a restaurant. Never eat or drink in any other place including the car; plain water excepted. (At parties in living rooms and other places not ordinarily designated for eating, no need to offend your host; simply eat and drink the absolute minimum to be polite.)
2) When eating, only eat. No watching television or videos! No using the computer. No talking via the telephone.
3) Take as large helpings as you wish of whatever you wish but never take seconds. As you’re heaping the foods onto your plate, it wouldn’t hurt to bring a little cognition to bear by asking yourself, “Do I really need a portion this large?”
4) Never clean your plate. Always leave a little of each portion on the plate or in the glass or cup. Forget about the starving children in the Sudan; your eating won’t put muscles onto their bones, only fat on top of your fat.
5) When you’ve finished your feeding-behavior, having left something of everything still on your plate, don’t nibble at that which remains. In fact, render the leavings unappetizing. How? Simply pour a little water or vinegar onto everything; pepper on ice-cream also is quite effective. Truly, others may look with surprise, even shock, at your action; but, once you’ve explained the rationale, they usually respond with approval if not admiration.
Measurement: Immediately after arising and urinating each morning, weigh yourself naked on the same scale, if possible; then record your weight to the nearest, higher, full pound.
Are there other procedures that you can employ? Surely, but if you
Are there other procedures that you can employ? Surely, but if you employ only these five, you’ll be doing more than probably anyone else around you.
“Wait a minute!” those of you still remaining with the program may exclaim. “Easy to say . . . difficult to do.”
Actually, not so difficult. When faced with the immediate reward of a luscious piece of yummy-yummy or another glass of what-the-heck . . . Stop! Think! Inhale! Before filling your mouth, just say the following silently to yourself: “Tomorrow morning, I’ll be facing a delayed punisher even worse than the indigestion that I’ll be facing tonight . . . the scale!”
An old saying goes, “Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow you may die.” Absolutely, but, whilst doing so, you also might remember a single word, “Moderation.”
So, Happy Thanksgiving to us Americans. Happy Chanukah to Jews. Merry Christmas to Christians. Happy, healthy, prosperous, and peaceful new year to everyone of good will everywhere.
Ah yes, one more thought. Never mind! My nose detects that supper’s ready, and, to paraphrase Will Rogers, I rarely met a meal that I didn’t like . . . or didn’t eat.
*Thanksgiving: No, Virginia, Thanksgiving was not a day dedicated to feasting. Quite the opposite! Officially, it was a day that President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 declared to be a day of prayer.
Tellingly, within the President’s brief proclamation were the following words: “I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”
A day of prayer, is it? Hmm, an interesting conundrum for atheists. To whom or what to give thanks on Thanksgiving? The turkey?