Skinny Daily Post


Last night at a meeting a young lady told me ‘I start off the week so well and with the best of intentions but usually about halfway through I figure oh well what the heck and just eat until I’m stuffed.’ Boy, does that ring true for me. Ironically, when I got home later, after having eaten a sensible dinner that left me feeling perfectly satisfied, I began rummaging the cabinets with that ‘oh well what the heck’ feeling, myself.

Obviously, its one thing to have positive intentions and quite another thing to maintain that resolve and put it into action when we’re feeling less motivated. How can we stay connected to our overall goals, when in the short run we are driven by what one meeting member referred to as ‘my desire for instant gratification?’

Knowing what to do is a start. For instance, I know in my own case that either brushing my teeth and/or going to bed is a sure fire way for me to interrupt an oh-what-the-heck moment late at night. I’ve done it in the past and it has worked.

But there’s a difference between knowledge and action. Last night I knew what to do, but I didn’t act on that information. Instead, I fell into that old reactive-behavior mode where I put my cognitive mind aside and just, well, ate.

So what’s the NEXT step? Do we just give in to the inevitable and say ‘the devil made me do it?’

As I think about it, yesterday I did actually have success overcoming an oh-what-the-heck earlier in the day. In that instance, I was driven to snack out of sheer boredom, but was saved by the fact that I was at the office, and the only thing immediately available to me was either some fat free yogurt or an apple. As I pondered those choices I realized that neither one really appealed to me because I was not, in fact, actually HUNGRY. Realizing that I just wasn’t going to get up and walk a couple of blocks to the market to buy a snack, I simply waited, and the feeling subsided.

Now, since I don’t live alone, I can’t clear my home environment of ALL tempting foods. But based on past experience, having a number of alternatives available to me (food and otherwise) is the only way to go.

Which means planning. It means shopping ahead of time for worthy snacks. It means planning my day so that when I’m tired and cranky, I have things to do (a book to read, some herbal tea to brew, a checkbook to balance). It also means planning my eating throughout the day so that I feel satisfied, not deprived. And, it means planning to fail successfully. Which is to say, having a Plan B so that one late-night snack doesn’t turn into a day, a week, or (god forbid) a month of overeating.

Today is a new day, I had a healthy breakfast and I’m planning to go to the gym. I’ve got a good book to read, and a list of chores to do if I get bored at home. So, what the heck … here goes!

8 thoughts on “What the Heck?

  1. Carla says:


    I’ve been reading your essays for a few days now, and I’m so relieved to learn that I’m not the only person with food issues. Thank you. I don’t remember the exact day, month or even year that food became more than nutrition. All I know is that now, as I try to reclaim my body, food is all I think about. Will it ever loose it’s hold on me?


  2. Mercury says:

    I usually bank my calories for later in the day, so I can either eat for volume, or have a nice, fatty snack in the evening. I generally aim to eat 1800 calories / day. In keeping with that, I try to come into the evening at about 1100. So then I either have 700 calories of healthy food, or 300 calories of ice cream (Ben & Jerry’s!). It provides some incentive for me to keep my calories in check until the very last minute.

    If I do need a “what the heck” moment, I throw some sliced granny apples into the microwave. It’s a very creditable substitute for apple pie. I’ve stopped eating most fruit, but I love it, so even an apple seems like a nice treat. I can’t wait for the summer to eat grilled peaches every night. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm.

  3. London Slimmer says:

    A couple of nights ago I discovered a good substitute to keep my terrible, horrible evening ice cream cravings at bay, which I wanted to share with the others on the site, even though I know you, Jonathan, are not a fan of recipes. I put a packet of frozen raspberries straight from the freezer in the blender, poured in some buttermilk and a couple of teaspoons of honey and hey presto it turned into a kind of slightly melted sorbet, rather like an Italian semifreddo. It was utterly delicious and ridiculously low-calorie, so much that I was able to eat two heaped bowlfulls and stay within my calorie limit.

    I also subscribe to Mercury’s approach of banking some calories for later on. As I often dance in the evenings, I need at least 300 calories immediately before bed to satisfy my rumbling tummy. In fact, for me, personally, the two keys to staving off the ‘what the heck’ syndrome are a) not getting too hungry (if I feel like bingeing, I have something healthy to eat instead, even if it puts me above my calorie limit) and b) planning sessions of exercise like dancing, dance practice, yoga, stretching, etc. that simply can’t be done on a full stomach. Gentle stretching with a Swiss ball is particularly good before bed, I find.

  4. Zsuzsa says:

    How many calories do you eat a day? Im active but I start to put on at 1300-1400. Sometimes 1000 isnt enough for me to slim down. Isnt that unhealthy?
    And I have one more question, this is the third time I ask but maybe someone has already answered and I just missed it-so, how is JuJu? Is she okay? I havent heard of her for months.

  5. Mercury says:

    Yes, again, is JuJu still alive and kicking? I would love to hear from her, even if she’s gained 200 pounds and doesn’t ever want to watch her weight again.

    Zsuzsa, here’s my (totally) non-medical opinion of your caloric needs. I think it totally depends on how big you are, how active you are, and how your metabolism works. Juju says she’s my height (5’7), but I believe she maintained on 1100 per day whereas I maintain on literally double that. I don’t count myself lucky to need more calories, since it just means I’m hungrier more of the time, and I still have to work hard to figure out where my range is, since I think it’s somewhat abnormal.

    I highly recommend WW, but I know that I pushed & pulled at their points system to make it work for me. I ate tons of beans, for instance, because they have the maximum calories per point – a can of beans is 3.5 points, and ~400 calories. I recently discovered a much more satisfying snack, plain, non-fat yogurt with olive oil. This is more filling, and is ~250 calories. But on WW’s system, it would be 5 points.

    Oh, my point? I guess that people who suspect that their caloric needs fall outside of normal boundries need to pay special attention to what satisfies them and how many calories work for their goals. Unless you’re on Atkins, it all comes down to calories, calories, calories.

  6. susan says:

    Laurie Fraser writes in her book “Losing It” about an experiment done with a group of people given a milkshake to drink, supposedly to rate the taste. They had previously filled out a questionnaire to sort out which of them were restrained eaters (dieters) and which were not. The researchers measured how much of the shakes was consumed by each participant. Those who were not restrained eaters ate less lunch after drinking the shake but among the dieters, the more of the shake they drank, the more lunch they ate afterward. They weren’t eating according to hunger, but according to how badly they felt they’d broken their diets.

    These researchers went on to do 8 more years of research. They found that dieting disrupted people’s physical sense of when and how much to eat, and led to overeating. Not only did the dieters eat more than non-dieters in experiments where they had to eat a high-calorie snack, breaking thier diet, but they ate mroe than non-dieters when they believed the snack was high-calorie, even when in fact it was low-calorie.

    Over and over the researchers found evidence of the “what-the-hell effect” of overeating after breaking a diet. Dieters were also prompted to binge in response to emotions, alcohol, anxieties, and anything else that disrupted their strict sense of being “good”. Dieting teaches people to ignore the physical feelings of hunger and they learn to rely on external rules to control their eating. They inevitably break those rules. Dieting is emotionally disempowering and causes people to lose the eating skills they were born with.

  7. Steven Klassen says:

    I know exactly what you mean. The brushing trick has served me well for 82 lbs so far.

  8. Maree says:

    im definately going to try this brushing technique……

    i start everyday off well….. i excercise regularly….

    but its the late night comfort food thats the killer for me…

    hopfully the brushing technique helps

    cheers .

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