Dangling The Carrot Before The Calorie Geek

I’ve found something that’s been working for me in this the beginning phase of my quest to get, as I call it, “hipster thin.” It’s perhaps a reverse-psych way of doing business, but what I do is keep a candy bar on hand. Out in the open. Dangerously close.

I first tried it early into Week No. 1 of our diet when I was suffering from some severe chocolate withdrawal. I was at a gas station and so I gave in and bought a 460-calorie, kingsized Fastbreak bar (one of my favorites). The good news was that I didn’t scarf it. Instead of devouring it on the ride home I left it untouched, bringing it inside and setting it out in the open on the corner of my desk where it then stayed miraculously untouched for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 days until my wife and I split it for dessert.

The cool thing was that it was never really a test not to eat it. It was there at arm’s length whenever I was at my desk, but I never felt taunted by it. In fact, it was a nice shot of empowerment that I didn’t fixate on the thing.

But even better was the the candy bar’s long range as a deterrent. On several occasions it prevented me from making a rash purchase whenever I was out. If I was at Vons getting groceries or the corner store picking up a newspaper and suddenly overcome with the urge to buy that chocolate chip cookie dough or that package of Zingers, instead I would reason that there’s no need to buy such junk when I already have a fix waiting for me at home.

It worked like a charm. But in the wake of that Fastbreak bar, my resolve was showing signs of cracking. First came the commercial for those peanut butter-filled Hershey’s kisses. But damn! I could barely contain the chocolate beastie in me from purchasing five pounds of them at Costco last week. A couple nights ago there was another ad on TV for some sort of Reese’s peanut butter cookies. So good did those look that I proclaimed I was going to dive into a bag of those should I have shed three more pounds by my next weigh-in this Sunday (but at least I set the bar to an amount that I’m not likely to acheive… I’ve only lost four in the first two weeks).

Then came yesterday’s trip to Trader Joes. I managed to avoid eye contact with the majority of the containers of chocolate-covered raisins, nuts, et cetera, but I admit I fondled the tubs of cark chocolate chip cookie dough and and Belgian chocolate pudding. But I put them back. Because I’m tough like that.

I did cave in and purchase a container of triple gingersnap cookies (serving size of six equals 140 calories). And last but not least my desk’s northwest corner is once again home to a candy bar:

Candy Bar

Specifically a Trader Joe’s Organic Dark Chocolate Truffle bar comprising three total servings at a grand total of — yikes! — 540 calories (note to self: check Cybele’s Candy Blog to see if she’s had chance to review this item).

It’s already done its job today. At Vons grocery shopping this afternoon I didn’t even think about grabbing anything even remotely chocolate related. No need, when this 3.5-ounces of decadence is standing guard at home. I can’t guarantee it’ll be on post for as long as the Fastbreak bar, but we’ll see.
About my desire to be so-called “hipster thin?” When I joined my wife in this weight-loss undertaking my goal was and still is to lose 30 pounds by July 1. I felt very fit a couple years ago at 230 (even though by strict weight-to-height chart standards that still means I’m grossly overweight). However, I’ve decided I’m not going to stop there. Next stop after that is 215 by October 1, with my final destination to be 200 a year from now, by the end of January 2007.

Why? First and foremost I want to enable my good health and contribute to my well being so that I’m around for as long as I can be for my wife and my daughter and my friends. On a more personal level, it’s quite simple. All my adult life I’ve tried and failed to get down to 200. In fact, I’ve only come close once and for the countless other times, I’ve never felt so able to achieve it as I do now. Thirdly, and I’ve written of this before: it’s a tremendous positive to be so empowered. Even though it’s only four pounds I’ve already lost (and however much else this week), it feels like 40. There’s an elation and a self-satisfaction that all the pizza and pie in the world can’t replace. And lastly, is pure vanity. I just want to look good. I want my self-perception and reality to be balanced for once in my life, not be at opposites. I want to wear clothes, not have them wear me and I want to have the confidence not to wear them, too.

It could be that having been so disappointed with my body throughout my life (going back to junior high) there’s no way of resolving the battle of how I see myself versus what’s real and that I could very well get down to 200 and still be magnifying flaws that no one else sees.

That may happen. I’m not saying this will be a magic cure-all to my ability to be self critical. But then my plan isn’t to become some Hollywood ideal. You won’t find me trying to sculpt a six-pack out of this belly. What you will find is the absolute joy I’ll be feeling at stepping on a scale and seeing myself minus 60 pounds… and all the baggage that went with it.