(Thirteenth in a Series)
The Middle Third
In crossing a wide expanse, say a desert or an ocean-or a hundred and fifty pounds to lose-the middle third always seems the hardest. You've definitely lost sight of the coast you left, and your port of call is way beyond the forward horizon. It's just you out there, walking, rowing, or sailing, and it's the same walking, rowing, or sailing day in and day out, and then some more of the same.
This can get to the point where any change is welcome, even if that change gains you a pound or two, just to break the monotony.
They say change is the spice of life, which may well be true, but with 60 pounds lost and 90 to go, you have to realize that numbers don't lie, and that change might be the last thing you should indulge in at this point.
It's axiomatic that what works works, and if you have managed to drop sixty pounds over six months, you have been doing something (or many things) right. To continue this success, you must continue to do what worked, not something new or something else no matter how much variety cries out to be heard and taken into account.
Isolate What Works
If staying the precise course is simply too painfully boring, and you must alter something, then ensure that you don't alter anything that my adversely affect the success; in other words, stay away from the things that work.
To do that, you need accurately to assess what these things are.
One recent long-distance dieter reports that she, day in and day out, keeps her calorie intake between 1,300-1,500 calories a day by eating a low calorie protein bar for breakfast, and then drinking two low-calorie nutrition drinks a day, one to supplement the breakfast bar, and one as lunch.
To reach her calorie range she then eats a pre-packaged low-calorie meal for dinner.
As for burning calories, she exercises 30 minutes a day.
Also, she weighs herself every day to keep a close check on progress.
Day in. And day out.
But this day in and day out application of the First Law of Thermodynamics (1LTD) has lost her 53 pounds. This fact can (but must not) get lost in the scramble for variety.
Don't Change What Works
Isolating what has worked, she sees: her daily calorie intake ranges between 1,300-1,500, and as for burning darn things, she exercises 30 mintues each day. That's the working principle
that must not, under any circumstances, be altered.
The two daily drinks help a lot, she realizes that, and they're actually quite tasty, so no need to mess with those.
She likes plotting her weight daily, so no need to change that either.
But the pre-packaged dinners are really getting to her: they taste more and more like plastic with each spin of the planet. True, they are convenient, and come with a full calorie declaration, facilitating the counting and keeping the range, but these benefits are less and less worth the cost of boredom.
So change it.
Tuning What Works
One workable approach, with several benefits-and which can be seen as tuning what works, rather than changing it-is to replace pre-packaged dinners with low calorie meals prepared and cooked from scratch. And as long as this meal keeps you within your calorie range, a freshly cooked meal will in all likelihood be more nutritious than something prepackaged will.
Additionally, and many have observed this rather curious phenomenon, the act of preparing something from scratch-the cutting, the slicing and dicing, the measuring, the stirring and baking-in and of itself provides a nourishing contentment. It's as if the moment you begin to prepare the meal, the hunger pangs ease and go away, seeing that food's on the way.
And here is where you can introduce as much change as you please. As long as you stay within the calorie range, experiment to your heart's content. Document successes (to revisit) as well as failures (to avoid), and become your own best culinary friend.
Those who have tried this swear that it makes the middle third easier to travel.
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