Fatty Death By A Thousand Cuts
We’re going to take a morbid twist right off the bat today…
Have you ever heard of the form of execution called “Death by a thousand cuts”?
It was a form of torture/execution used by the Chinese and, believe it or not, was used up until the early 1900’s. I’ll spare you the gory details because I’m guessing you can get the gist by the name alone, but I think we can all agree that this type of punishment is a wee bit overkill and flat out nuts.
So why would I, your fearless trainer-dude, start off on such a morbid topic?
Because it relays perfectly to why so many struggle with their diet.
Let me explain with a personal story…
Last Saturday night, after a full day of football watching, I had a hankerin’ for boneless wings (I don’t do normal wings because I don’t like getting messy with my food…I like using utensils).
The wings tasted mighty fine, but I felt regret about 20 minutes after finishing. I felt as though I let myself down.
In the grand scheme of things this one meal isn’t that big of a deal, but I still felt bad for eating that way.
I don’t think I”m alone in that feeling.
All too often we tend to put too much emphasis on ONE meal, or ONE day when that’s not the most important factor in whether you lose weight, or gain it.
The truth is, gaining weight, or lack of losing it, is much closer to the Death Of A Thousand Cuts, or in this instance, Fattiness By A Thousand Mini-Cheats.
One meal, or hell even one day, isn’t that big of a deal. You won’t ruin your hard work by splurging, but you will absolutely derail your hard work, or even start gaining, by constantly succumbing to small splurges.
A couple cookies on Monday afternoon…
2 glasses of wine after dinner Monday evening…
A brownie after lunch on Tuesday because it’s someone’s birthday at work…
Dining out with the family Tuesday evening…
I could go on with the rest of the week, but you get the picture.
One of those things, taken all by themselves, is NOT a big deal.
You can have the brownie after lunch and be just fine.
You can have a couple glasses of wine after dinner and still be on the path to losing that stubborn fat.
You can dine out with the family and eat whatever the hell you want, and still be okay.
One of those things, or even a couple, taken in isolation are not going to do you any harm.
The harm comes in when you stumble multiple days per week, This is what I call a “Mini-Cheat” because you are taking small “cheats” every day, or most days, and still “relaxing” your eating habits once per week in total.
You can bust your butt in your workouts, eat really, really good, keep stress to a minimum and still struggle with weight loss, or even gain weight, if you are stumbling multiple days per week.
Cut, cut, cut.
It’s very easy to do, and any one of those cuts by themselves won’t do much harm, but much like that form of Chinese torture, you’ll be in all sorts of fatty trouble if you do it day in and day out.
Here’s What To Do Next…
So how do you know if you are having issues with these Mini-Cheats?
The easiest way, and really the only way, is to keep a Food Journal.
Write out what you eat every day this coming week, or if you want ot go one step further, do it fo rthe next two weeks.
Be totally honest and write it down as soon as you can after eating/drinking. The reason I mention this is that many Mini-Cheats aren’t remembered because they seem so trivial.
A cookie every day after lunch isn’t going to register if it’s a daily habit; just like most don’t know exactly how many cups of coffee they drink in a day.
You’re also going to be a better judge of serving size if you write it down immediately after eating.
This simple exercise can uncover some gems.
One of my former clients was never willing to give up his nightly ritual of having a bowl of Frosted Flakes because he just didn’t think it was that big of a deal – even though he had stalled in his weight loss efforts
I asked him to do what I just asked you, I analyzed it, handed it back to him after circling all his Mini-Cheats in bright red marker and told him something had to give.
He didn’t realize that he was also eating poorly when he went out to lunch 2 or 3 days per week, and never really knew how many beers he drank in a week (10), in addition to his nightly bowl of cereal, until he wrote it down and I inked it up. It looked like one of my college Physics exams all full of red ink.
Those things if looked at individually aren’t that big of a deal. Two beers a day won’t do much harm if the rest of your diet is okay; having a small order of french fries a couple times per week is fine if you’re good the rest of the time; and a nightly splurge of a couple hundred calories won’t do much harm if you ate well the rest of the day and are busting your butt in your workouts…
… Each one is a small cut, but enough cuts will bleed you out.
Now get to writing.