Red light required to stop binges [UPDATED]Published 10:38am Monday, April 30, 2012 Updated 12:40pm Monday, April 30, 2012
I have read in several diet books that you should never publicly announce that you’re going on a diet.
I absolutely believe that. A few months ago, I wrote about using my phone app to help count calories. The phone app works beautifully. The task of counting calories, even if more convenient, is still daunting.
For example, how do you add up calories in the following cases:
• You’re at a family gathering, and there are several trays of appetizers sitting out, calling out for you to graze for, oh, an hour or so.
• You’re at a potluck with dozens of dishes, most of which are homemade. You have no choice but to fill up your plate, fill it up again, and then hit the dessert offerings.
• You’re at a really good restaurant celebrating something (can’t remember what it was) and everything — the appetizers, the bread, the salad, the entrée, the beverage — tastes delicious. Of course, you know the portion sizes are much higher than your phone app says it is.
• You’ve just finished, say, a half-marathon, and only minutes after finishing, there’s a table of high-energy (calorie) items — chocolate milk, cookies, string cheese. Since you’re obviously really hungry, you indulge.
And of course, your phone is almost out of batteries, so recording every bite in your app can’t be done.
These are the pitfalls of calorie counting. To a person who, like myself, has an internal green light that shines much brighter than the red one (go ahead, have that appetizer!) these situations are really difficult.
What I discovered is that, like a binge drinker, I’m a binge eater. My daily routine — cereal for breakfast, fruit for snacks, a low-calorie lunch and a veggie-packed dinner — puts me well below the calorie count I need to lose weight, especially when I get a daily workout in.
Then, the binge days, or meals for that matter, come into play, and blow up my hard-earned calorie savings for the week.
I really admire those people whose plates can still be visible at holiday meals (rather than three-dimensional), who consistently require “doggie bags” at restaurants, who can have a taste of an appetizer or two and be satisfied. They see the red light, and they stop.
That’s not me. That may never be me. And I assume I am not alone in this plight.
Just like alcoholics will always be alcoholics, those whose appetite keeps flashing green will always have to work at it, to be creative in avoiding calories, and to accept that, once in a while, they are going to take a step backward.
It is, after all, why I run.
• • •
I know it’s silly to get too worked up about the Vikings’ draft picks the day after they make those picks, but it’s hard not to feel giddy so far. The Vikings filled their three biggest needs — left tackle, safety and wide receiver — on Thursday with first-round picks Matt Kalil and Harrison Smith and free agent Jerome Simpson. Thanks in part to a shrewd trade by general manager Rick Spielman, they have 10 draft picks left.
No matter what happens, Spielman is looking like a GM who, if given the chance, will eventually make the Vikings into a winner again.
Of course, if the Legislature doesn’t get a stadium deal done, we’ll have to take in games while vacationing at Disneyland …
Joel Myhre is The Journal’s Publisher. E-mail him at email@example.com