2012/10/20

Diet, food and activities

Less than a year ago I decided to start dieting; in a sense, I’m quite lucky, because my metabolism just asks me to eat less in order to loose weight. When I started I was at 116 Kg; now I’m around 87, and I had a steady progress of loosing weight at about 0.5 Kg/Week.

Staying on a diet taught me a number of things.

First of all, it taught me about patience. I mean, you can think I loose weight quite fast, and indeed it was fast; but when you’re overweight (obese is the right term) and you want to regain a more healthy weight, an year can be a very long time.

But, and this was another lesson, you can’t solve a big problem in just one day; after all, it took me something like 10 years to gain all that weight. So, solving that problem in just one year was really a deal.

But, in the meantime, I remained obese. And this was the third lesson: once you’ve a problem, even if you devise a solution, the solution does not resolve the problem immediately; and in the meantime, you’ll still have your problem.  

And so, here is the fourth lesson, which is also lesson zero, because all started from that: self-discipline, or the ability to stop eating. I remember how I started this diet; I had the general idea I had to start dieting, but never really resolved to do it; then, one day, I get a small portion of pasta. Actually, I wanted more of that pasta. It tasted wonderfully, and I wanted more of it. But I decided not to take more, to remain hungry, and I tried eating some vegetables or some fruit. And then it started: I gained the ability to stop eating.

Once it was clear my diet was working (and you know it is working when people around you notice it and ask you how you did it) I thought I could apply the lessons I learned from my diet to other parts of my life. So, I thought I could devise some sort of analogies between food and diet on one side and life activities on the other side.

Just as we need food, was my reasoning, we need activities. Food gives us the energy to live, and activities both provide the money, and also fill our lives. Too much food, and you start gaining weight. Too much activities, and you start gaining stress and your backlog becomes longer and longer. Too little food, and you die. Too little activities, and aside from the potential loss of money, you enter in that state which is just surviving rather than living.

Once you get too many activities, you become overcommitted, which is the analogous of overweight. The overcommitment can become quite serious, and you can get stressed so much that you start risking your own health. Just to be clear, I’m overcommitted at the moment.  That’s the reason why I started this reasoning.

Being ‘normally committed’ means that the activities you complete are balanced to the new activities you decide to accept, and those activities are giving you a decent living. Give ‘decent’ whatever meaning you want: doing nothing all the day will give you no overcommitment, even though most probably will also give you no money, and, according to me, no fun.

Let’s review my own lessons from the food, and let’s see what I can learn.

First, there is patience: overcommitment is not the work of a day or of a week; it won’t go away in a day or in a week; it requires months of steady progression. It won’t go away in just one day.

In the mean time, and this is the second lesson, I will remain overcommitted; of course, it will improve, over the time, but it won’t disappear in just one day.

And the third lesson, which should be lesson zero, is that my activity-diet begins when I decide to say ‘no’ to another serving: a new project to do, an new interesting activity, even an online game, or a new argument to study. I can’t become ‘normally committed’ unless I learn to stop accepting every activity I stumble upon.

Oh, besides, writing on a blog counts as an activity ;)


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