Monday, January 7, 2013

Weight and Wait

I'm not a big New Year's Resolution person. But I will concede that I'm hoping to be more "tidy" in 2013.

But I know lots of people make resolutions - and losing weight is a major one. The World Cancer Research Fund has just gone on record as saying that if you really want to keep the weight off, cutting down on alcohol is a great place to start. Apparently, we consume about 10% of our calories from alcohol! (I bet some of us drink even more than that! Personally, I'm not gonna do the math.)

At any rate, they've created a cool/handy little page in which you can input how many glasses of wine/beer/spirits, etc. you drank - or plan to drink - and it'll calculate how many calories are in that booze, how long you'll have to walk to burn it off, and even the equivalent calories in cookies. It's actually kind of fun ... if a little sobering. It's amazing how much walking you have to do when you drink. Of course ... I actually do walk a lot. Happy coincidence. ;)

Check it out @ Alcohol Calorie Calculator.

I've also got a confession. Friday morning was a challenging one for me, craving wise. Usually I don't have a problem with massive alcohol cravings - at least not the way it used to be in the old days - but for some reason, Friday morning was ... well ... hell, I wanted to drag a throw pillow in front of the fridge and make love to that bottle of pinot grigio. 

I didn't.

Because it's not allowed, remember? No drinking at home alone on the plan! 

So I did some yoga instead. It passed in a hurry and I enjoyed a glass of wine when I went out for lunch later in the day.  

As I said, this is an unusual occurrence for me. But I think it was coming off that relatively long drinking period over the holidays. This year, just the way Christmas and New Year's fell - and my husband's vacation days turned out - it was a rather lengthy string of drinking days together.  I think my pleasure receptors had a post-holiday tantrum when life went back to normal. 

"Hey, wtf?! The party's over? No waaaay!! Waaaaah!! What about Ukrainian Christmas? What about Greek Christmas? What about your birthdaaaaay?"

"My birthday's ten months away."  

"So? Mine isn't!"

"You don't have a birthday. You're pleasure receptors. And if you do have a birthday, it's the same as mine."

"You SUCK!!!" 

Finally, I had to play tough love. "Grow up, will ya? Have you ever heard of the term delayed gratification? Very, very important! All you have to do is WAIT for crissakes!!"

"Waaaaaah!"

"Okay, that's it. Downward Dog time for you all you jerks. See how much pleasure you get in that!"

(Actually, it was pleasurable. But tell that to your brain before you actually drag out the mat.)

I sincerely have no idea how people stay on the wagon for-evurrrr. Gaaad. No wonder you need group meetings and sponsors and drugs and therapy and self-talk and Herculean will power. You have to delay gratification ... forever. 

By the way, 'delayed gratification experiments' are famous - in particular the 1972 Marshmallow Experiment conducted at Stanford. For those of you who missed Psych 101 - or were too hungover to remember that lecture - this experiment consisted of telling 4-6 year-old test subjects that they could have a second marshmallow ... if they could just sit there for a few minutes and not eat a first marshmallow right away. The Evil Scientist then left the room and the kids were left squirming in front of a big, soft, squishy marshmallow for as long as they could take it. Perty cute. 

The ability to delay gratification - rather than snarf the mallow immediately - is apparently a very important part of a successful life. It helps us be more patient, self-disciplined, adaptable, and even leads to higher SAT scores. 

Here's more info on delayed gratification and the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment. But even better, visual aids! This must be one of the most popular scientific experiments of all time, judging from how many YouTube clips there are about it. It's definitely the cutest one. I couldn't decide which to post, so here are two. If you can only watch one, I'd say the second one. Less explanation, but more squirming cuties. With the added temptation of ... chocolate sauce!

If you like kids - or marshmallows - cancel your next couple appointments. 

btw, this is much more entertaining than trying to watch me not attack a bottle of wine. But not much. ;)