A hungry stomach will not allow its owner to forget it, whatever his cares and sorrows.
--Homer, The Odyssey, c. 800 B.C.
The generally smooth and steady progress of a diet, like the course of a life, is occasionally punctuated by ``bad days.'' Throughout this book I've tried to concentrate on facts and methods instead of persuasion and motivation. I believe that, ultimately, success in anything requires motivation from within; that the person undertaking a task believes in its worth and values accomplishing it above whatever effort is required to that end. Still, a little encouragement along the way helps, especially when unexpected difficulties crop up or fatigue begins to take its toll. This section is intended to provide a little encouragement when the inevitable bad day comes along, to remind you of the reasons you decided to lose weight in the first place, and the enduring reasons to stay the course.
The worst times in a diet often occur late at night. You've eaten the last meal of the day, and a few hours later you're hungry again. You may not be able to get to sleep for hunger, or you may have awakened, stomach growling, ``Feed me.'' It's just you and the hunger, alone, in the middle of the night. But even if you're in a room full of people in the afternoon, you are still truly alone.
You're alone because only you have the power to stay on your meal plan. If you confide your hunger to anybody, they'll either react by thinking ``Why is he bothering me with this?'' or, more often, by saying, ``Well, that's simple. Go eat something!'' Neither helps. For if you go and have a snack, you've taken the first step toward pitching out the meal plan. The next time, it probably won't take quite as bad a day, and before long the meal plan will lie abandoned, the diet in shambles, and your weight trend on an upward climb, probably no longer being watched. What helps in these rare but trying times is reflection on precisely why you got yourself into this mess in the first place and soberly weighing your present discomfort against achieving the goal you're striving for.
By John Walker