Today was the day that I had an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon to have my knee and what I think is my hamstring looked at. This follows up on my ER visit a couple of weeks ago. But, this morning we received a call that the doctor had been called into emergency surgery so we had to reschedule for next week.
The word that crossed through my head when I heard about this was deferred. The appointment wasn’t cancelled. It was just postponed until next week. It will still happen. I probably thought of the word “deferred” because I’ve been thinking about that a lot with food lately.
One of the techniques that has helped me a lot is to consciously defer things, particularly food. If it is mid-afternoon and I had a higher calorie lunch and I don’t have a lot of calories left for the day, I might defer having a snack. I don’t tell myself that I can’t have those pistachios (my favorite snack), but I might tell myself that I’ll wait until after dinner. If I eat them in the afternoon, then I still might want to have a snack in the evening. By deferring the afternoon snack, I may end up eating less overall even if I still decide to have the nuts in the evening.
And, sometimes, when I defer a food I end up never eating it. The other day I thought about having a snack in the late afternoon. I often have a snack then, but that day I had had a larger lunch than usual. I wasn’t ravenous, but I did just want my snack. But, I decided to defer it until later. In due course, I had dinner. I got busy, and it wasn’t until midnight that I realized I had never had the deferred snack so I decided not to eat it.
So, why not just say from the start that I’m not going to have the food. Why defer it instead? Well, first, sometimes I do decide against a food entirely. Yesterday, around dinner time I mentioned to my husband that I wished it wasn’t Wednesday. I had plenty of points for the day left. I had plenty of weekly points left. And, I was just suddenly in the mood to go out to eat. Had this been on the weekend or maybe even Monday I would have done it. But, with a Friday morning weigh in, I usually don’t like to eat out on Wednesday or Thursday unless I really have to. And, I really didn’t have to eat out. I just wanted to.
In this case, I didn’t defer the decision. I knew immediately that eating out wasn’t really in my plans for the day and that I wasn’t going to change my mind. So, I just quickly told my husband that while I would like to eat out, I knew it was best not to and then I went and made my dinner.
But, in other situations, deferral works well for me. In some instances, there is nothing wrong with eating the food, but if I defer it until a little later I end up eating less calories overall so it works out better. I don’t risk eating too early in the day and then being starving in the evening. In some instances, deferring is an antidote to feeling deprived. If I constantly tell myself that I can’t have a particular food, then I can start having a pity party and will feel deprived. On the other hand, if I tell myself that I can have that food….later…then I don’t feel deprived.
And, deferring doesn’t have to just be that day. There are some restaurants that I really like but are harder to eat at within the calories I want to eat. I do much better to say that I won’t go to that restaurant today or this week but maybe next week or next month. I just went to a Mexican food restaurant that I really like that I’ve been deferring going to since last summer! At no point did I ever syw that I couldn’t eat there. I just deferred eating there every time it came up as a possibility. Finally, I decided I had deferred enough and I really wanted it so I went there for dinner. I’ll probably go back in a few months.
Deferring works for me because I don’t feel deprived when I defer something and I feel like I still have control and can do what I want. Overall, it is much gentler to me than simply telling myself that I can’t have something.
Do you ever use deferral as a weight loss or maintenance tool?