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Five Magical-Thinking Errors

Some call it "denial." Others call it "rationalization." But when it comes to skirting the truth about caloric intake, Carole calls it "magical thinking." And she's learned to call its bluff.

When I returned from a wonderful vacation in Kauai, Hawaii, I noticed that the scale was up a few pounds. Bummer!

In light of the undeniable feedback on my behavior, I went over what thoughts or ideas steered me wrong. After considerable reflection and analysis, I came up with a list that I call my "magical thinking" errors.

  • Error Number One.  Because I exercised more than usual (tennis, swimming, hiking), I thought I could eat whatever I wanted. Wrong. I still have to keep my caloric intake around 1,500 if I want to avoid gaining weight.


  • Error Number Two.  A cocktail before a nice dinner or a couple of glasses of wine couldn't possibly add pounds. Wrong: With its high sugar content, alcohol most certainly shows up on the scale.


  • Error Number Three.  Food eaten at potlucks and prepared by Kauaians and fellow visitors must be thoroughly enjoyed, if for no other reason than to show respect and appreciation for the effort that went into the preparation. Wrong: Whatever the occasion, calories count, and my priority should be to stay fit, not take care of the feelings of everyone around me.


  • Error Number Four.  Because I'm eating healthy foods, I shouldn't gain weight. Wrong: Food, even the healthiest, will cause weight gain if too many calories are consumed.


  • Error Number Five.  When in Rome, eat like a Roman. That is, when you go out to eat and everyone around you is having Kauaian mud pie for dessert, order your own slice. Wrong: Unless you want to look like an overweight Roman, you have to settle for a bite of someone else's dessert.

My magical thinking ended when I returned home. I've worked too hard to lose all the ground I've gained. Perhaps the rain and snow will have a chilling effect on my appetite. In the meantime, aloha!


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