No, It is Not a Diet – It is a Lifestyle!
Hello again. It’s me. You know how much I love to talk and write about healthy living. It’s my passion to teach you the things that I have learned and incorporated into my life over the past thirty plus years.
No matter how much is written on this topic, it seems as though so many of you are still struggling to lose weight. Being too heavy is a problem that is not going away. Over two thirds of all Americans are overweight. And the number is increasing. And if you are in a country outside of the United States, it’s getting bad for you as well. There is no longer an age or a gender barrier. Being overweight is an equal opportunity demon for all.
But it does not have to be this way. I swear to you it does not.
Listen. I feel your frustration. I really do. I see you as you are getting onto airplanes. Or as you are walking through the mall. Or waiting for a table at a restaurant. You are there and you have extra pounds that you do not need. It’s that simple.
Believe me, as a health writer and coach, I realize that if you could snap your fingers or wave a magic wand and be thinner right at this very moment, you would do so. You do not enjoy carrying around the extra weight. You know that others are watching and it makes you feel uncomfortable.
You know that the extra pounds are taking a toll on your heart, your bones, your joints, your nervous system, your glands, your skin, your lungs, your blood… I could go on and on because just about every part of you is resenting this extra weight.
But you continue to do the same things day in and day out. That’s why you don’t see any change. Or maybe you do see some change, but it is your weight going in the wrong direction.
I see you posting on Facebook that you are starting a diet tomorrow to lose ten pounds. Or that you are going to join the gym because none of your clothes fit any more. Or that you can’t fit comfortably in a seat on the airplane. Yeah, I see it all.
Let me tell you something my friend (and I can call you my friend because that’s what you are). None of the quick fixes work. You MUST trust me on this. There is no quick fix to lose your weight and to be healthy again. Sure you can lose ten pounds in a week on a crash diet or some whacked out eating program. I don’t recommend it. But you certainly can do it. The bad news is that it will not last. Again, please trust me.
I am going to fill you in on the only way to lose weight. I have told you this before but it is so important, I feel the need to emphasize this like crazy. Please read the following sentences:
The only way to lose weight is to eat less. And the best way to eat less is to simply control your portions.
That’s it. That’s all you need to do.
Put those words on your refrigerator. Say them every day.
Stop counting calories. Stop depriving yourself of certain foods. Stop it with the low carb diets. Stop it with the low fat diets. Stop it with the high protein diets. Or the low protein diets. Or the juice diets. Stop all of that crap!
Just eat less by cutting down on your portions.
If you are an average person in the U.S., you eat about twice as much as you probably need to. True. Just look at what they serve you in a restaurant. One meal will serve two or three people.
When my wife and I go out to eat, we split one meal between the two of us. And believe it or not, we oftentimes have leftovers even after doing so that we bring home. Waitresses hate us because they think we are cheap. After all, no one splits meals in a restaurant. It is not the macho thing to do. Sometimes I swear I think that many feel it is “very cool” to eat a lot of food. I mean, after all, the waiter or waitress makes you feel guilty if you don’t order appetizers, plenty of side dishes and dessert with your meal.
But the waiter or waitress does not come home with you and look at you standing there naked in the mirror noticing that things are not looking so pretty anymore. And the waiter or waitress is not paying your medical bills, are they?
Please forget about disappointing the waitresses. Just give them a good tip and they’ll stay off your back! And don’t give into social pressure when your friends ask you to eat more and more. I want you to be the one who looks in the mirror at yourself when you are completely naked and says “Wow, I look damn good!”
Eating less is not easy at first. It takes discipline and practice. Sure, there are times when you will feel hungry. Your body will tell you to keep shoveling food into it. That’s only because your body is used to it. Don’t give in.
It will take about six months for your body to reprogram itself. At that point, you will be eating the right amount of food. Looking at large plates of food will actually make you feel sick. When I see someone eating a three egg omelet with cheese and bacon and all kinds of other junk on their plates such as mounds of potatoes and multiple slices of toast, it makes me sad. You just don’t need it. If you are curious, an example of a perfect breakfast for me is one or two eggs, one slice of toast, a small glass of juice and perhaps a small yogurt. And I emphasize the word small. Normally portions are too large and I want you to start thinking small.
Please give this new way of eating a try. Less is better. Eat your meals but just eat less! And don’t let me hear the word diet anymore. This is not a diet that you are on. It’s a lifestyle.
Here’s to you being thinner!
As always David- an awesome post. It is a lifestyle, a good lifestyle and I so agree with you. I think about how I used to eat, 230lbs ago and now I wonder HOW did I do that?
Yes some people are just food pushers- we all have them in our families and friends. You know how often I get asked- “is that salad all you are going to eat” or “are you sure you had enough to eat”.. Smaller REGULARLY timed meals have made a much happier me.
Great post and I do agree with ALMOST everything in it. However, there are people who just plain, outright eat poorly and DO need to change WHAT they eat, rather than just eating smaller portions of what they are eating. I certainly don’t recommend ‘whacked out eating program’ (I love that!) and it absolutely is a matter of changing lifestyle, not just a temporary fix that most of the ‘diet gurus’ and diet book writers proliferate. Now, when I say that people must change what they are eating, I am not speaking flippantly. Changing food preferences and habits is an extremely profound and personal process. It affronts a person’s life on so many levels — their time schedule, their sense of ‘control’, their sense of freedom to choose, their eating-pleasure thresholds, their ‘pocket books’, and, of course, satiating their hunger. Normally, true nutritional needs is not on the list of factors predicating their food choice/habits, no matter how many times they ‘hear’ these messages from experts. The GOOD news is that, often, the changes that need to be made to transform a poor eater to a healthy eater are not as overwhelming and unmanageable as people think when a good, experienced dietitian/nutritionist (such as myself) works with a person. The key is to satisfy the needs of all of the above-mentioned ‘levels’ for that person while unifying these levels with a person’s true nutritional needs. The answer lies not in a book or with a certain ‘diet’ or TV program or website. it lies with finding an experienced, knowledgeable professional who really and truly cares for, dare I say, loves their patients/clients and wants them to have all the best that life has to offer.
Hi Dave! Thanks for this post! I have to tell you that I am finding myself getting fuller – FASTER. I am amazed at the portion sizes I used to eat, and can now push away my plate with it not being empty. (I grew up in the era of my mother not letting us leave the table until our plates were “clean”!)
I am still drinking my groothies for breakfast – not a diet, but a way of life for me because I am starting my day loaded with goodness!
Instead of sitting at my desk, I started running in place this week. Doing high knee kicks and I have my 5 pound weights there too! I appreciate YOU, your blogs and your motivation!