Archive for January, 2009

Do not — DO NOT — deprive yourself

January 30, 2009

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In Woody Allen’s very  funny movie Sleeper (1973), he plays a health food store owner who travels to the future and discovers everything that was bad for you (smoking, fast food) is now good for you. I have often wondered whether, in such circumstances, I would change my long-standing eating preferences (which now happen to be “healthy”) so that I would eat heavy desserts, creamy sauces, sweets, McDonalds food, etc.  Now I dislike such foods, but if it turned out they were good for me, would I learn to like them?  The answer is, probably yes.

Over the last two decades, I have absorbed the culture of healthy eating to the extent that I PREFER to eat this way.  I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that I have brainwashed myself.  Which is a good thing.  There is ample and growing evidence that we can control our likes and dislikes to a great extent (it takes time and practice).

What I know does NOT work for me or many other people is to change the way I eat just to be “good” or “healthy.”  If I do that, I feel deprived, and will get angry, resentful, and ultimately go back to eating what I like.

The same is true for exercise; do it because you want to, not because you “have to.”   You will be happier, and healthier.  What’s the point of being healthy if you’re not happy?

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Overeating leads to — more overeating

January 17, 2009

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Several lines of research describe mechanisms in our bodies that cause a vicious cycle, so that when we overeat we are much more likely to continue to overeat. These mechanisms involve our biological clock, insulin metabolism, and nerve endings in the stomach.  Even drinking too much water with a meal (especially ice water) can  accelerate the problem.  For more details, see this NPR story.

If you want to do only one thing to counteract your tendency to overeat, simply keep a journal and write down everything you put in your mouth.   Food diaries or journals have been shown again and again to be effective tools in weight management.  See these sites for more on food diaries (here and here).

For more information on avoiding overeating, see here.

Don’t fall for the diet Ponzi scheme

January 6, 2009

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I seldom use this blog to rant, but now is an exception. If cursing offends you, stop reading now.

I have before me the January 12 “special double issue” of People magazine, and it reminds me of the Madoff Ponzi racket that is shocking the world. What really pisses me off is all the over-hyped bullshit this rag (and many others) is using to sell magazines and dumb products to a gullible and even desperate population.  Don’t buy into this ripoff scheme.

Featuring people who have lost hundreds of pounds by going on severe deprivation programs is not even close to honest reporting.  The case-examples in the magazine went from the worst possible eating behaviors to the most extreme “dieting” behaviors, and that does not work for the overwhelming majority of ordinary people. It is no coincidence this kind of trash appears every January, when people are still hung over and reeling with guilt and shame for their lack of discipline in December.  Now, we are told, it is time to reverse course and shape up, at least until March. By then, the guilt will have been atoned for by a few weeks of exercise and food deprivation, and life will return to normal, so that by next December/January the overindulging/repenting cycle can begin anew.

Is there an alternative?  Yes, Yes, and Yes again!  Read the posts on this  blog, for example (starting here), and go to my website and read excerpts from (and reviews of) Weight Management for Your Life.  If you are serious about taking control of your own life, email me (wmfyl@mindspring.com) and I will mail you a free copy of the book (just mention this blog and give me a mailing address).  But hurry, I will only do this for the first 5 people I hear from.  Taking this action is one small way I am dealing with my anger.

Looking your best in 2009

January 1, 2009

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For my first post in 2009, I am passing along to you a sure-fire 9-step program to help you lose weight and/or accept yourself. It is straight from the January 5 issue of The New Yorker (by Amy Ozols):

People say that obesity is an epidemic in America, but I’m determined not to become part of the problem. That’s why I’ve spent years perfecting the secret to a trim and attractive physique. My foolproof system involves just nine easy steps.

Step 1: Avoid what psychologists refer to as “emotional eating.” This is hard, because many people have a tendency to experience emotions. To solve this problem, consume increasing dosages of psychotropic medications until you cease to feel emotions of any kind.

Step 2: Visualize yourself as a thin person. This is very important, because the body often takes its signals from the brain. Each time you take a bite of food, imagine that you are a thin person taking a bite of food, chewing the food, then spitting the food into a napkin, then tucking the napkin into your backpack or purse. After you’re done visualizing these things, start doing them.

Step 3: Get rid of your “fat clothes.” Keeping your closet stocked with unflattering garments will only distract you from your quest for a slender body. To complete this step, shred or burn everything in your closet, including any hangers or shelving that a fat person may have touched. Refrain from donating anything to charity, as this could cause underprivileged people to become obese, which would be unsavory and possibly even illegal.

Step 4: Refrain from consuming food.

Step 5: Surround yourself with thin people. This will naturally encourage you to emulate their healthy habits. Weigh your friends on a regular basis, then weigh yourself. Do you have a friend who weighs less than you? If so, consider gastric bypass surgery.

Step 6: Drink plenty of water. As you’ve probably heard, water functions as a natural lubricant in the body, flushing toxins and fat cells from the digestive tract. Water is also a delicious replacement for higher-fat liquids, such as milk. Try pouring water on your cereal or in your coffee. If you’re a baby, try pouring water into your mother’s breasts.

Step 7: Buy a pet. Having a pet will force you to take walks, which are a form of exercise. This is true unless you make the mistake that I made, which was buying an iguana. Iguanas walk very slowly and smell strongly of turds. I really cannot dissuade you strongly enough from buying an iguana.

Step 8: Vigorous sexual intercourse burns up to two hundred calories per hour. Therefore, if you are not currently promiscuous, it is essential that you begin “boning” immediately. Start by having sex with every person you know. Then have sex with numerous people you have never met. Continue doing this until you are thin.

Step 9: Self-confidence is the most attractive trait a person can have. For this reason, strive to love yourself and accept yourself exactly as you are. This will be difficult if you are overweight, on account of your loathsome physical appearance and compromised value system, but do your best. And, if the going gets tough, remind yourself: every person is beautiful on the inside, provided that they are also extremely attractive on the outside.