I think Mark Twain’s words on quitting smoking translate perfectly to the way people handle losing weight. Most people keep doing it over and over. Yo yo dieting. Despite all the words and books written and DVDs made on weight loss and exercise, more than half of us are overweight and nearly a third of us are outright obese.
I think I know why.
I have been writing this blog more than five years now and in the course of it I have read thousands of pages on losing weight. Every day it’s the same, take off pounds fast, eat these fat burning foods. Burn those inches off your waist with these movements. And on.
In the past five years, I have learned that the battle of the bulge starts in the brain. As above, so below. To succeed at losing weight, you need to decide that you currently have some unhealthy habits and you are going to end them. Those extra pounds are a result of the unhealthy habits. But that is just the beginning. Page one…
The magic secret to losing weight and keeping it off is very simple. Not easy at first, but simple. You need to understand that losing weight is the beginning, not the end. You don’t take off those five, 10 or 15 pounds you are carrying and then your problems are solved. When you get those pounds off, you don’t quit, breathe a sigh of relief and go back to your old unhealthy ways. You don’t celebrate by going out and eating a pizza.
One of the courses I have taken since retiring is “Lifelong Health: Achieving Optimum Well-Being at any Age” The instructor is Dr. Anthony Goodman. There are many wonderful lessons in it and if you have the time and inclination, I recommend you check it out at The Great Courses. I think the most important concept I got from that course was the origin of the word diet. Dr. Goodman points out that the word diet comes from the Greek diaita – which means a manner of living or a way of life.
So, if you decide to go on a diet to lose weight, go on that kind of a diet. Change your manner of living, in particular how you relate to food and exercise.
If you go on that kind of diet, you are on the right track. Pay attention to what, and especially, how much you eat. Make sure you get your exercise as close to daily as is humanly possible. And realize that is the manner in which you will live going forward. You will not slip back into your old, careless unhealthy habits that allowed you to pack on those extra pounds in the first place. You won’t be a Mark Twain type of dieter.
Eat less; move more; live longer. Simple, but not easy, at first. I have been doing it for five years now and I think it has actually become easy because it is the way of my life. My weight has stayed in the 150 pound area since I first lost the pounds writing this blog and I haven’t put it back. You can do the same.