The Keep It Simple Diet. Podsnacks/Art of the Diet 172

Anyone who has maintained a significant weight loss for years gets asked variations of this question frequently: “What diet do you recommend? ”

This month's podcast is a riff on my most recent answer to a friend who asked.

Here's basically 10+ years of advice in three words: Keep It Simple.

 All I know is losing weight can happen with a variety of national as well as speciality programs, WW, Paleo, Keto, Noom, online programs, meeting programs,  but keeping the weight off is the real challenge.

We get tired of whatever program helped us lose the initial weight and fatigue sets in when contemplating learning a whole different program.  You don't want to spend lots of time figuring out new programs? Oh, I totally get that. So, here’s my Lucy5 cents.

Begin by adding a couple of behaviors to your daily routines.  

  1. Weigh yourself every day.  Non negotiable. Every day whether you want to or not and write it down.  Leave a notebook in the same room as the scale. “Awareness” is the initial goal not necessarily whether you have gained or lost.  Find out where you are at from one week to the next.  Take the pressure off to “lose” weight. Just find out what your body does week to week.

I suspect if you are asking this question, you already know what “foods” to avoid as much as possible and what foods to increase.  In fact, most folks who have dieted on a regular basis can give seminars on the topic.

  • 2. So, I would pick one “truth” about yourself with respect to food and implement that.  Sometimes, people implement diet regimes that eliminate entire food groups, like grains or sugars. I've certainly done that periodically. But, if you don’t want to give something totally up, just have one serving of it per day.

If sugar, just one drink. Or one cookie.  If bread, just bread at breakfast, or lunch, or snack.  Balance is the thing that has long term effects but it is hard to do with trigger foods so I have found allowing them in on daily basis is good psychologically but on a limited basis so you can achieve your goals.

A “small” example: I occasionally buy a small snack  bag of Cheez-Its- not a whole box.  I don’t mean buy a big box of snack portions, either!  One snack bag in the house at a time!  Eliminating them entirely only has a certain shelf life in terms of livability for most of us but I have found allowing them but in limited size works for me.  Sometimes, in the winter, I put trigger foods in garage and since I have to suit up with boots and coat to get them, I don’t go most of the time!!  It’s called “Hiding the Marshmallows!”  Out of access and sight makes for healthier choices.

So, my best counsel is if you are dreading the whole challenge of losing weight, don’t approach it as a whole new system, just add some simple tweaks of behavior to your daily behaviors.  In the long run, my will power runs out of gas but habits of behavior can prop me up.

3. And, most importantly, add a little kindness to yourself as you begin.  

Wanting to lose weight is generally embarked on because of some negativity, judgment, and finger pointing and exhaustion at the mere thought of “having” to do it.  None of that negative stuff helps you in the long run. Do you always invite “Debbie Downer” to your parties?  No, you don’t.  So, don’t indulge in the teeth grinding thoughts of the challenge.

A little compassion and kindness to yourself as you hide the marshmallows is all you need.

And, a sense of humor won't hurt.

Hide the Marshmallows. PODSNACKS/Art of the Diet 171

Will Power is tossed around as if an infinite natural resource that one just needs to tap into in order to achieve our goals.  After ten years of weight maintenance, my will power natural resource seems all tapped out from facing other challenges .

But, the good news is this month I focus on an article by Dr. Jerome Groopman in The New Yorker, who takes a look at what science can tell us about will power.  In essence? “ We achieve situational control, paradoxically, not through will power but by finding ways to take will power out of the equation.” You can listen below.

In other words, if you hide the marshmallows you are less likely to eat them. Game on.

Here is the article by Dr. Jerome Groopman from an issue of The New Yorker.https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/10/28/can-brain-science-help-us-break-bad-habits

Available in my Etsy shop just in case you think I've mellowed. Coasters for the “I'm Mad as Hell” people. We know who we are.

Art of the Diet is really The Art of War. PODSNACKS Art of the Diet 170

Tips from a military general from 2000 years ago. I'm tired of all this new stuff.

www.artofthediet.com

I named this podcast “Art of the Diet” five years ago because maintaining a significant weight loss for years is not a matter of facts and science, it is an art.  And, by art, I mean that in the traditional sense, as in art of cooking or art of fly fishing:  The art of the diet needs a skillful plan in order to succeed.  It doesn’t have to be the latest trend or food group.  It just needs a skillful plan.  I looked at a book, The Art of War, attributed to a military general from the late 6th century BC!  So, I am going in the way, way back machine to see if there is some wisdom for my art of the diet in 2019. And, you know what?  There is.  A striking similarity, in fact, between waging war in the late 6th Century BC and maintaining a significant weight loss in 2019.    Honestly, I've grown weary of all of modern science on this topic. And, PS, they teach these strategies in military colleges in 2019. Listen below.

Here's my takeway on Two Chapters: 1) Develop a plan and ask yourself if you really want to execute the plan because if you deviate consistently from the plan, bad s*** happens. 2) Set up some decisive “wins” quickly. In diet terms, make the daily goal “doable”. 3) I don't believe they had “sticky” notes in the 6th century BC, but putting reminders on your available wall space or devices and tablets of the daily or weekly goal helps. PAY ATTENTION.

And don't forget! Creativity really really IS the best health plan. Recently, I came across a letter my mother had written at the age of 96 to a photo of my Dad (dead 11 years at the time) and she signed it with x's and o's. It is the type of artifact that stops you in your tracks and you could descend down the rabbit hole of loss very quickly. Her handwriting at this stage was weakened and she thought the photo was actually my Dad but for some reason they just couldn't speak to one another. So, while going down the rabbit hole, I thought, “Wait, why not imbue those x's and o's with some of her youthful vitality and make some fabric. So, I took up my watercolor brush and some beloved colors and did just that. I just ordered some dishtowels! Now, when I look at it, I'll smile and avoid a descent into that Black Hole! Here's the design and some home decor products. My store on other designs is here. The first design you'll see is a collage of photos of asphalt markings in the industrial park near my house where I walked off my initial weight loss 10 years ago.

Here is the link to James Corden's response to Bill Maher.