Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Emancipation Proclamation and a Simple Slice of Bread

Last time we talked about time. And how time is now on your side.
Did you get it? Do you believe it? I guarantee you–this is REAL.
Don't believe me?

Let me refresh your memory:
You're gonna start the 6 week plan in 6 days or 6 hours or whatever (1 year from now??) and you're gonna wear that bikini. And it never happens. Why? Because that kind of thinking is just wrong, wrong, wrong! Even if you actually do start your plan on schedule, you only stay on it a week and in that week you can't even take off all the extra pounds you gained from the Mardi Gras-style holiday you had before you went on the diet!!!

Let me buttress (!) my point with some famous quotes from history:

A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. –Lao-tzu

Grasshopper, there is only today. –Master Po (loosely quoted)

There is no try, there is only do. –Yoda (even more loosely quoted)

Stop the Insanity! –Susan Powter (this seemed like a good time to throw that one in)

Have I made my point? Ok, try this: If you are not sure how to proceed, reach deep within yourself and think about normalcy. What is it like not to be on a diet, and at the same time, not stuffing yourself?

Without being too ZEN about this,

Consider the Slice of Bread

Bread has always been the nemesis of dieters. To eat of it or not, that is the proverbial question.
Let's break it down into three simple choices that illuminate your mental state and dictate whether or not you will ever be thin. Let this be your litmus test:

No bread This is a fad diet, and one you will never stick to. When you become an enlightened master you may make the choice to give up all processed foods, but right now you are just not there. You need to master moderation first and this is not the way to do it.

The 1-slice sandwich This is a diet. How long are you going to try to make a sandwich with one slice of bread? (What's the sound of one hand clapping? If a dieter falls in the forest, does anyone hear him/her?)

2 slices of bread Ahhh. Now you're on to something. This is normal: A sandwich on two slices of bread, of moderate size. Eat, enjoy, and leave a few bites of bread on the plate for Miss Manners.

3 or 4 slices of bread at one sitting Out of Control. This can only be considered piggish.

You're gonna get this. Hang in there if you don't. It takes time to undo all the "diet" nonsense that has been drummed into your head. Think about it: Were people designed to always be on a "diet?" Of course not. If you want to be normal weight, you have to eat like a normal person. (You get to eat like a normal person!) Every day. For the rest of your life.

Abraham Lincoln wanted people to be free. And I couldn't agree more.
People should be free from tyranny of all kinds–especially diets!
So, how do you get free? Don't go on diets anymore.

Freedom feels good.

The Problem of Time

Time marches on. And that's a good thing. But not the way you think.

When you are planning your next diet, you always think about a time in the future. You find a diet that says "lose 20 pounds in 6 weeks" and you get all fired up. You mark the date on your calendar: 6 weeks from, say, this Monday (that's a good day to start a diet) and you write down your new, lighter weight on the calendar with glee.

Sound familiar?

The problem with this method is, it never works! Why? Because today and every day until Monday you are eating like a pig. You are trying to stuff as much as you can in before the big "deadline." And what you are missing is, today is all you have. I'll repeat that:


Be fat today and you are fat forever.
Be thin today and you will be thin forever.

To loosely quote Forrest Gump: Thin is as thin does.
Because forever is just a bunch of todays all strung together.
What you have just done with your "diet" is sully your soul, stretch out your stomach and entrench yourself ever deeper into "fatness." You're all bloated and you don't feel good about yourself. You feel like a failure. And that is a big fat mistake because you'll never lose weight until you feel good about yourself!

So. Take a deep breath. Stop planning to be thin at some time in the future, and then in the present doing all sorts of things to sabotage your dream. Just for today, decide what you can do to be healthy; to eat something delicious that is good for you, to feel good about yourself. Live today like it is the only day you have to be a thin person.

Because it is.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Stuff about Stuff

I've been eating all day. Some days it seems like I eat a lot. And I don't gain weight.


First of all, because I'm not stuffing myself the way I did when I was a binge eater. I'm not eating a whole tray of supermarket chocolate chip cookies or a whole container of ice cream. I EAT REAL FOOD. The stuff with the "built-in shut-off switch." Food without preservatives. Food that truly satisfies.
Remember the stuff you learned how to make in "home ec" class? That stuff your mom or grandma used to make for you that didn't come out of a wrapper? What about that green leafy stuff getting gooey in the bottom drawer of the fridge? (P.S. Please don't let veggies get like that! When they do, of course you don't want to eat them! Are you deliberately sabotaging your plans to be thin? If it's it an out of sight, out of mind thing, maybe it's time to make a little spot in the fridge right at eye-level for your precious veggies. You are gonna need them to be thin!) To continue: God did not put food on this earth to beguile or bedevil you. Mystical words, but they point to one thing: food is not the "enemy." He put it here for you to enjoy. And real food is the only food you are really going to be able to enjoy because you will instinctively know when to stop eating it.

Second of all, we need to re-define the verb "to stuff" to mean eating until your hunger is truly satisfied, not eating yourself into oblivion; eating the amounts and the foods that your body is craving as fuel, not eating something you saw on a food commercial on T.V. Remember back several posts when we talked about the "rules" for our "diet." (There really weren't any so we had to make some up. Just kidding: There are two important rules you should go back and review. Here they are: 1-Never eat unless you are hungry. 2-Never eat before going to bed.) The rules, though few, are very important and we need to take them seriously.

Can we add a "Rule #3?" Yes, let's. Don't eat until you are going to explode, but neither should you leave the table hungry. In other words, you should never be uncomfortable. To sum up, "When you are full, stop eating."

So Simple, So Beautiful. Six words that will change your life.

So eat real food. Enjoy it. And when you are done, stop.

And by the way, You're Lookin' Good!!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

To Exercise or Not to Exercise, that is the Question

Do you hate to exercise?
So do I.
If you don't like to exercise, then don't!  I mean it! No one is going to make you exercise!


Here is what I found out about exercise:
(Gee, another revelation!)

I had been eating an excellent diet for some time. You know, no crap! I had lost some weight, but it was coming  off very slowly.
This was not upsetting to me, because I never try to lose weight. I do not go on diets anymore. I don't weigh myself.  And I don't count calories. My mission was, and is, to be good to myself and eat healthy. And in the course of eating healthy, you will always lose weight and "equalize," or get to the best weight for you. So, I said to myself in a philosophical sort of way, "Wow.  I'm hardly eating anything, but I'm not losing weight. I'm just sort of maintaining. Hmmm......  I wonder why?"
Then, one day one of our cars broke down and I started walking to work and back, fifteen minutes each way.  

You guessed it!

BINGO!  Instant weight loss! I started looking thinner within a week. And the weight kept coming off!

So, I'm not telling you that you have to exercise. I'm just telling you that if you are already eating right and you add this one teensy weensy thing--and we are not talking a lot--you'll be on a Roller Coaster Ride to Thin. Wouldn't that be a nice change from the ride you're on?

P.S.  A funny thing happens when you start to exercise. You start to want to. Because it makes you feel good. And it makes you look good. 

So what are you waiting for?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"F" is for Fiber

After reading Sugar Blues by William Duffy, I firmly believed that Twinkies were bad for you because they were loaded with sugar.  Then, after I started to get headaches from eating preservatives (with a 48 hour time lag—my husband figured that one out for me!), I said, "Of course!  Twinkies are loaded with preservatives!  The preservatives are what make them so bad for you!"  Seems like a no-brainer.  Then I thought, calories.  Too many calories.  I don't have enough room in my diet for those calories.  But I don't count calories any more...  
Next came the fake fat scare (Bans have begun in a lot of places here and abroad) and my husband said, "No more trans fat in the house!"  So, I decided, all that hydrogenated glop that passes undigested through your digestive track, possibly lodging in your arteries and giving you a heart attack, that's definitely the worst thing about Twinkies!  

Get this, I was wrong again!  But, I was close:

The clue was in something I heard a long time ago from a health food addict. This person called all junk food, "Fiberless fast food."  I didn't really understand the implications of that at the time, but, in retrospect, I believe they hit the nail on the head.

First of all, what is fiber?  It's anything bulky (think fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, etc.) that helps push food through your digestive tract.  (Remember the last lesson on digestion and elimination?  How's that gonna happen if nothing is moving?  And how's it gonna move if it's like goo?  [Try the "Twinkie in the glass of water" experiment.]) 
So you see, I'm not pushing health food.  And I'm not pushing "diet" food (iceberg lettuce and celery, yuck!)  I'm pushing the, well, "pushing" foods.  I'm just saying, if you want to be healthy and lose weight, fiber is your friend. 
So, go ahead and eat that Twinkie if you really want to.  
Just make sure you roll it in sesame seeds first.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"D" is for Digestion, "E" is for Elimination

OK.  That is so gross!  TMI!  Getting too real!
Well, you're right!  It is gross.  That's why no one ever talks about the big "E" and losing weight.  Except one lady, and I respect her.  Now.

I was in a Weight Watchers meeting in 1973 and the leader shared about how excited she was when she had a BM, because she knew that that was lost pounds goin' down.  I was shocked at the time.  But now I say "Bravo!"  And you should, too.  But my reasoning gets more, well, nutritional.  Unless you live in a box, you've probably heard about colonics, internal cleansing, laxatives, herbal teas and potions to get the inside clean.  In fact, food combining is also called "hygiene."  It gets you thinking that if you feel sluggish and irritable, if your skin looks bad and you just feel bad in general, could it be that all that crap you are eating is causing it?  That's not so far-fetched, is it?

To start off, good digestion is the key to good elimination.  Basically:  don't mix a bunch of crazy stuff together in your stomach, and then expect good health, good digestion or weight loss.  It doesn't work that way.  Simple foods in simple combinations will really help to put you on the road to weight loss.  Why not start with three foods at a meal at a time.  These are the keys for you.  Don't over-tax your already over-taxed system.  (Those binges are hell on your body!)  Just relax.  Take it easy.  Here's your current mission, should you choose to accept it:  Next time you go to a pot-luck (that dreaded diet-buster),  just relax and take a few minutes to "scope it out."  See what is available.  See what looks really good.  Then make your choices and eat only those foods.  Have seconds if you like.  But only eat those three foods that you have chosen.  You'll be amazed at how much better you feel.  You won't stagger away from the buffet all bloated and gross.  You'll feel more in control and you'll feel better about yourself.  Plus you'll get to watch all those other people stressing about what else to pollute themselves with.

Here are a few pointers for that potluck that I have gleaned from food combining teachings:
1)  Fruit is not dessert.  
And it's not dinner.  I'm gonna call it a snack.  So if you must eat fruit at a potluck, eat it first.  According to the food combiners, fruit is hard to digest in combination with other foods, but easy to digest on its own.  (There go your French desserts of cheese and fruit!)  In fact, when eaten alone, fruit passes very quickly through the digestive system, whereas meat takes a long time.  You don't want the fruit, which is digested in a few hours, getting mixed in with meat and staying in your stomach for 12.  That's called bad digestion.

2) Don't load up on bread.  
I know you've been told that bread has fiber, but even whole grain bread is a processed food.  Bread will plug you up.  (Remember rolling it in little balls and throwing it at the wall?)  Load up on vegetables, cooked and raw.  Vegetables have lots of vitamins and beneficial bulk that helps elimination.  Double whammy!

3)Don't eat dessert right after a meal. 
(Again, there go the French desserts of fruit and cheese.)  This may sound counter-intuitive, but it makes sense when you think about everything we have just talked about.  Eating dessert after a meal is wrong on so many levels.  First, you're not hungry! (Remember the rule about only eating when you are hungry?)  The digestive fires that signal you to eat are not burning any more.  Your body is no longer crying out for food, it's crying out for you to stop!  Listen to your body!  Second, you've already eaten your three foods!  If you put dessert on top of them it will be a real mess in your stomach!  Lastly, as you know, sugar is not doing you any good.  Lose the sugar and lose weight.
So, what to do if you really want that dessert?
My recommendation, and it has worked really well for me, is go ahead and eat an occasional dessert, just not right after dinner.  How about mid-afternoon, or mid-morning?  Or later in the evening.  In defense of the French, they really linger over a meal, so by the time they get to the dessert, it's hours later and their dinner is at least partially digested.  Americans, on the other hand, don't linger over dinner, and they don't wait to eat dessert.  Time to start some new, healthier habits.

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Sticky Wicket: The Problem with Sugar

It's time to talk about sugar.  
I've heard some overweight women say, "I've never had a problem with sugar, but give me a loaf of garlic bread and I can't resist" or some such nonsense.  I think that is pure subterfuge, which means, when we are addicted we try to divert attention away from our addiction.  I know this.
So.  Let's get real.
I think if we do, we will admit that most of us have a sugar problem.  But why?  Because it's addictive.  (Think "white powder.")
If you really enjoy eating refined white sugar now and then, and you are really able to control yourself, go ahead (you're the boss), but your body is not going to get any nutrients from it.  (To quote the apostle Paul, "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable" 1 Corinthians 10:23 :))  And sugar frequently comes in a lethal mix with trans fat and chemicals.  What it comes down to is this:  You want to be thin and you want to be healthy.  
So try this experiment.  
Go without sugar for one day.  Just 24 hours.  By the next day you will be amazed how sweet everything tastes without it.  And when you eat it, it will taste too sweet.  It will have lost its hold on you.

This is your mission.  Should you choose to accept it.

Oh, by the way, your tummy will go away, and you'll start sculpting your waist.  But you think I'm kidding...