Apples tape measure.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
South Beach. Atkins. Scarsdale. Mediterranean. Belly Fat. Cabbage
Soup. Beverly Hills. Sugar Busters. Park Avenue. Raw Food. Fit for Life.
Slim for Life.
Sound familiar? These are the names of just a few of the
hundreds of diets that have been popularized over the years to help people lose
weight. It is often said that diets don’t work. In fact, diets do
Any diet will work -- but not for the long term. And that is the key to the
whole situation. If a food plan is a “diet” and not a way of life, it may well
help you shed the pounds as long as you stick to it, but over time it is
ultimately doomed to fail.
The secret, which is no secret at all, is to
adopt a healthy, well-balanced attitude toward food and, more importantly,
toward oneself. And for many, that is no easy feat.
Having been a yo-yo
dieter all my life, I have tried many of the fad diets over the years, and they
all worked – for a time.
As long as I stuck to them
But once I had lost the pounds, I reverted back to my old
eating habits, and back came the weight. Hence, the infernal yo-yo
At one point, after having gotten very sick from one of the
regimens, I vowed never to go on a diet again and began to eat in a sane,
selective way. I ate when I was hungry; I ate until I was full and not a bite
more; and I ate food that I really wanted, not everything offered on a plate
just because it was there.
And, without even trying, I began to lose a
lot of weight. It was great. But once I started to get slim and people began to
compliment me, a trigger went off in my mind and I subconsciously…
unconsciously… consciously began to rebuild that wall of excess
Sound familiar? So, as it has often been said, losing weight is
not about food at all but about one’s attitude toward oneself. I realized that
there is a big difference between saying “I don’t want to be fat” and “I want to
be slim.” In the first statement, there are two negative words – “don’t” and
“fat.” If you focus solely on those words, a diet will do the job in the short
term. But do you really want to be slim? Once you reach your goal, if the
positive affirmation “I want to be slim” has not been ingrained, there is
nowhere to go but up – on the scale.
Sounds crazy, I know. Who would not
want to be slim? Well, that’s where the real work begins. As long as you are on
a “diet,” you are working against your own natural appetite and inclinations and
are living within a set of restrictions.
How much fun is that and how
long can it last? The solution is to take a serious look inside, determine what
purpose the excess weight is serving and figure out what emotional need you are
using food to fulfill. Again, no easy feat. But as long as you don’t know why
you are overeating, you can only continue to do so.
An expert who was on
the Oprah show made a very insightful statement. When a woman in the audience
said that she was so used to eating all the time that she didn’t know when she
was hungry, the expert replied, “When you’re eating to satisfy hunger, you know
when your body is full. When you’re eating to feed an emotional need, it’s never
And Oprah herself once made a comment that was particularly
insightful and very revealing. She had lost a lot of weight but then, due to a
temporary thyroid problem, she had gained it all back. On one of her shows about
weight, she was giving a woman in the audience advice about losing
Realizing that she was sounding like a hypocrite, Oprah caught
herself and admitted, “I know what to do; I just don’t want to.”
that’s the secret. We all know what to do. It’s very simple: eat less and
exercise more. We just have to want to.