Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Secret to Weight Loss

I don't mind telling you that I've lost some weight recently. As a matter of fact, I've lost about 14 pounds in 8 weeks. Not only have my friends started to notice, but casual acquaintenances are commenting. The conversation usually goes like this:

"Have you lost weight?"
"Why yes, thank you for noticing."
(quickly) "Not that you were overweight before..."
"Yes, and thank you for that as well."

Hey, I take my compliments where I can get them.

A friend of mine asked me how I did it. He made it sound like it was a great secret, privy only to a select few who have paid $200 to the Church of Weightlossology. "Well," I said, looking as sincere as I could, "I tried something new. I started eating less and exercising more."

It's amazing I have any friends left at all. Now you see why I grab all the compliments that I can.

However, his point is well taken. Weight loss is not easy. If it were, Jenny Craig would be out of business. So, I thought about the question, and I am now going to reveal the secret to weight loss.

Before I do, I should warn you that I am not going to reveal any step-by-step methodology on how to count Weight Watchers points, track simple carbs, lift weights, walk 1,000 steps every day, or only eat foods that begin with the letter 'Q.' There are countless books, Websites, and counselors out there that are more than happy to take your dollar and give you a plan of action complete with color brochures, Excel charts, and a 1-800 hotline. What I am going to tell you is the SECRET part.

SECRET PART #1. Do not go it alone.

For the second year in a row, my workplace has sponsored a Biggest Loser competition. Not too surprisingly, this program has been VERY popular. I signed up this year as well as last year.

The basic idea is that you form teams, and the team (not individual) with the greatest weight loss wins. In other words, if you decide to go on an eating binge, you don't only get dirty looks from the person in the mirror, you get dirty looks from your teammates as well. Public humiliation is powerful motivator.

Actually, my team this year is much more gung ho than my team last year. We are developing strategies, giving each other advice, and cheering each other on. We are trying to create a supportive environment to encourage each other to hit our target weight. We have plenty of time for dirty looks closer to the end of the contest.

SECRET PART#2: Assume that you have no will power.

I am convinced that most diets fail because they rely on the dieter to actively make good choices on the fly. THIS WILL NOT WORK. If you have a bag of Doritos and a bag of carrots in your desk, you will always go for the Doritos. Always, always, always. The only hope that you have is to REMOVE THE STINKIN' DORITOS FROM YOUR DESK.

In other words, to be successful, you need to set up your lifestyle so that you don't have to make hard choices. I often eat oatmeal for breakfast because it is easy to make and it has only 2 Weight Watchers points per 1/2 cup dry. I keep 1 cup snack bags of Honey Nut Cheerios in my desk drawer because they give me a satisfying 2-point snack in the middle of the day. To be serious about losing weight, you need to figure out how you plan to thwart your best attempts and stop yourself early on...not midstream. I KNOW that I have no will power. So, I don't even try to tempt myself.

If your office brings in donuts on Friday afternoons (as one of my previous jobs did), you may need to take drastic action. Duct tape may be required.

SECRET PART #3: Make it easy to get exercise.

I go to Krav Maga class 2 to 3 times per week. I have worked out my schedule so that I can stop off there on my way home from work. I also periodically take a walk at lunchtime. I have mapped out a 1-mile circuit from my office. Not only do I get exercise, but I also get to take a 25-minute stress break during lunch.
This is a brilliant way for ME to get exercise. However, it might not work for YOU. You will have to figure out your own way to get exercise. However, whatever you do, it is best if you remember SECRET PARTS #1 and #2. In other words, you need to find people to make you get exercise, and you need to make it as easy as possible. If you have a choice of taking a walk or eating a bag of Doritos...well, you get the idea.

So, that's it. That's my secret. Oh, sure...there is other stuff to worry about like nutrition and weekly weigh-ins and drinking plenty of water and strength training vs. cardio training. But none of that works without the secret parts.

Now, if you will excuse me, I'm going to go preen in front of the mirror. And maybe I'll even compliment myself. I'm not proud.

1 comment:

  1. Minnie Driver once gained weight for a role in a movie, and then lost it. It made the news; well, she was invited onto The View, anyway. When they asked her big secret, she succinctly replied "Eat less. Move more."

    It's not rocket science, and it is nice to be reminded of that every once in a while. Well done, Zev!