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Weight Watchers, burdened (pun intended) by their name, realized that people have become weary of dieting. We all have. The American public, while most of us fully recognize that we are on, on average, at best, chubby, and at worst, outright dangerously obese, are damned sick and tired of “diets.”

Can anyone blame us?

From the Feds and their patently false and misleading food pyramid, long shown to benefit farmers but not our waistlines, to the $60 billion dollar diet industry and $84 billion health and fitness industry and $122 billion supplement industry, we are weary.

Part of this is that we are tired of being harangued about something we know. We’re the ones who pull on the too-tight jeans, button the straining shirts, leave our polos untucked. We buy the Lycra pants that show off our cellulite and unfortunately, reveal our butt cracks in Walmart.


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Stop Telling Me What to Eat

We’re tired of being told what to eat, how to eat and when to eat it. We’re tired of ab minimizers that don’t work, and expensive exercise machines that end up as indoor laundry systems for our Jockeys.

As a one time-fatty and survivor of the obesity yo-yo cycle, I’ve learned something that many people haven’t as yet. Those who know my success story- and it’s only that because I really really wanted to overhaul my fat rear and change my life so I did- want to know what pill I took, what diet plan I went on, what program (as in Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, drank more water, etc.)

None of the above.

Those of us who are successful, and after happily sending away my nearly 80 lbs to the far edges of the Universe where someone else picked them up (I didn’t lose them, thank you, as yo yo dieters find out, we find what we lose, like keys and wallets) have a secret.

I would submit that many don’t really even know what it is that they’ve done. They may give credit to this or that pill or program, and most certainly if they’re being paid lots of money to shill for someone they’ll say so. However successfully transforming our bodies has far less to do with diet per se than asking a few simple questions:

What does my body need for fuel? (as opposed to pleasure, which is a different set of questions)

What am I willing to do to work my body, work that I genuinely enjoy and will consistently do every day for at least 30–60 minutes? (My program is up to three hours but I am certifiably insane, and I admit it.)

How much am I willing to understand my body, my urges to eat? (Urges which often have nothing whatsoever to do with hunger, but often a dissipation of anxiety or pain, which is another set of highly complex, but important, life questions).

How willing am I to make a study of this insanely well-designed, incredibly efficient, wondrously-imagined vehicle that loves to be healthy, well-fed and exercised?

You’re Not a Model-T

This last question is really important. Because you were born with a year, make, model, color scheme, chemical setup, a unique set of idiosyncratic tendencies, needs and preferences. Each of us is a wholly different universe. That’s why what worked for me most emphatically will NOT work for you. And vice versa. That’s the beauty and the damnation of it. Taking care of the vehicle is hard work.

But the payoff is profound.

If you, like I, have already been obese, the reality is that we are likely to be damned to a lifetime of reduced caloric intake and increased activity for the rest of our lives because we committed the sin of getting fat in the first place (The Secret Life of Fat, Dr. Sylvia Tara). However, I’ve been 125 lbs, give or take five, since 1987. It’s doable. Others have done it as well.

And I most emphatically do not diet. Never will. I chow down, but what I eat fits my energy level, my exercise level and my age bracket. NO junk food, minimal sugar, mostly plants. But that’s me. That food discipline is not going to work for everyone. Nor should it. Personal preferences, your unique metabolism, your own remarkable DNA will determine what works better for you.

As the old English language nursery rhyme went:

Jack Sprat could eat no fat.

His wife could eat no lean.

And so between the two of them,

They licked the platter clean.

I know the vehicle. And I love living in it. As a result, it takes damned good care of me. For example, at nearly 65, my body heals far more swiftly now than it did when I was a heavy 32. It loves me back.

Just quit DIETING

So will yours, when you quit dieting.

Not everyone needs eight hours of sleep. Not everyone needs to eat red meat. Not everyone should be a vegan. Not everyone needs to do cardio every day.

What does your vehicle need? Are you a Porsche? A Mac Truck? or a 1960 VW bug?

You are, in fact, the real expert. Your doctor frankly doesn’t have a clue about how to feed you, not with an average of 19 hours of nutrition training in their repertoire. Food is your biggest friend.

Or enemy.

At best, folks can give you guidelines.

Two things do tend to be universal for us all, however: Dump the sugar. Move more. Do those two things, likely the vehicle’s performance will improve. The fine-tuning is up to us.

The owner’s manual is right there. Start reading. Stop dieting. It’s a whole lot more fun.

And it works.