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The Promise Diet™ -- a Radical Approach to Permanent Weight Loss

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October 08, 2005

The Promise Diet

On October 23, 2002, after much internal debate, I drank a bottle of Pepsi, cut the label up to make a card, and with that card made a promise to my daughter for her 6th birthday that I would never drink pop again.

That wasn't as bad as I had expected it to be, so on March 26, 2003, after more internal debate, at a birthday celebration at McDonalds with my family, I ate a super-sized order of french fries and then promised my two-year-old that I would never eat french fries or onion rings or fried potato chips or Fritos or Doritos or other fried chips, ever again.

I didn't know it then, but these promises would lead to what I now call the Promise Diet(TM). Through a series of food promises over two years -- what I now call PUBIMO Promises(TM) -- I've learned how to short-circuit the need for discipline and I've snapped the tyranny of food's rule over me. As a result I now weigh 115 pounds less than my all-time high and I'm still losing, with only 25 pounds left to achieve my personal goal. I continue to love and enjoy food; these promises have won me victory, not made me miserable. And I've realized that the Promise Diet is an approach to permanent weight loss that can benefit the country's 60 million obese adults as well as the additional 240 million obese adults around the world.

October 09, 2005

The eating promises I've made

Promising away my vices one at a time...

  • October 23, 2002 -- I will never drink pop again (Pepsi, Coke, Diet Coke, etc.).
  • March 26, 2003 -- I will never eat french fries or fried potato chips again (or onion rings or Fritos or Doritos other other fried chips).

The biggest two were these first two (and the most important one you'll read about below), as pop and french fries were a very fundamental, core part of my life. Some phases of my life it was Diet Coke, others it was Pepsi, always it was french fries, particularly McDonalds'. Please don't read my casual, reporter-style writing and think any of this was easy.

With these two promises successfully under my belt I had some momentum going...

  • Late spring, 2003 -- I will never drink chocolate milk made with Quik again.

    (This was an occasional nightly ritual that had been becoming more frequent. It's the only promise that I made on a whim, with me telling my wife, "If you go get me a big glass of Quik, I promise I'll never have it again." Scratch another vice off the list.)
  • August 13, 2003 -- I will never eat pre-packaged sweet things that come in a wrapper again.

    (This targeted candy bars and honey buns in particular, especially the ones offered in a vending machine at work. :)

Please realize that none of this has to do with discipline. No discipline was involved in MAKING any of these promises. It was my lack of discipline, my lack of being able to be moderate in these areas, that led to me having to make the promises. And once a particular promise was made, it was no longer an issue of discipline: I just couldn't eat the stuff any more, I had no choice, and thus discipline wasn't an issue. To me discipline involves the wrestle of choice. I short-circuited the need for discipline by removing the choice.

Just to answer a question that I've perhaps raised in your mind: I have never broken any of these promises. (But I still lack discipline!)

I was still grossly obese

In the spring of 2004 I was still quite obese, even after having made these promises. Since making my first promise I had lost surprisingly little weight compared to the "sacrifices" I had made. (Although I'm sure I was much healthier nevertheless.)

And while you wouldn't recognize the dates above, suffice it to say that my son would read them and think, "Where was my promise?"

The one promise that caused the tipping point and the weight to start falling off

Around this time I read a book that was to have fundamental impact on my life, Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy by Harvard's Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health's Department of Nutrition. I had heard for years that I should be eating vegetables, fiber, and the like, and avoiding sweets and fats and the like, but for the first time I read an explanation as to why those things are true based on science: what effect food has on your body, and how studies show that people who eat in particular ways tend to be a good bit healthier.

For the first time, eating "right" made sense.

In other posts I'm going to summarize this important book -- you can also see the website they've set up. Here's the quick list, taken directly from the book's introduction:

  • Watch your weight.
  • Eat fewer bad fats and more good fats.
  • Eat fewer refined-grain carbohydrates and more whole-grain carbohydrates.
  • Choose healthier sources of proteins.
  • Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, but hold the potatoes.
  • Use alcohol in moderation.
  • Take a multivitamin for insurance.

As I contemplated my food vices and my next promise heading up to my son's birthday, I began to realize that, based on my past experience, promising away "fried chicken" or "pizza" or "ice cream" or any particular food wouldn't bring me the weight loss that I really needed. My real problem was that I was eating too much (and secondarily that I was eating too much junk).

It became clear to me that the time had come for a more radical promise, but by this point I had the track record to know that I could succeed with such a promise. But I realized that there was a promise that would solve my problem.

I debated with myself (and my wife a bit) for a couple weeks, but in the end, greatly encouraged by Dr. Willett's book, and five weeks before my son's birthday (didn't want to wait), I made a promise:

  • April 13, 2004 -- I promise to never eat more than 2500 calories on any day, and to ensure this happens, I will write down everything I eat and keep track of the calories.

(There are actually a couple footnotes to this: there are a few days of the year (family birthdays and a couple holidays) that are free days that I am not going to count, and once I reach 190 pounds and stay below that point I'm not going to count, unless I at some point go above that number again. When making promises such footnotes can make them more realistic to implement without affecting the overall outcome. Some might find that a monthly or even weekly "free day" built into their promise is needed to actually make the promise in the first place. If this is what you need to get started, do it.)

I chose the number 2500 after researching a bit to see how many calories I need to maintain my ideal weight for my height and age. I actually found several different numbers on different websites, but 2500 was a nice round average of them.

The weight began to come off, and, in large part because at the same time I started eating much more "right", I found that I didn't have a problem with hunger at all the way I expected. Since I started I have only infrequently had than 2400 calories in a day, and my average so far has been around 2300.

(I should add that about a month after my 2500 promise I also started exercising, both cardio and resistance training, and that has helped with the weight loss too I'm sure. My mantra these days: eat right, eat less, do cardio, and lift weights. More on the cardio and weights later.)

With this promise I was well on my way to permanent success -- I began losing weight at two pounds a week week-in week-out for months, but I've needing to refine nevertheless in order to stop budding bad habits:

You may remember my promise above about sweet things that come in wrappers. Since then some candy has started coming in things other than wrappers, which led to:

  • August 21, 2004 -- I will never eat non-homemade sweet things at home, at work, or in our car.

    You may laugh at the details, but this exactly excised my problem areas without saying "no sweets ever again", something I'd rather not do unless I need to.

So even after my big promise I've still needed to be on guard for developing vices. But at this point I'm more focused on eating healthy than on doing what it takes to lose weight. That part's already been done, and won.

So where am I today?

I still have weight to lose -- perhaps 35 pounds, but it continues to come off. I've lost 100 pounds since my all-time high in the fall of 1998 and am no longer what is classified as obese. I continue to live under these promises but at the moment feel I have no additional food vices to promise away. (If I end up making another promise in the next few months, I'm guessing it will be desserts at Golden Corral, but we'll see. :)

So really it was the one promise that took the weight off. However, for me, I could never ever have conceived of making and sticking to that promise had I not built up the momentum from the earlier promises. By the time I made my "2500" promise, I know that I could promise away any food item, no problem at all. But I also knew that promising away any one food item wouldn't bring about the weight loss that I so desparately needed.

The previous promises gave me the fortitude needed to make the "2500" promise, the last promise I would need to reach my weight loss goal.

If you are thinking of doing this too

If you are thinking of doing this too, I highly recommend "baby step" promises to build momentum before doing anything drastic, although in foresight they may not seem like such baby steps! Much more on this later.

What I enjoy for breakfast, ideally every day

In the past my favorite breakfast was two steak biscuits from Hardee's, a large order of hash browns, and a super-size Diet Coke. Yum, but easily over 1500 calories and full of bad fat etc. I would eat this every day if I could, and still enjoyed the biscuits even after I promised away the Diet Coke and the hash browns.

Now I'm eating much healthier, much fewer calories, and I'm enjoying it:

  • 1 C oatmeal with 2 T flax seed and cinnamon (210 calories)
  • 100 calories of almonds
  • 1 C yogurt (160 calories)

Then I'll have an apple (85 calories) on my way to work.

I still need to get breakfast out occasionally. When I do nowadays I get chicken biscuits from Chik-Fil-A but just eat the chicken (160 calories each) between whole-wheat bread that I bring with me. The biscuits are more calorie laden and arguably less heathy than the fried meat!

Please note that I'm not prescibing a particular set of foods to you, just illustating how radical of a lifestyle change one -- you -- can make.

October 11, 2005

PUBIMO Promises

Making the right kind of promises is the key to the success of the Promise Diet. I've developed an acronym to help people learn and remember the right kind of promise to make – PUBIMO. A good promise must be:

P -- Personalized
My food vices are different than yours; promise them away accordingly.

U -- Uncontested
Would medical experts unanimously agree that this is a good promise to
make concerning your health? (Related to “I” below.) Corollary: Don't
make stupid promises!

B -- Bold
Life is short. Seize the day. (But also see “M”.)

I -- Informed
A pre-requisite to making uncontested promises is the knowledge of what
healthful eating really is.

M -- Momentum-Building
“Baby step” promises are worthwhile as long as they lead to future
promises that lead to additional change. That is, “I won't ____ on Monday
mornings” is a great start if that's all you're up for at first, and even first
steps bring benefits as long as “P” and “I” are fulfilled.

O -- Other-focused
I'm not losing weight to look better. I want to be around for my kids as
they grow up and I want my grandchildren to have me for a grandpa.

Ode to Golden Corral

I love to eat, and for many years I have loved to eat at Golden Corral. In the past I would quite simply pig out -- lots of high-calorie, fun food, with at least "double dessert". GC definitely brought out the worst in me.

Now, with my "radical lifestyle change" completed, I'm amazed at how healthful I can eat at Golden Corral -- it's by far the heathiest place I can eat out at (in addition to our local Mongolian Grill, which is also quite the treat). What I find particularly funny is that my family finds Golden Corral to be a bit of a refuge from our regular eating styles but for me it's an opportunity to max out on veggies. (Let's just say that it's possible to radically have your life changed; my "before" and "after" can never be appreciated with photos alone. I'm sure sometimes my wife thinks she's created a monster.)

I'd eat at Golden Corral every day if I could, and have the past two days. (New baby at home means normal food routines get abandonned. :)

How's this for abundant, yummy, healthy eating (or is it healthful?):

-- rostisserie chicken breast
-- steamed broccoli
-- steamed cauliflower
-- steamed cabbage
-- steamed zuccini, yellow squash, and onions
-- lima beans (with butter I think)
-- sweat potato
-- And a fun dessert or two small ones :)

In a different post I mentioned wondering if I need to promise away desserts at Golden Corral, arguably my biggest vice these days. For now I'm going to keep enjoying them!

Note that Golden Corral can meet the needs of any particular diet too, whether low carb, low fat, or simply "eat right".

So, Golden Corral, if you're ever looking for your very own Jared, I'm your guy!!

October 12, 2005

Don't starve yourself; don't make stupid promises

I enjoyed reading "Losing It: False Hopes and Fat Profits in the Diet Industry" by Laura Fraser (Plume, 1998). It made me concerned though that people reading things on this website will set themself up to fail (one way or another!) by making a promise they shouldn't or can't keep, such as "I'm never going to have a carbohydate (or fat) gram again", or "I'm not going to eat more than 1,200 calories a day until I reach my target rate." I'm realizing that people can do some pretty desparate things to try to lose a bit of weight.

Please, please, please don't make this kind of promise.

Things I've read suggest that you should plan to eat at least your "basal metabolism rate" in calories a day so that you body doesn't go into starvation mode and adjust your metabolism. Mine right now is about 2,045 calories a day. I can eat that much and lose weight, and I shouldn't eat less than that. And my promised limit is 2,500 calories a day. I am no where near the semi-starvation state that many put themselves into for a season to lose some weight only to gain it back once they return to normality.

Anyway, please don't starve yoursef, and please please don't promise that you are going to do it.

No discipline necessary!

My weight loss has nothing to do with discipline. No discipline was involved in MAKING any of these promises. It was my complete lack of discipline, my lack of being able to be moderate in these areas, that led to having to make the promises. And once a particular promise was made, it was no longer an issue of discipline: I just couldn't eat the stuff any more; I had no choice. I short-circuited the need for discipline by removing the choice. My promises provided the sure hand holds I needed to stop sliding further and further down the slippery obesity slope caused by my lack of discipline; instead I was able to use them to climb out of the pit, step by step, promise by promise. And that has made all the difference. (And life is still great, even without the pop, most definitely!)

October 13, 2005

Progress

For the first time in my adult life*, I'm wearing a size "L" shirt. It's a tad snug, but I'm off to play some volleyball in it...

Happiness does not come from pleasure. It comes from victory.
--Zig Ziglar

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* I now weigh 30 pounds less than I did when I graduated from high school.

October 17, 2005

How To Lose Weight with the Promise Diet

In a nutshell, here's how to lose weight with the Promise Diet. Reading how I'm doing it will put some of this in better context.

  • Gain a solid understanding of proper nutrition and exercise.
  • In light of that understanding, examine you own eating habits with this question in mind: What about my eating is causing me to be overweight? (In other words, what's a food vice that's getting you in trouble?)
  • Using the principles of PUBIMO, devise a promise which will reduce or even eliminate that food vice. (Hint: "never" promises are easier to keep than "always" promises.) Make the promise to a loved one who is affected (or could be in the future) by your excess weight. (And keep it :)
  • In addtition to making "never" promises for the vices, incorporate the postives of nutrition and exericse (both cardio and weight lifting) into your life. (This became a natural by-product for me from the control I gained over myself -- plus, if I want to eat a lot of food without violating my 2500 promise, a couple plates of steamed veggies looks mighty enticing! :)
  • Over time, repeat this process, whittling down your list of food vices. If you start with "baby step" promises, as time goes on you'll gain more confidnece to make bolder, more life-changing ones. (Continue to grow in your knowledge of proper nutrition and exercise as well.)

October 18, 2005

Dixie Cup diet :)

A while back at the Y they had an unattributed description of the "Dixie Cup Diet" on their bulliten board that was pretty funny. I was surprised to not find a mention of it on Google.

The basic idea of the Dixie Cup Diet is that the trouble comes when food enters your stomach, not when it goes between your teeth. So you carry around a Dixie Cup with you whenever you eat fattening foods. You enjoy the food while you chew it to a paste and then you spit it into the Dixie Cup and throw the cup away. Lots of pleasure, zero calories!

(I haven't tried this, but my wife Liz said that she had tried something like this once years ago but had found the practice to not be fulfilling...)

October 19, 2005

Eat Right, Get Fit

Proper nutrition and fitness are essential for vibrant health, whether or not you are following the Promise Diet™.

But if you are, they are vital for your success, as any promise you make needs to be rooted in PUBIMO's U and I -- your promises must be informed and they must be uncontested.

Other posts on this website are going to detail many specifics, discuss the medical/scientific rationale for these guidelines, and introduce (interesting!) areas of current controversy/divergence, but here's a quick "short list" of dietary and exercise principles. If you're not currently doing these things, doing them will likely be beneficial to your health and wellness. (But always consult your doctor before making any changes in your diet or exercise, particularly if you have existing medical condiitions or are taking prescription medications.)

Eat Right

These are listed in no particular order. (And those familiar with it will see Walter Willett's Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy influence on me, in particular regarding the need for good fats.)

  • Eat lots of vegetables and fruit. (But white potatoes shouldn't be a staple, especially french-fried ones. :)
  • Eat whole grains instead of refined ones. That is, eat whole grain bread, slow cooked oatmeal, brown rice, whole grain noodles instead of white bread, white rice, instant oatmeal, and normal noodles
  • Eat beans/legumes and nuts
  • Eat leaner meat as opposed to super-fatty meat
  • Eat "good fats" such as olive oil and canola oil and the fat in wild salmon. Good fats are good for you
  • Avoid partionally hydrogenated oils found in margerine and many processed snack foods and pastries
  • Reduce the amount of sugar in your diet. (And "sugar" comes in many different forms)
  • Don't make deep-fried meats, potatoes, etc. a staple. (And if you're from the southern U.S., realize that "etc." includes many, many things you may currently enjoy :)

I like the way some people summarize a fair amount of this: Eat things that spoil, and eat them before they spoil.

Get Fit

(Or stay fit, as the case may be...)

  • Partake in regular cardiovascular activity -- get moving and get your heart pumping, daily or just about daily
  • Do resistance training, a.k.a. weight training, working each major muscle group two or three times a week
  • Do stretching in order to increase flexibility several times a week

Again, additional posts will go into much greater detail on all of these and will also discuss the "whys" along with the "whats". (Broccoli literally started tasting a lot better when I realized how good it was for my body.)

Thoughts?

October 20, 2005

How much exercise is needed for weight loss?

Fox News posted a good article yesterday called "How Much Exercise Sparks Weight Loss?"

Here's a quote near the end:

To maximize weight loss and minimize weight regain, it appears that overweight individuals should supplement dietary changes with approximately 300 minutes of exercise each week, which is twice the amount recommended for health in the general public.

300 minutes is 5 hours a week, which I must say is more exercise than I've done during most my weight loss, so don't feel discouraged if you're doing less than that. (But try to increase! :)

Help Spread the Word!

ChangeThis -- a great website -- is "on a mission to spread important ideas and change minds".

I have a manifesto proposal there which is currently being voted on. The (several) proposals with the most votes will be asked to submit manifestos, which then get shared with the world..

Please drop by and vote for the Promise Diet manifesto proposal and help spread the word about this radical new means of permanent weight loss. It'll just take a second, although I recommend you see what else the site has to offer, in particular anything by Tom Peters.

Thanks!

October 22, 2005

Awareness and Alignment

To achieve success in life, a key principle is "awareness and alignment".

I first heard this phrase from Mike Ashcraft, pastor of Port City Community Church, and I must admit that the first time I heard it the phrase didn't grab me like it does now. Several repetitions later, though, I get it.

Here's the idea: Learn, and then apply. Understand, and then do.

Knowlege in and of itself doesn't produce any change. Uninformed action can quickly get you lost.

This principle applies to the Promise Diet™ in two key ways:

  1. Know yourself and your own personal food "vices", and then promise them away based on that knowledge.
    It's of course not enough to know your vices and lament about them, nor does making promises that aren't personalized to you bring the most benefit (or perhaps even any benefit).
  2. Gain a thorough understanding of proper nutrition and exercise, and then align your lifestyle toward that knowledge.
    I love something I heard a couple years ago: "In today's information-rich world, we are each our own primary care physician." But this means we must first know, and then do.

October 23, 2005

Three Years!!!

Three years ago today I made my first promise, to never drink pop again. I wrestled with myself for days in making that decision -- I was drinking at least a couple Pepsis and/or Diet Cokes every day at the time -- but in hindsight it was one of the best I've ever made, with very little sacrifice when you get right down to it, especially considering the unanticipated rewards that followed.

Happy birthday, Hannah! I love you so much!

October 24, 2005

Wondering how the penguins feel

My "2500 promise" has some free days built in* -- family birthdays and major holidays and our wedding anniversary.

Yesterday was a free day, and I must admit that it's quite fun to climb down off the wagon and indulge for a day in past vices, knowing that the next day everything will be back to normal. Fried bologna sandwich for lunch, my mom's Velveeta macaroni and cheese with Spam with brown sugar sauce for dinner (my daughter's requested birthday meal!), a couple plates of cake and ice cream, a Totinos pizza for an eleventh hour "snack", etc.

I must say, though, that this morning I'm wondering how the penguins feel after their prolonged gorge...

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* It's probably a good idea to build some free days into your promises, especially if you're otherwise hesitant to make one of them. This is my only promise which such an asterisk, but really a Pepsi or Diet Coke would have made a nice addition to yesterday's fun food fest.

Have an asterisk if needed

Having an asterisk with some fine print could help build your courage to make a difficult promise.

No asterisk:

I will never eat cake again.

Duration asterisks:

I will not eat any cake for the next year.
I will not eat any cake for the next week.
I will not eat any cake tomorrow!

Day-of-week asterisks:

I will never eat cake again except on Saturdays.
I will never eat cake again on Mondays.

Time-of-day asterisks:

I will never eat cake after 7 PM at night.
I will never eat cake again before 9 AM.

Characteristic asterisks:

I will never eat chocolate cake again.
I will never eat non-homemade cake again.

Location asterisks:

I will never eat cake again in my home.

Special-day asterisks:

I will never eat cake again except on birthdays of my immediate family.

These can all be combined of course:

For the next year, I will not eat chocolate cake except at the Wilsons on Mondays between 5 PM and 7PM, except for my birthday and my son's birthday, when I will enjoy as much as I want.

The key with all of this is to precisely excise the vice that is causing you to be overweight without doing too much collateral damage that makes life a tad unpleasant.* For example, my promise to never eat pre-packaged sweet things that come in a wrapper was specifically targeted at the honey buns and candy bars that came in the vending machine at work. (But in my case I wanted to promise the whole category away.)

Bottom line: do what it takes!

See also this article on PUBIMO™ promises.

For another type of asterisk, see "Consider the source when making promises".

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* On the other hand, you don't want so many promises that you can't keep up with them! Note that when all was said and done I only ended up with six. Even then there have been times I've had to sit and stare at a particular food item while going through my rules like a checklist making sure that what I was about to eat was legal.

October 26, 2005

My Journey to Eating Right

Growing up, the only thing I knew about nutrition was that there were four food groups: meat and eggs, milk and dairy, bread and cereals, and fruits and vegetables. (This knowledge had nothing to do with my food choices, or the food that was given me to eat.) And the stuff that leads to fitness, running around and the like, was fun, but I failed to grasp that it was beneficial to my body as well.

So, through my college years I was fat but fairly fit, and in both cases I was doing what I enjoyed. Then into my twenties I got busy and for the most part stopped the physical activities I had always enjoyed, and by the time I turned 30 I was hovering around my all-time high of 326 pounds.

In my twenties I also got married, and back in those days I thought my wife was a health food nut, talking about whole grains and brown rice and pestering me about how margarine and soft drinks were bad for me and the like. My basic response was a sighed "whatever", occasionally with rolled eyes. My underlying attitude was, "If this is true, then why am I only hearing it from you?"

Well. as my kids grew up a bit my wife started teaching them about how to eat right and that stuff like pop wasn't at all good for them. My daughter, age 5 at the time, started nagging me to not drink it. She obviously thought I was poisoning myself... (I can relate with parents whose kids try to get them to stop smoking.)

Well, I knew that the sugar in the Pepsi I drank wasn't good for me and I knew that I definitely drank too much pop. (I remember once in high school after an afternoon of basketball drinking a full 2-liter bottle of Diet Coke myself in one sitting!) I contemplated cutting back some, moderation and all that, but that just didn't work for me. Pop was too available and I enjoyed it too much. But my daughter persisted to pester me, and one day an idea began to form in my head that I should just quit the stuff cold turkey forevever....

French fries and fried potato chips were another fairly obvious unhealthy food vice at the daily quantities I was consuming then -- would anyone disagree with that?

So, my first promises didn't really result in me eating more healthful, but they did get rid of particular bad habits and began to give me confidence that I could promise away anything.

While I started making promises over a year before reading it, I credit Walter Willett's Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy (Free Press, 2002, 2005) as the book that finally convinced and motivated me to start truly eating right. My wife had read it and had been encouraging me to read it for quite some time. I finally started it and quickly got hooked, learning for the first time WHY veggies and whole grains are good for my body from a scientific/medical perspective, not just that they were. (Being somewhat of an intellectual, I needed the science to get me past what I had only considered wacko/fringe "thinking".)

So, I began trying new, healthier foods, and began to realize that many of them tasted pretty good, especially the way my wife prepared them. I became a regular reader of the World's Heatlhiest Foods website, quite literally reading what the website had to say about what I was eating while eating it for the first time. Did this make beans taste better, or did I really like beans after all but had never actually tried them before? Hard to say, but they sure tasted good...

My healthy food R'epertoire continued to grow to where whole grains, vegetables, fruit, and nuts are very much staples for me now. These days I grumble and groan at the lack of these foods at most restaurants, particularly fast-food places. (Why can't Taco Bell offer a whole-graim tortilla and McDonalds have whole-grain hamburger buns? And especially, why isn't Subway's "wheat" bread whole-wheat? I for one would pay a bit more for that option. Whole wheat tastes good!)

So now I'm the nut, and our family's outings to enjoy Golden Corral are an
opportunity for me to get extra veggies and my wife and the kids to let 'their hair down a bit' as they say. How's that for permanent lifestyle change and radical transformation!

Interestingly, though, the early days of my switch to healthier eating didn't contribute significantly to my weight loss, which didn't start in earnest until my "2500" promise. Once I made that promise I began losing about 2 pounds a week for many months.

October 27, 2005

This is all optional

"It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory."

-- W. Edwards Deming

Significant cholesterol improvement

Over the course of 15 months my HDL ("good" cholesterol) increased by 44% while my LDL ("bad" cholesterol) decreased by 32%. My triglycerides decreaed 62% during that same time period.

This was done with no medications -- just changes in diet and exercise. (And I had already started eating better when the first test was done, so the total improvement was probably a bit more than that.

May 2004
LDL 123
HDL 25
triglycerides 141
total 175
total/HDL = 7.1

August 2005
LDL 93
HDL 36
triglycerides 54
total 140
total/HDL = 3.9

My weight loss during this particular period of time was about 60 pounds.

Then again, I think this is improvement. I'm not sure what the experts over at The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics would say. But at least I did it by healthy changes in diet and exercise and not by using statins! I must say that what I read on the THINCS website is the main reason I have whole yogurt instead of fat-free yogurt for breakfast -- don't want to get too many carbs in my diet and my cholesterol isn't at all high.

Comments?

October 29, 2005

Who should lose weight with The Promise Diet?

The Promise Diet&trade is not for everyone. For starters, it can't be prescribed. You shouldn't try to lose 30 pounds in 11 days with it. And if you are quite immature, I'd recommend giving it a pass.

However, The Promise Diet can help you radically transform your life, and you should consider it, if:

  • You are obese or very overweight

  • You have diabetes (or pre-diabetes), high blood pressure, heart problems, or Metabolic Syndrome (aka Syndrome X).

  • You don't have any of these conditions now, but you could next year if you don't change. (What a time to change!)

  • You are willing to take the time to learn about proper nutrition and exercise and to think through your personal situation and how your lifestyle is affecting your health.

  • You have loved ones you don't want to leave prematurely

  • You've tried "modertation" to lose weight and have found that it hasn't worked for you

  • You are ready to make a change.

If this describes you, I'cw created this website for you, to encourage, to inform, and to empower you to make the change in your life that you've been longing for.

Radical, permanent change is possible, and could be imminent.

Thoughts?

Weight lifting for long-term weight loss

Weight lifting contributes to long-term weight loss by increasing muscle mass, which increases your metabolism, meaning your body continually burns up more calories whether you are at work or at play or asleep.

These muscle gains aren't immediate, but over time the results compound. Lifting weights -- also know as "resistance training" or "weight training" -- can add a pound or two of muscle to your body each month. Each additional pound of muscle burns about 40 calories a day. So if you can add even four pounds of muscle to your body, those 160 calories/day add up to 58,000 over a year, which translates into a loss of over 16.5 pounds in a year, eveything else being equal. (Losing a pound of weight of requires requires 3,500 calories to be burned.) But everything else is not equal, because you're also expending energy while building and maintaining that muscle.

Note that this projected loss occurs without reducing the calories you eat. (Not that you shouldn't do that...)

Don't take my metaphor too literally, but in terms of weight loss, cardiovascular exercice is sorta like working for hourly wages -- you do the work, you get a paycheck. (Or you spend 30 minutes on the treadmill and burn 300 calories.) Weight lifting, then, is sorta like working to build an asset that is going to generate an ongoing stream of income. (I'm speaking in terms of Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad, Poor Dad for example.) The initial payoff is less but the long-term residuals are greater. "Make money while you sleep" goes the claim. Well, with weight lifting you literally lose weight while you sleep. Just realize this loss is gradual and long-term.

Just to make sure I'm being clear, cardiovascular exercise provides several long-term benefits to your health, in particular cardiovascular health. Its weight loss benefit is a tad secondary. Let me say it more strongly: cardiovascular exercise is vital for vibrant health and for many is necessary for effective weight loss. That said, weight lifting can add a lot too, just in different ways.

Starting a weight-lifting program

In college I had several roomates and friends who lifted weights, but this idea was very foreign to me then. I started last year at age 36 initially knowing nothing. Pretty quickly I realized that the concepts were not difficult to understand and that weight lifting itself was more enjoyable than I would have guessed -- perhaps in part because of the weight less I was undergoing at the time. :)

Weight Training for Dummies by Liz Neporent and Suzanne Schlosberg (Wiley Publishing, 2000) -- the link to it on Amazon.com is above -- is a great book with lots of illustrations.

The key to a successful weight-training program is to work out each major muscle group of your body (see below) two or three times a week on alternating (non-consecutive) days. One set of 10 repetitions for each muscle group is great to start with; you may never need much more than that if your focus is on overall health and weight loss. (A "repetition" is one up and down. A set of 10 repetitions is going up-down up-down up-down-up-down up-down-up-down-up-down up-down up-down up-down.)

Choose an amount of weight that allows you to barely do 10 repetitions but is too much to do 11. That is, work out your muscles "too fatigue". (You'll of course have to experiment some to find the right weights for you, and it's of course OK if sometimes you can only do 8 reps or make it to 12.) Rest at least a minute between each set. Over time, as you get stronger, increase your weight, so that 10 or so reps continually tends to bring you to muscle fatigue.

You can lift weights at home by buying a set of dumbells or some other equipment, but I have found my local YMCA to be a great place to do this. (My family and I love our local YMCA!) The YMCA has all the equipment you'll need plus trainers who can show you how to safely use everything.

Lift weights. Lose weight. (And have stronger bones and literally be a stronger person.)

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Your Body's Major Muscle Groups:

October 31, 2005

The Promise Diet compliments other diets, not competes

To the extent that one diet "competes" against another -- you can do the Atkins diet or the U.S. government's My Pyramid Plan but not both at the same time -- The Promise Diet™ does not compete, but rather compliments and supports.

That is, The Promise Diet can enable the success of any (worthwhile) diet. And, with some time-based asterisks, you could use The Promise Diet to simply kickstart a weight loss endeavor, although the power of this approach is the permanent results it brings from permanent PUBIMO™ promises.

So then, The Promise Diet (and this website) does not dictate or prescribe a particular set of foods to eat, but rather encourages and guides you in learning about proper nutrition, and then offers you a means to overcome the need for discpline and willpower so that you can make the changes in your life you know you should make.




 

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