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

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November 01, 2005

A Post-Halloween Chocolate Bonanza, but...

One of my colleagues at work either heisted the neighborhood kids' candy collections last night or planned for many trick-or-treaters but got none -- a couple big bowls of candy have been singing to me for hours now. Real stuff too -- Reece's peanut butter cups, Hershey's chocolate, the works. And I'm the only one working in my half of the building tonight...

In the past, this would have meant a night of CHOCOLATE FUN at Queensboro. However, three separate promises intervene: no pre-packaged sweet things that come in a wrapper, no non-homemade sweet things at work or home or in our car, and no more than 2500 calories on any given day.

So -- although I have zero discipline when it comes to such stuff, and if I could I definitely would indulge (or rather binge) -- I haven't touched the stuff, and won't. Quite simply, I can't!

And come tomorrow morning, I'll be much better off...

That's the power of the Promise Diet™.

November 02, 2005

I think I'm eating a lot compared to most dieters

Seems like so many diets recommend very restricted calorie counts -- 1200, 1400, even 1800.

I wonder what that does to dieters' long-term metabolism and I wonder how much muscle they're losing along with some fat. My understanding is that each of us should at least eat our's "basal metabolism" in calories every day, the amount of calories our bodies expend just to support basic living functions. (Here's a link to a calculator.)

Super-restricted-calorie diets aren't necessary, at least if your body reacts to calories like mine does. In particular:

  • I don't think I've eaten less than my basal metabolism in calories a single day during the past year and a half, the time of most of my weight loss (and likely not before either!) Even when I hit my goal weight of 185 my basal metabolism will be 1,908 calories. No need for me to ever eat any less than that I think. (Note that I'm a 6'1" middle-aged male, which allows me more calories than some of you get.)

  • I'm not sure that I've ever lost more than three pounds in a week -- definitely not more than five pounds in two weeks. This loss was gradual but it was steady.

  • I have had breakfast every day, typically at least 470 calories worth.

So, it's possible to have success without starving yourself, and perhaps it's long-term better to lose weight gradually and always eat at least your basal metabolism in calories every day. This also helps create long-term sustainable lifestyle change.

November 06, 2005

About This Site

The Promise Diet™ and this website were started by Reid Wilson as a way to encourage, motivate, inform, and equip people to lose weight permanently and improve their health in the process.

In addition to being someone who has lost 120 pounds while being radically transformed by the power of The Promise Diet™ and PUBIMU™ Promises made to his wife and three (now four!) young children, Reid is the IT Director at the Queensboro Shirt Company, which offers custom-embroidered apparel over the internet with great prices and low minimums. (Queensboro was the first company to let businesses and organizations get shirts with their own logos embroidered on them and has been doing that for over 20 years for tens of thousands of customers.) In particular he is focused on web application development using LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP).

Reid has a B.S. in math and an M.A. in linguistics and taught at the college level for ten years in the U.S. and the Middle East, during which time he created a website to help language learners learn language.

Quoting Reid, "I'm convinced that The Promise Diet has a message many are waiting for, a message that can radically transform the lives of many obese people, just as it has transformed me from a 326-pound caffeine-addicted happy but undisciplined junk food junkie and lover of food to a 206-pound -- and still dropping! -- happy but undisciplined lover of food. My hope is that the new Promise Diet website will be a resource to help bring about that kind of change for many people."

In addition to losing weight, Reid has seen his blood sugar levels and blood pressure drop (A1C from 5.9% to 4.7% and BP nowadays in the one-teens over upper sixties) , his level of fitness increase (14.8 METS on a treadmill stress test in August 2005), and his cholesterol improve significantly.

Reid (age 37) and his family live in beautiful Wilmington, North Carolina in the southeastern United States.

Reid can be reached at

November 08, 2005

This Site's Privacy Policy

We use Contant Contact for email newsletter list management and adhere to their strict Privacy Policy.

We will not give out, rent, loan, share, trade, or sell your personal information to any other third-party.

If you have any questions about this, please email Reid.

November 09, 2005

"Fat and Fit" may be better than "Skinny and Sedentary", with a question

Here's some interesting reading. I think last fall was the last time this concept went through the media:

Stephen Blair of the the Cooper Institute of Aerobics Research: Fitness, not Fatness, is the issue

Kenneth Cooper: 'Fat but fit' or 'skinny and sedentary'?

Can Being Fit Outweigh Fat? (Washington Post, Nov. 26, 2004)

Fat and Fit is Good! (Big Fat Blog, July 21, 2003)

A view from the other side:
De-Bunking the Myth:
"Fit and Fat" is Not What You Think
(Calorie Control Council)


I guess here's my question in all of this:

How many "normal" people -- normal meaing there are no atypical genetic medical conditions causing them to be obese -- can actually be fit and eat healthy and still be obese? That is, excluding those few who are quite simply fated to be fat, how many obese, fit, healthy eaters with stable body weights are out there? (If you are one, I'd like to hear about it, and if I could be nosy, I'd be interested in hearing about what you do for exercise, what kinds of things you eat, and about how many calories a day you eat on average.)

For me, doing the "right" things -- eat healthy, do cardio, lift weights, and eat between 2200 and 2500 calories/day day-in day-out (that is, eat plenty but not too much) -- with a focus on being healthy as much as losing weight, resulted in significant weight loss too, as a "natural" result of what I did.

Would that not be the case for most (but I realize perhaps not all)?

November 10, 2005

Press Release -- November 10, 2005

The Promise Diet – A Radical Approach to Permanent Weight Loss and Lifestyle Change

Reid Wilson has literally promised away his food vices one at a time, and in doing so he's lost 120 pounds from his all-time high. He's now set up a website and blog to help and encourage others to do the same.

Wilmington, NC (PRWEB) November 10, 2005 -- On October 23, 2002, after much internal debate, Reid Wilson drank a bottle of Pepsi, cut the label up to make a card, and with that card made a promise to his daughter for her 6th birthday that he would never drink pop again.

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

He didn't know it then, but these promises would lead to what Wilson now calls The Promise Diet. Through a series of food promises over two years -- what he now calls PUBIMO Promises -- he's learned how to short-circuit the need for discipline. As a result he currently weighs 120 pounds less than his all-time high and he's still losing, with only 20 pounds left to achieve his personal goal. “I continue to love and enjoy food”, Wilson says. “These promises have won me victory, not made me miserable.”

Wilson has realized that The Promise Diet is an approach to permanent weight loss that can benefit the many millions of obese adults in the U.S. and around the world. Because of this, he's created a new website/blog called “The Promise Diet: A Radical Approach To Permanent Lifestyle Change”, which can be found at

The Promise Diet involves two main ideas:

1. Gain a solid understanding of proper nutrition and fitness.

2. Based on that understanding and an examination of your personal food vices – what is keeping you overweight, that is – make (and keep) promises to loved ones that reduce or even eliminate those vices from your life

Wilson actually started making these promises over a year before reading Walter Willett's Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy (Free Press, 2002, 2005), but this book finally convinced and motivated him to start truly eating right. “My wife had been the health food nut in our home 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 and medical perspective, not just THAT they were. Now I'm the nut, and our family's outings to Golden Corral are an opportunity for me to get extra veggies and for her and the kids to let their hair down a bit.” A significant section of The Promise Diet website is dedicated to help spread this message: Eat right, eat less, and exercise more.

In many ways The Promise Diet is the perfect complement to many of the diets people use today, as it provides the means to overcome the need for discipline and willpower and to successfully implement the advice they receive.

“My real concern is that people are going to make stupid promises that they won't or can't keep, saying 'I'm never going to eat another carb again!' in a fit of clueless passion”, Wilson adds. “Because of this, I've come up with the acronym PUBIMO, which outlines what makes a good promise.” To Wilson, a good promise needs to 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 prerequisite 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 which will lead to additional change. That is, “I won't ____ on Monday mornings” -- or even “Monday morning” -- is a great start if that's all you're up for at first. Even small 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.”

Wilson continues, “I'm convinced that The Promise Diet is a message many are waiting for, that it is a message that can radically transform the lives of many obese people, just as it has transformed me from a 326-pound caffeine-addicted happy but undisciplined junk food junkie and lover of food to a 206-pound -- and still dropping -- happy but undisciplined lover of food. My hope is that the new Promise Diet website will be a resource to help bring about that kind of change for people.”

In addition to information regarding current medical thinking on nutrition, weight loss, and fitness, The Promise Diet website (found at gives practical instruction and encouragement in how to successfully apply The Promise Diet to one's life. Wilson posts new entries to the site almost daily and offers a free email newsletter as well.

Sidebar: The eating promises Wilson has made
See also

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 or other fried chips).

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

August 13, 2003 – I will never eat pre-packaged sweet things that come in a wrapper again. (Specific target: the honey buns and candy bars in the vending machine at work!)

April 13, 2004 – I promise to never eat more than 2,500 calories on any given day, and to ensure this happens, I will write down everything I eat and keep track of the calories. (This one is actually more specific than that, with some exceptions on special days and an eventual end goal which frees him from having to write everything down.)

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


November 14, 2005

Force -> Form -> Flow

In addition to "Awareness and Alignment", another phrase I've picked up from Mike Ashcraft is "Force -> Form -> Flow".

The basic idea: As we force ourselves to adopt a particular action in our lives, and as we do that action repeatedly over time, that action becomes a habit that is formed in us. Eventually that action becomes second nature and flows freely from us. And this new flow strengthens us to undertake new "forcings", allowing us to be in a constant cycle of growth through force -> form -> flow.

This is perhaps somewhat similar to the expression "Fake it until you feel it", with the understanding that you will grow to feel it.

The basic idea, as applied to The Promise Diet: As I've forced myself to eat less junk and fewer calories through the eating promises I've made, and have done that now for a long period of time, I've formed "proper eating habits" in my life. Over more time this has become engrained in me; these days I crave veggies and whole grains and it's normal for me to eat less than 2500 calories a day.

Do that which you want to be, and you'll become that which you do: I am a healthy eater.

This concept is important, because it means it's generally easier to follow a promise a month after you've made it than it is a day, and it's easier a year later than it is a month, allowing you to continue the cycle and build momentum by making additional promises as time moves on.

(That said, tempatation doesn't ever completely leave, and the promises keep me from falling off the wagon.)

November 19, 2005

Two New Time-Limited Promises, made to myself this time

These days are really busy for me as well as a bit stressful. I'm finding myself eating near my maximun calorie allotment (2500) every day, and I'm eating more sweets than I should be. Quite simply, I'm eating this many calories and sweets because I can.

So, I'm making myself two new time-limited promises:

Starting tomorrow:

  • Until I weigh less than 185 pounds, I won't eat more than 2,200 calories on any day (other than the same days that are already excluded with my 2500 promise, such as Thanksgiving Day and Christmas).

  • Other than those excluded days, I'm not going to have any sweets until I weigh less than 185, in situations where I am in control. (This last part is an update.)
I'm eager to achive this weight, which has been my weight loss goal from the start, and this is the way to get there. 21 or so pounds to go.

November 21, 2005

Consider the source when making promises

I'm about to edit a post I wrote two days ago called "Two New Time-Limited Promises, made to myself this time".

Here's part of what it says right now: "Other than those excluded days, I'm not going to have any sweets until I weigh less than 185."

Here's what I'm going to change it to: "Other than those excluded days, I'm not going to have any sweets until I weigh less than 185, in situations where I am in control."

Since I made the promise to myself I knew what I really meant, and I didn't mean that if I happened to be offered something in an Arab home that I would refuse the hospitality I was being offered. (I didn't expect to find myself in an Arab home and being served some delicious canafe and nothing else -- I just had to eat it, although I did feed most of it to my kids when my hosts weren't in the room, and it wasn't that sweet anyway. (But it tasted great!)

My vice, which I promised away until I weight 185, was rather the chocolate ice cream I watched my kids eat the day before, and the sweet scone that tempted me at the bread store this morning, etc.

Had I made that promise to one of my kids, I'm not sure what I would have done, although I probably would've used more words when making the promise in the first place so as to not find myself in such a situation. That said, had I been offered Coke, or fried potato chips, or a candy bar in a wrapper -- things I've promised away to various family members -- I would not have drunk/eaten them and would have had to figure out some creative diplomacy. (Then again, in this situation my wiife would have intercepted the tray before it got to me.)

Lesson learned: when you make your promises, always consider the source of the thing you're promising away. For example, a friend of mine has promised away pop, unless someone else buys it for him. That's not exactly the same situation as my canafe, but for him it still gets to the heart of the matter.

These asterisks can seem like a cop out, but actually they're the realism that make most promises do-able.

November 23, 2005

A promise gets change done (example)

Recent daily calorie counts:

( promise made )

And, I had lunch at Golden Corral today, and for the first time in a very long time did not have any dessert there due to the second promise I made a few days ago.

Is it really that simple? Yes.

November 26, 2005

Thanksgiving Day is a (fun!) "Free Day"

I wrote this Thanksgiving 2004... 2005 was pretty similar (although perhaps a bit more sane and no intestinal issues) and leaves me with only a summary comment: Eating is fun!

Good thing I have my promises to keep me in check for the long haul.


Thanksgiving Day is one of a few "free days" built into my 2500 promise. (All of my other promises still apply since they didn't have any exceptions.) It was fun eating all kinds of junk (fried bologna sandwich, frozen pizza, two Hardee's biscuits, lots of yummy cake) plus a nice large Thanksgiving meal too. (Thanks Liz and Carol!) I started the day off with a midnight Wendy's run (classic double with cheese and a (fried) chicken sandwich) and then pretty much ate most of the next 24 hours -- with only slight intestinal distress today.

The obvious: I am still a glutton at heart -- I bet I ate 4 times the calories I normally do in a day these days.

Christmas is the next one... should be fun. Good thing I don't have too many of these!

November 27, 2005

Accepting a new reality

I wish I remembered where I read it, but a sentence I recently read has stuck in my mind, something to the effect of "[after his calamity], he soon accepted his new reality and got on with his life."

The phrase "new reality" has been resonating with me the past couple of days as I've been surprised at how easy it has been to adhere to my new promises to not eat sweets and to eat less than 2200 calories a day.

Instead of passively undergoing a calamity, though, I'm realizing what I did was to create by fiat a new reality for myself -- I'm now a person who can't eat sweets and who consumes less than 2200 calories/day. And, at this point in my Promise Diet journey I was pretty quickly able to accept that new reality, adjust to it, and move on with my life. And voila, I'm now eating less than 2200 calories a day (where I had been eating in the 2400s almost every day) and I'm not eating sweets, and I'm definitely no worse off for it. Everything else being equal, this 300 calorie/day differential should translate into a couple extra pounds of weight loss a month until I get to my ultimate goal.

What new reality can you create for yourself today?



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If you are morbidly obese, this website could save your life. I've not completed my journey, but I've lost over 115 pounds so far, most of it since starting something I'm calling "The Promise Diet." You can too, one promise at a time."

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Accepting a new reality

Thanksgiving Day is a (fun!) "Free Day"

A promise gets change done (example)

Consider the source when making promises

Two New Time-Limited Promises, made to myself this time

Force -> Form -> Flow

Press Release -- November 10, 2005

"Fat and Fit" may be better than "Skinny and Sedentary", with a question

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