Excuse #2: "I’ll start eating right tomorrow."

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Raise your hand if you’re guilty of procrastination. Me too. But, as I have learned, telling yourself that you are going to make a change at some distant future date is only a crutch. January 1, our birthdays or after vacation are popular future change dates. Trouble is that there’s not much different about those dates than any other date, like today. We’re just letting ourselves off the hook, trying to ease the pain and guilt of our actions today for making a promise to ourselves that deep down we know we won’t keep.

Ben Franklin said it well, “You may delay, but time will not.” I constantly remind myself of this. Even though I’ve achieved my weight goal, keeping it there means that I have to stand guard against my procrastination demon.

Don’t get me wrong. I do enjoy food and treat myself often. However, as I mention in my book, I can enjoy food without eating mass quantities. But, my procrastination demon tries to convince me that I can eat mass quantities and cut back on the portions next week. I have to make the decision every time I eat to eat the right portion.

I’m not sure what other advice to offer you to ward off your procrastination demon except to stop lying to yourself. If you are not able to make the change RIGHT NOW then you probably won’t be any better equipped to make the change then. I made my change on February 7, 2002. There was nothing special about that date, except that was the day that all the pieces came together for me and I figured out, or at least had a good idea, of what I needed to do. I wasn’t certain yet, but I gave it a try and started to see immediate results. There simply was no reason for me to wait until some special day in the future.

And, when I do find myself starting a trend of increasing my portions and thinking that I’ll get back on the portion control next week, I just shake my head (to loosen the grip the procrastination demon has on my brain) and say to myself, “no, I don’t need the eat the whole thing right now.”

So, I strongly encourage you to stop telling yourself that you’ll make a change sometime in the future.

Do it today.

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"A Simple Plan"

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The April 2005 issue of Runner’s World magazine had a weight-loss theme. “The Simple Plan” provided advice very similar to the advice in my book like balance calories in with calories out, eat a meal or snack every 3-4 hours and eat more protein and unsaturated fats to help from getting hungry as often. This issue also had a great article on Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s amazing weight-loss. Check it out if you get a chance.

The “Simple Plan” was adapted from Madelyn H. Fernstrom’s book, “The Runner’s Diet” (Rodale 2005-Available in May, 2005). That might be worth a read as well.

Go with your gut

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Here’s a new spin on the old phrase. In terms of weight loss, your gut doesn’t lie. It gives you an instant report card on how well you’ve balanced the calories going into your body with the calories you’ve burned over the course of your life. No if’s, and’s or but’s (well maybe some butt’s too).

Most people believe they do a decent job of balancing their calories in and out and on a daily basis they’re probably correct. But as the title of my book suggests, only a few bites a day can make a big difference over the course of a month, a year or decades. One hundred extra calories a day, or three bites of a chocolate chip cookie, can add 10 pounds each year.

Sometimes it takes decades to add the pounds. If you’ve seen the 1980s Star Wars/Star Trek satire, Spaceballs, you’ll understand this. The space travelers in the movie found that they arrived millions of light years from their intended destination because someone originally set course a millionth of a degree off. Ooops. Similarly, gaining only one to two pounds per year adds 30 to 60 pounds over three decades.

If you’re ever in doubt on how well you’ve balanced your calories simply take a quick gut check. You don’t even really need to calculate your BMI. Just look down. Is your gut or butt hanging out? Those are sure signs calorie intake has exceeded your calorie burn.