Lunch with an old friend

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I ate lunch with an old friend a few days ago. My book became a topic of discussion. Something seemed to be annoying him about my interest in weight loss. He kept asking me, “Has this become your life?” It took me some time to figure out what was “eating” at him. I think I finally understood when he said something like, “It’s no fun if you have to count your calories.” I’ve heard this complaint a lot. Eating is a very personal matter and few people relish in the thought of having to control what they eat. Many of us desire to be one of those lucky people we hear about who can eat anything they want without any dire consequence. So much so, that we often delude ourselves into thinking we are.

“I want to enjoy my food. I don’t want to have to worry about what I eat,” he continued. Don’t we all? I responded that if that was your priority, then that’s fine. I have a different set of priorities. We all make choices. I’ve decided that I don’t like carrying extra weight around. I like to be able to ride my bike fast and I like to run without feeling my love handles bounce up and down. In order for me to meet those priorities, I have to be aware of how much I eat.

Additionally, I do enjoy my food, even though I stay aware of the amount I’m eating. But, I’ve learned that there’s much more to enjoying food than eating vast quantities of it. We have to eat several times each and every day so there’s no shortage of opportunity for me to enjoy my food. Why stuff myself to the hilt when I’ll have another opportunity to enjoy food in a few short hours? I focus on enjoying the taste of my food and working with an assortment of foods that help me achieve my goals.

Believe me, when I taste something that’s really good, I still have the instinct to open the hatch and pour it in. But, my awareness for achieving my weight control goals helps me fight against the urge. I slow down, enjoy every bite and then usually have leftovers that I can enjoy again tomorrow.

What’s wrong with that? It’s similar to how Lance Armstrong approached the Tour de France. Lance, as much as anyone, enjoys kicking the pants off his opponents. The Tour de France is really 21 individual races, each with the opportunity to kick pants. Lance was strong enough that he could have probably gone out and won many more of these individual races. But, he realized that would work against his overall goal of winning the whole race. So, he conditioned himself to override that urge to let loose through most of the race and saved it for those three or four opportunities that he thought would give him the best chance of an overall victory. That takes a good understanding of your overall goal and the maturity to override you competitive urges.

Similarly, achieving your weight loss goals takes a good understanding of your goal, constant awareness of that goal and the maturity to override the urges that will prevent your from achieving the goal.

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South Beach Diet

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A friend recently asked for my opinion on the South Beach Diet. I read Arthur Agatston’s book and think is worth a read from anyone wanting to lose or control their weight. In my opinion, he starts you out in an Atkins-like phase of carb-busting, which lasts a couple weeks before you start to re-introduce “good” carbs. Then, from there, the diet seems very similar to the Zone in that you eat meals and snacks throughout the day and eat a mix of carbs, protein and fat to ward off hunger pains. Plus, he gives plenty of recipe options to use, though, I must admit, most of them seemed a bit more complicated for my tastes. I did, however, enjoy the various ricotta cheese desserts.

Of course, I also believe that there is plenty of valuable information in my book, “A Few Bites A Day” and “A Week in the Zone”. Both books can be had for about the same price as the South Beach Diet. Still, all three can be purchased for less than $30 and are worth thousands of times that if they can help prevent health problems and lead to a happier, healthier life.