1. Prepackaged Programs:
OK, OK, so you know all this already. You’ve heard It all before. The safest and surest way to permanent weight loss is slow and steady, no more than 1 or 2 pounds a week. Yeah, right! At this rate, it should take me, say, 36 months to get to my desired weight? Gimme a break! I want a slim body NOW. I want a flat stomach TODAY, just like those models on TV, you know, the ones that show up with before and after shots, touting claims that with Jenny Craig or NutriSystems, they lost 56 pounds or 77 pounds, and look how svelte and successful and GORGEOUS they are now! But with those programs, you have to buy their food, which is expensive, and the companies make you pay in advance, thereby committing you to their program. Nice. Those costs can range about $600 per month, especially when they promote special drinks and vitamins to support your health while you’re dieting. They claim that with their program, you no longer have to count calories or worry about what’s permitted on your diet, you just eat the meals and snacks that they provide. They promise “real food,” such as lasagna, hamburgers, even chocolate, implying that other selected foods are not likely to sustain you. Problem is, that lasagna and hamburger is probably what got you fat in the first place. Those programs don’t teach you a new lifestyle, a new eating style. And the food they provide is, sorry to say, miserable. Tasteless. Without salt. Tiny portions. And then they tantalize you with chocolate dessert! Gimme a break!
2. 12-Step Programs:
Naturally, I expect that I’ll be stepping on a few toes here, the toes of those died in the wool aficionados of these programs. Been there, done that. My problem with those programs is that they deliberately avoid giving specific advice on how to lose weight, preferring instead to create a space for “support” of the sufferer, invoking a Higher Power as the source of relief of the obsession with food. Philosophically that is all well and good, except that relying on the Higher Power divests you of responsibility – either for good or for bad. If you succeed in your efforts to shed weight, you attribute that to your Higher Power; if you fail, you also logically tend to attribute it to your Higher Power, although that part never comes out in the meetings. If you fail, they contend, it’s because you have a disease, but if you succeed, it was the Higher Power’s doings. And they don’t see the fallacy of that thinking. Meanwhile, the meetings being support-oriented, the time is spent regurgitating painful experiences and difficulties and sharing them with the group. It is not a place to be enlightened and inspired. It is a place which I have found depressing and singularly unhelpful. But that’s just me. On the other hand, those programs might go a long way in providing camaraderie and accountability if you get a sponsor. But even with a sponsor, you must guard against substituting one obsession for another.
3. Appetite Suppressant Drugs:
Phen-Fen was popular for a while, but has since been taken off the market. One of its problems was that it caused irreversible pulmonary hypertension, and for that, the cure was lung transplant. Are you kidding me?!? So that I can lose some weight? No sirree! Some people have suffered heart attacks because of the amphetamines. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather look at paintings by Boticelli and learn to love The Bod!
Yep, this is quick. But really, not that quick. You avoid eating completely, fill yourself with water, for that “full” feeling, and step on the scale 30 times a day. See, the goal is to lose weight for this weekend, or for your upcoming wedding, or for the reunion. It is not a journey of discovery, of lifestyle change. And in the end, the weight doesn’t come off so quickly after all. Yes, you might drop 10 pounds overnight, but starvation is not sustainable, so if you are able to go through a second day of starvation, the bulk of the weight will have dropped the first day, and you might get by with another 5-pound loss the next day, if you’re lucky, but you know if your heart of hearts that will not last. Oh, but I don’t care if it lasts, you claim, all I want is to get into those jeans. If you waited this long to get into a weight loss regimen that you now have to do it quickly, you really missed the boat. You cannot continue to starve yourself and you will regain all that water weight with the very first hard boiled egg you eat.
5. Crash Diets:
OK, you’re convinced, starvation will not work for long, and you’ve got at least 20 pounds you want off your bones. So, you will limit yourself, you swear, to an apple a day and some consommé. Good luck. That is probably worse. You will be stoking your appetite center, triggering the hormones that will release chemicals that tell your body that, hey, that apple was not enough! I want more! So you will sneak one peanut – one peanut, that’s all. But again, that will only defeat your purpose.
6. Protein Shakes:
There are, of course, those protein shakes. Yum! Been there, done that, too. For a solid week at a time. They’re not bad, tasty, filling. Did I lose weight? Yep, a good 5% of my body weight. That’s a lot. But it was not eating, and the body needs real food (not NutriSystems style). The mouth was designed with teeth so that we may chew and crunch our food. That is the natural condition, and that is how we evolved. Saliva flows, hormones are released, the pituitary and hypothalamus all play together to create an environment that encourages eating in order to sustain life. Eating is NOT entertainment. What?!? Sacrilege. You mean, going to Chile’s is not what God intended? Didn’t God create pizza? That’s real food, ain’t it? So you’ve been stuffing yourself with so-called real food, and here you are, on the other end of having to lose weight quickly, so you resort to unhealthy, unappetizing, and some downright dangerous practices.
Whom are you kidding? You know that’s just temporary. It’s really not about the number on the scale, you know that, don’t you? Your pants are tight because you’ve overindulged, and taking laxatives will only be a temporary measure. Even if you do manage to lower the numbers on the scale, in fact, you have CHEATED. You haven’t lost weight. And it’s dangerous. The body has its own cycle. If you eat at proper intervals; if you eat “real food,” (not NutriSystems), your kishkes will take care of themselves. As will your weight, of course. And then, the variation on the theme…
Here, the person eats, indeed, gorges, and then goes somewhere private and rids him/herself of all that food. What a waste. I don’t get it: You ate because you wanted the good sensation that eating provided, the full feeling, the delicious soporific effect, that luscious, hazy, dreamy state that ice cream gave you, and now you’re going to put yourself through torture? For what? You won’t succeed in losing weight, since you’ll be getting rid of what you just put in – you’ll break even! Besides, why would you deliberately choose pain and unpleasantness? Isn’t the whole reason for losing weight to feel better and enjoy your body? Bulimia is going about it the wrong way.
9. Some Other Crazy Ways to Lose Weight:
Have a baby! I actually dropped 30 pounds overnight!
10. And If All Else Fails…
Cut off an arm.
In the end, there is only one way to lose weight: Don’t eat!