Monday, November 16, 2015

Well, I really did diet proof my life!! Hmm...

I must come clean: I overdid it.

To be more specific, in my quest to diet proof my own life, in keeping with my message, I have also let myself go.  By overeating!

The message in my book - and in this blog - is to stop dieting.  That's the short answer.  The slightly longer one is that dieting - restricting calories, changing one's eating habits, feasting on salads without dressing or steamed carrots - does the body more harm than good.  True, you may drop a pound or two, but your metabolism will slow down because the message to your body, your biology, is that famine is afoot.  You restrict your food consumption, and the brain interprets that as famine and austerity.  Your brain is the computer that controls all your bodily functions, including, most importantly, your ability to survive.  When your brain perceives the carillon calls of famine, it instructs your metabolism to slow down so as to conserve energy.  Your brain is a machine, a very sophisticated machine, to be sure, but it only functions according to what it perceives.  Information in, information out.  You know the drill: GIGO is the acronym (garbage in, garbage out).  You turn a few switches that tell the brain food is scarce, and your brain obeys with its own cascade of hormones designed to keep you alive on minimal food: It turns down your furnace, so that you burn fewer calories, minimal calories to stay alive.  The result? You may lose a few pounds, but when you get back to eating "normally," in your usual habit, your metabolism does not automatically realize that famine is over; it persists in keeping you alive lest famine returns.  It continues the very slow burn of calories, resulting in weight gain! Kapish?

That's why I have been advocating making tiny changes to your eating habits, and making tiny changes to your exercise habits, so as not to ruffle your metabolism's feathers.  You must avoid dieting - restricting your calories - assiduously in order to keep your metabolism revved up.  To go a step further, you must not skip meals, as that produces a similar effect.

It is a lifestyle change.  A slow, very subtle change that can be sustained over the long haul. Something as simple as cutting back on bread - instead of two slices in the morning, cut it back to a slice and a half.  Nothing drastic, nothing too far afield, just a tiny change that can be sustained over time.  The overriding idea here is to NOT diet.

Well, I have listened to my own advice lately, and not dieted.  I mean, I seriously have not dieted. As in gone to the other extreme!

Yep, I confess.  I have overindulged.  In all my favorite foods - not once or twice, but repeatedly for quite some time.  And the results are - well, do I really have to tell you? My clothes are significantly tighter.  I am afraid of stepping on the scale.  The last time I checked my weight, I had put on 10 pounds! I'm not looking for further confirmation, thank you.

The principle of diet proofing one's life is sound.  It is solid.  It remains intact.  My practice of my own caveat has faltered.

This is my road, my journey, the gravel upon which I tread.  In my endeavor to not diet, I have gone the other way.  Over the past month, I have traveled here and there, have enjoyed sightseeing and conferences, have given a talk, have received glowing feedback, and have also indulged, overindulged, in the fineries found while traveling.  Back home, I am frequently hard pressed to return to a healthy lifestyle after having "destroyed" all the good I had done.

What rubbish! I have not "destroyed" anything - I have created a scenario that I can observe and cop to.  It is my teacher.  The 10 pounds are merely a beacon - they are merely the result, and a very valuable result.  After all, the only difference between a winner and a loser is that the winner has lost many more times than the loser ever tries!

I stand here before you abject in my humanity.  It is time to return to the principles which made the book possible: Diet proof my life - with responsibility.