Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Boiled Down to Six Principles

Here's the list:
  1. Eat your favorite stuff
  2. Track what you eat
  3. Measure systematically
  4. Eschew variety
  5. Steer by your own weight
  6. Minimize decisions
It was surprisingly hard to boil my weight loss success down to principles, and I found I couldn't do with less than six of them. There they are.


am said...

That's certainly a well-boiled-down proven personal experience of successful weight loss.

My intuition is that these principles would lead to success for anyone willing to try them in order to lose excess weight unless that person experienced the phenomenon of craving when eating certain favorite foods. I had to refrain absolutely from eating some of my previous favorite foods because they triggered insatiable craving that made me feel miserable unless I ate more than I planned to eat. What I found through that process of refraining was a new set of even more satisfying favorite foods that don't trigger craving.

For years I've been eating only my favorite stuff, tracking what I eat, measuring systematically, eschewing variety, "To Mine Own Self Being True," and minimizing decisions. My weight has remained stable. I enjoy eating. I enjoy good health.

Can you write more about "Steer by your own weight"?

Is that in the spirit of the Buddha's words, "Be your own lamp"? Am I understanding that principle? Something along the lines of "To Thine Own Self Be True"?

Thank you for so generously sharing your experience.

Dale said...

Thanks Am!

Yes, I too have foods that are only satisfying when overeaten. Pizza. Oreos. Donuts. A satisfying amount of them runs to a ridiculous amount of calories, so that without fasting for a day or two there's simply no way to fit them in. I'd given up all those things a couple years ago, before I started this round. What good would one or two slices of pizza be? It would be a mockery. So yes, there are a few things I just don't eat any more.

But just in general, my method was to go on eating my usual things I liked to eat: just reining in the calories enough to lose a pound a week. So there was always a meal on the horizon that I was really looking forward to: an omelet with sour cream in the morning, a hamburger and half a milkshake at night. Gradually, gradually I just got tired of my favorite stuff, and when I got tired enough to want something new, and swapped something else in, it was usually something less calorie-dense. So that now I'm eating something that looks rather like a healthy diet, without ever having forced it.

By "steer by your own weight" I mean that your own weight loss should be your guide as to how much you should eat. If you lose your target amount (say a pound per week), keep doing what you're doing. If you lose less than that you need to eat less; if you lose much more (say two pounds) you should eat more. (These are just example numbers. I think a pound a week is reasonable for most men; 3/4 pound a week might be a better target for most women.) As opposed to just aiming at some abstract number of calories pulled out of a book, which might or might not result in the weight loss you want. (This way too you totally avoid "plateaus." If you're not losing weight you just keep reducing your intake, week by week, until you are losing your target amount. It basically *has* to work, if you follow the algorithm. I never hit a plateau longer than a week, in the whole 60-some weeks of the process. If I was going to put this work into it, by God I was going to get the payoff! :-)

am said...

Thank you for the clarifications, Dale!

Finding out for oneself which foods to eat or not eat works well. It doesn't work to eat or not eat a food based on someone else's experience.

I can see how "steering by your own weight" works to avoid the extended plateaus that happen when one is steering by someone else's determination of calories per day.

It occurred to me in the last 24 hours that there is a 7th principle that is part of my story. It is the principle of freely sharing one's transformative experience with others.

Understanding that those who have struggled with their weight throughout their lifetime may benefit from hearing what I did that ended that decades-long pattern of struggle that began during my childhood, I try to tell my story in as simple a manner as possible. I am one human being speaking to another human being on equal ground, with no expectation of financial reward.

Dale said...

Yes, I'm trying to figure out whether I want to write a little book about this. I wish I'd had such a book thirty years ago. But I don't really know how transferable my experience is, and I particularly dislike missionary zeal about weight -- I don't want anyone to lose weight unless they want to, for their own damn reasons, which are nobody else's business. A how-to book morphs way too easily into a thou-shalt book.

Unknown said...

"Steer by your own weight" immediately brought to mind sailing, as in "stars to steer by." But I thought of tonnage and a keel instead of stars. One needs some bottom, metaphorically speaking, to move across the weight-loss seas. I steer by not by the seat but by the waist of my pants. I'm too cheap to buy new clothes if I can help it.

Dale said...

Clothes are an excellent tracking method! :-)