This new diet plan is easy, that’s its main virtue. The problem with most diet plans is that it is too difficult to maintain the mental composure for the rest of your life and after the effort of losing some weight it comes right back when you blink. In the long run if you eat more calories than you consume you will gain weight. The problem becomes how do you maintain a diet below your daily requirement for years on end when your body will eat right up to its full point and beyone every time it’s given the chance?
Once we are really committed to dieting we may be able to do it for a while, perhaps even a few weeks but one of the worst problems with dieting is maintaining an interest in doing it. I observed I could diet for a while but would soon lose interest after a few days so I created what I called The Probaway Ten Day Diet. The general idea was that anyone can maintain interest in a diet for ten days—so the obvious answer to the boredom problem was to change the diet on a scheduled basis. I was able to do this successfully for a whole year. On that Ten Day Diet plan web site there are literally thousands of on-line diet plans listed and probably every single one of them will work, for a while. The idea of the Ten Day Diet plan was to maintain a lifelong interest in dieting by choosing a new diet every month and practicing it for just ten days. It works and I know it works because I did if for a year and lost weight every month but now after being off of dieting for a year about half of the weight I lost has returned and I no longer have the mental energy to maintain a diet even for ten days. I suspect that is the problem everyone is having in a whole modern world because there is such easy access to abundant high calorie good tasting food.
A year ago on March 12th I attended a lecture by George A. Bray, M.D. author of Handbook of Obesity, where he maintained that calorie intake is highly variable from day to day but that the calorie intake when measured on a weekly basis and longer is the true measure of the balance between intake and expenditure of energy.
Everyone who has tried dieting soon learns that those diets that require mental discipline are doomed to failure, in the long run, even before the dieter starts. So a proposed new diet must be fun before it can become habitual and it must require no mental effort for to be maintained. An earlier proposed new diet was to eat food which expanded in the colon, or do something else there in the colon to remain resident there, without being unpleasant or being passed immediately. That way the person feels full sooner in the eating process and can stop eating before they have taken on excess calories. It is the end of a meal that is where the excess calories are taken on and therefore it should be a central point in dietary research. A person using this diet plan should have some easy motto such as:
“Don’t poop before you eat.” and “Eat some fibrous food with every swallow.”
That was my plan a year ago to fill up sooner and so stop eating sooner but this new plan is based on the idea of adjusting the eating set point. If we change our eating set point so we feel full sooner we can eat less and take on fewer calories. We can reset our set point by shrinking our stomach and intestines. That can be done with surgery and that is effective but it should be possible for more normal people to shrink their stomach, without surgery. That can be done by consistently never overeating at any given meal and when occasionally we do slip up and overeat a bit then we must become conscious of our eating for three days and be very careful for those next three days to under eat so the stomach and our set point can shrink back to a more desirable size.
You need to consciously undereat for three days after overeating just once.
I have noticed that after an evening out where I have less control over portion size and where I have more tendency to over eat that I get hungry sooner the next day. It can not be because I am hungrier than usual because I actually have more food in my belly it may be because my stomach has been stretched. It can not be because the outside meal had fewer calories or fat or sugar because those meals have more of those things than what I typically eat at home so this hunger the next day must be because the sensing system, either in my stomach or elsewhere got an enlarged set point. This next day also seems to be a time when I get an attack of anxiety-eating and I start snacking on nutty trail mix. This is healthy food but I don’t need it. It seems to be my mind that wants the food because my body certainly doesn’t need it. Perhaps I could develop the habit of every time I reach for the trail mix that I take a walk around the block. That would be complying with my suggestion a couple of days ago, When you think you are about to do something stupid—do something else. I will put a note on top of the trail mix to that effect to remind me. I just wrote a note on the back of a business card, If you don’t need this food take a walk. Right Now! I put that card in place and whenever I start to reach for the trail mix I will see that note and take a walk around the block. The idea is to bring this unnecessary habit to the forefront of consciousness and have a prepared appropriate response.
The other way to influence your eating setpoint is to intentionally stop eating sooner for a while. I notice that after I have eaten the first few bites of dinner that I am no longer hungry and that the rest of the meal may be quite enjoyable but the eating is no longer driven by the feeling of hunger but by something else. What is it that gets us to eat the last half of a meal? It isn’t hunger in the stomach? It is that last half that must we become conscious of and bring under our control if we are ever to bring our weight to where we want it to be.
Preplanned something else to do besides eating when you get half way through a meal. It could be anything but going for a walk around the block is easy and enjoyable expecially if you have a dog or other boon companion.