A second on the lips, forever on the hips?

From the Wall Street Journal, a story entitled “The Don’t-Let-It-in-the-House Diet.”


Dear Dan, 

This is a question you probably get asked a lot, as everyone seems to be on a diet. The question is: Why do we let the immediate pleasure of eating overwhelm our long-term considerations? Why do we sabotage our health? And how can we overcome it? — Dafna

The author (falsely, I believe) says losing weight is different from quitting smoking, in that we all need to eat.  But, once again, I submit what matters is what we eat, not how much (my food, primarily plants, weighs a lot).  Simple carbs and perhaps unhealthy animal fats promote overeating.

The author does a make a useful point on this issue of food choice:

So what can we do about this? The simplest approach is to avoid exposing yourself to the types of foods that may be detrimental to your diet. If you’ve no cake at home, you’ll probably eat much less cake. And if you replace that cake with fresh bell peppers, you’ll eat peppers because they’re available.

Another approach: apply strict, religious-type rules to dieting, for example that dessert is just not acceptable—or maybe that it’s acceptable only during the Sabbath.

Additionally, when we eat matters – eating breakfast and eating earlier in the day before getting too hungry probably promote weight loss.  Starve yourself by day, and you’ll likely end up raiding the fridge in the middle of the night – the worst!

Lastly, we should remind ourselves of our long-term goals.  Food journals/photos, weight and exercise recording, old pictures of our previous thinner bodies on the fridge can help.

And, as always planning!  Eat before going to the store; making a shopping list; eating something healthy before going to a reception with bad food choices…

Dr John Ellis MD

Board-certified anesthesiologist, with expertise in cardiovascular anesthesia and the implications of obesity and sleep apnea in anesthesia. See vascularanesthesia.com for professional information. Dr. Ellis has used the strategies in here to: (1) lose 120 lbs over 18 months, (2) stop all antihypertensive medicines, and (3) no longer need CPAP treatment for sleep apnea.

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