A Reasonable Dietary Goal for Today

by | Nov 1, 2015 | Weight control

For each day.

It is reasonable for overweight individuals to want to become thinner, both for reasons of personal attractiveness and for reasons of health. The former motivates most people, but the latter is probably more important. Being fat has less of an effect on physical attractiveness than is usually supposed. (Just look around at everyone who has successfully paired off despite being fat.) On the other hand, the effect on health is underestimated. Being overweight predisposes to a number of illnesses, including hypertension, diabetes, sleep apnea and others. Fat persons often die prematurely and sometimes in unpleasant ways, such as by a stroke. It is one thing to be accepting of those who are overweight, it is quite another for they, themselves, to be accepting of their condition. They should not give up hope of dieting successfully just because it is so hard.

The goal for dieting is not just to lose weight, but to maintain a healthy weight and also to live in a healthy way. Essential to both is exercise and adherence to a diet that has a positive effect on health. I have known very few dieters who have been able to maintain a lower weight without an exercise program that continues indefinitely into the future. A proper diet is a variation on the Mediterranean diet. (See my book “The Stuff Yourself Diet.”) All this is well-known. What defeats most dieters is an inappropriate attitude towards weight loss. The trick is not to lose a specified amount of weight during a particular period of time. (Just in time for summer or for a wedding.) If someone by a huge effort loses weight quickly—too quickly—there will not be time to develop those habits of eating and exercise that will be required to maintain that new weight. Success should not be measure by day to day variations in weight or by the magnitude of weight loss over a specified period of time. Success should be measured by adherence to a proper diet and to exercising properly. Therefore, you don’t have to wait six months or so to measure success. You can measure success every day!

If you dieted properly today, you have achieved success.

If you exercised properly today, (45 minutes to an hour aerobically) you have achieved success.

You can go to sleep tonight feeling good about your diet no matter what the scale says. If you do tomorrow, and the tomorrow after that, what you did today, you will end up at your proper weight. You should be satisfied, indeed encouraged, by a slow and steady weight loss. After three to four months of exercising, you will begin to like exercising. After three or four months of eating exclusively a proper diet, mostly vegetables, olive oil instead of butter, fish instead of meat and fewer breads and pasta, you will begin to prefer your new diet to your old. Most people regard their tastes in food as fixed, something like their height; but it is not so. We have been brought up to like certain foods—it is a kind of training—and we can train ourselves to like something else. I know this is hard to believe; but it is true. (c) Fredric Neuman Author of “The Stuff Yourself Diet.”