if you want to lose weight, stop eating food.
if that sounds too extreme to work for you, though, you could try The Public Humiliation Diet that i found on the sports blog Deadspin -- okay, let's be honest, i didn't just stumble upon this article, as i don't frequent sports blogs. that's not the point.
in the article, writer Drew Magary describes how he lost 60 lbs in only five months (i want to lose 60 lbs by November!!! 110 is my perfect weight!), by following just a few simple rules. Magary also adds a heaping dose of humor, which always helps the medicine go down. for example, Drew's rule #5:
5. I didn't have seconds. I used to eat two plates at dinner, minimum. I'd spend my first helping thinking about my second, which is idiotic. It's the SAME FUCKING FOOD. Then I'd finish my seconds and hover over my wife's plate like a goddamn buzzard. Hoping she wouldn't finish so I could eat her food. I even ate her food a few times before she was done. Wives get fucking PISSED when you do that. I also had to get over my hatred of throwing away perfectly edible food that other people didn't eat. Nothing pisses me off more, but it's not like a Rwandan AIDS baby will get to eat it if I pass it up.
ignoring the writer's potty mouth, i think he touches on an experience common to many dieters and non-dieters alike: obsession with food. not in a foodie way, like "I love great cuisine," but in a way that you probably understand if you've ever been on a diet or had body image issues. thinking about food all day, almost as though it's background noise. planning what you're eating for dinner while you're still finishing lunch. shaming yourself for wanting something tasty but "bad," yet not being able to get that snack out of your mind. sound familiar?
i'm learning that in our culture, dieting isn't necessarily related to being overweight. many people are simply obsessed with food and eating. i'm still working on the details of my Americans-food-obsession theory, but for now i will posit that it is a type of psychological epidemic in our culture, but seen especially in people who have body image issues or who diet habitually for other reasons (sports, healthy weight loss, even weight gain, which caused my jock brother to obsess over food).
i, for one, have been on one diet or another pretty much every week since i was a high school student -- despite the fact that back then i was rail thin by nature and would not need to diet for another 6 or 7 years (of course, when my family told me that, i'd just roll my eyes or argue that i was fat; now i'd kill to have that metabolism back). that adds up to a decade or more of thinking about food all day, every day. this won't surprise anyone who has lived with me or dated me. and i'm far from alone.
i recently read a book entitled "Thin Is the New Happy," by Valerie Frankel. the surprisingly comical and enjoyable memoir chronicles Frankel's lifelong struggle with not only her waistline (which was never that large, frankly ... or frankely. ha.), but also her relationship with food and her obsession with dieting. despite the fact that Frankel is a middle-aged mother of two, i greatly sympathized with her. i appreciated her struggle with an almost sub-conscious habit of constant dieting and obsessing over food. this same struggle has been the subject of a recent episode of Oprah, as O has been promoting a book called "Women Food and God," which deals with that cycle of food obsession, dieting, and shame that Frankel chronicles. i haven't yet read that one.
"What's all this sudden weight talk about?" you might be wondering. well, these days i'm trying to focus on healthy eating and daily exercise, while also trying not to obsess over what i'm putting into my mouth, or be preoccupied with what i might put into my mouth later, or curse myself for what i put into my mouth last night (stop it!). i'm trying to stop thinking about food all day long. i'm also trying to stop viewing myself as morbidly obese, and remind myself that i'm still wearing my 30 waist Diesels from 4 years ago, and my 31 waist Sevens are even kinda big if they haven't recently been washed. ...all while trying to be more healthy and, frankly, to lose my beer belly. the first step is to stop drinking beer. maybe that should've been today's rule for life. i'll make that the next one:
rule for life #97
if you want to lose your beer belly, stop drinking beer.
vodka is less filling anyway. cheers!