February 7 – [Un]Common Sense

“[Common sense] is the best sense I know of.” Lord Chesterfield

Over the years I have encountered literally dozens of schemes for rapid weight loss. The grapefruit diet, the cabbage diet, and the Stillman diet come to mind. For that matter, so does the Atkins diet, and it’s cousin the South Beach diet. All of them promise rapid weight loss, and many of them deliver…for a very short time. There is a word for most of the people I have encountered who continually search for, and try out the newest fad, “miracle” diet. The word is obese.

Ask anyone who is reasonably bright whether anything in life worth achieving came easy. Ask them about things like College degrees, professional success, excellence at a hobby, musical proficiency, and so on, and just about everyone will tell you that their success was due to hard work. (save your story about some prodigy who picked something up and was instantly great. If that were you with weight loss, you wouldn’t be reading this blog) Many times they will be happy to tell you, with some pride, about their trials and errors along the way. It is widely, and very generally, accepted that success takes work. If you told someone they could be a violin virtuoso by taking a pill every day, or that they could earn their Ph.D. if they simply refrained from reading any books printed in paperback, they would call you a loony.

Success takes work. That is just pure common sense.

So, why do so many people believe that weight loss is easy? Why do they believe that if they just stop eating one kind of food, they will melt away? Why do they believe the snake oil salesmen (like Dr. Oz), who tell them that there are magic beans that will make them thin?

The truth is that losing weight takes work, and plenty of it. And I don’t just mean the work done at the gym. It takes work to plan and execute a balanced diet that has the right nutrition to fuel your body without having a surplus that gets stored as fat.

Lately I have been concerned about the Weight Watchers commercials on TV. Seeing Oprah Winfrey gleefully talking about how she eats “everything”, really makes me worry about whether the method I have dedicated myself to, and have found success with, is being misrepresented by a long-time yo yo dieter who now owns a portion of the company and stands to profit from people signing up, who expect dramatic, immediate, easy results.

Sure, I can eat any kind of food I want on Weight Watchers, and I do believe that is why it works so well for me. But, and this is the part I think is under-represented in the commercials, I have to consciously make trade offs in order for it to work. If I go to a Super Bowl party and enjoy the goodies, I better be prepared to either spend some days being very strict, or seeing the scale tic upwards.

I have said it before, and I will say it again. Weight loss is simple, but it is not easy.

Perhaps it is that people don’t want to face the reality in their life that their size and overall health are mostly of their own doing. When I weighed 350, it was easy for me to blame everyone but me. But, and I say this as literally as I possibly can, at no time in my life has anyone held a gun to my head and forced me to eat. Never! Not once! I willingly spent hours alone in my car in the back of fast food restaurant parking lots indulging in several days’ worth of food for lunch. I made excuses about why I drove off to Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Burger King, Arby’s, and so on rather than walking to the cafeteria and loading up on the salad bar. I convinced myself that the entire tube of Pringles I ate on the way home from work was cool. Along with the Peanut Buster Parfaits, and yes, the Kit Kats.

The funny thing about common sense is how truly un-common it can be.

I know there are some who find this blog on WordPress as they surf around looking for inspiration on weight loss and fitness. If you are one of those people, and you are looking for a fast fix, and you are still reading this far into this post, I beg you to stop lying to yourself, and to stop believing the lies others are telling you. Here are a few truths to consider (with apologies for repeating myself):

  • Weight loss takes work. Lots of it, and it is hard
  • You will have to deny yourself from indulging in everything, at the same levels that you did to get to your top weight.
  • Sometimes you will be hungry, and that is ok
  • Sometimes you will stumble along the way
  • But, and I say this with every drop of sincerity in my heart… you CAN do it!

Weight loss is hard, but it is worth it.

Bobby-C’s thought for the day…Everything achievement in life worth attaining takes diligent, intentional, consistent work. And, it is worth it!

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