My Embarrassing Diet Confession
My shame is humiliating. Have I lost all credibility, too? About a month ago my wife Marianne and I launched this blog, Everageless.com, dedicated to living an ageless life. Pretty proud we’re zealously advocating anything at age 77.
Among the many elements of that advocacy is a commitment to weight loss and fitness. Makes sense, of course. How can you age defiantly and take charge of your life without the energy that obesity and lethargy drain away?
So there I was claiming the un-earned mantle of guru, outlining, with my most authoritative prose, my own diet creation “The Don’t Be Stupid (DBS) Diet.” Pretty catchy, huh? I made my living for 40 years as a branding guy, so I knew this could be a winner.
Why “Don’t Be Stupid?” Because everything about weight loss and fitness, while seemingly simple, is actually pretty complex decision-making with competing needs, emotions, barriers and distractions.
My contention is that, to be successful dieting in today's challenging environment, it helps to have a mnemonic (a memory-assist word or short phrase) that will remind you of what you want to remember when presented with a choice.
“Don’t Be Stupid” is the mnemonic of choice for me.
I can’t expect my 77-year-old brain to analyze thoroughly every eating decision on the spot. Should I eat this? Is it good for me or not? How many calories am I budgeted today? How much should I eat? How much will I regret eating it?
I attach my negative decisions about those questions to my simple mnemonic phrase “Don’t Be Stupid.” So each time I must decide whether that food or drink fits my goal, “Don’t Be Stupid” is shorthand for all those pre-thought-out reasons to say “No” or “Not so much.”
Makes sense, I think. But this past December, I blew it. In November I followed my own advice pretty well and lost 9 pounds on my way to my 20-pound weight loss goal.
But then came the holidays, on top of Covid-19 winter isolation on top of a difficult website launch.
For context, Marianne has published three recipe books on Amazon for comfort foods, cakes and other sinful desserts. So add together a bored super-baker, isolated from family and friends who were once the distribution network for all these goodies, plus a sedentary, isolated husband of said super-baker, an already established over-achiever at binging on his wife’s comfort food specialties and luscious baked goods, now frustratingly shackled to his desk chair trying to finish a new, high-tech website without an ounce of technical talent…
What could go wrong?
I must have said “Don’t Be Stupid” to myself a hundred times in December. Oops. Am I really this stupid? In life sometimes the bad guys win. I gained back five of the pounds that I lost crushing it saying “No” in November, only to fold like I couldn’t find my spine in December. Some guru.
But you know what? I’m following Rule # 6 of my “Don’t Be Stupid” Diet and getting back on track in January (I’ve already lost 3 of those December spineless pounds, and 2021 is barely getting started). What is Rule # 6? “Don’t Sweat The Missteps.”
Bad days, bad months happen.
Rigid plans breed intense frustrations. What counts is Rule #1 "Set An EMOTIONAL Goal." How much emotional importance do you attach to this goal? If it’s really important, you’ll do what it takes. If not, you may let it slide if it’s too difficult or uncomfortable or not the right time.
So I pay attention to Rule #1. I’ve already forgotten how many times I was stupid in December. No sweat. I feel smarter already.
My wife’s making her world-famous spaghetti tonight and I’m committed to just one meatball and to being able to see the plate around the spaghetti (Rule # 3 “Control Portions”). See… I’m already back to being the model for the world that I was determined to be.
Take the rear-view mirror off your life. Don't sweat the missteps. Look forward. Take charge of your life. And do it today.
Have an ever-aspiring, ever-ageless 2021!
Ken Smith is, at age 77, retired from 40 years as owner of a national marketing firm, and recent co-founder of a blog ( EverAgeless.com ) dedicated to living an ageless life.