Wednesday, March 10, 2010


“Can’t the government do something about how obese I’ve become? I mean, it’s obvious I can’t do anything about it myself. I’ve tried diet after diet and I just keep getting fatter and fatter and fatter.”

“So what do you want them to do?”

“I don’t know. Something. I just don’t want to get any fatter even though I know I will. Could you pass me the butter, please?”

I watched as he buttered his second freshly-baked sticky bun with pecans, drizzled with a thick buttercream frosting. He washed each bite down with a huge gulp of Diet Coke®. He was on his third free refill.

The waitress came by and asked him if he was “going to have another?” I assumed she was asking about more soda since he was about halfway through his glass already. He told her, yes.

My assumption was wrong. It was another sticky bun.

“Thanks,” he said. “And could you bring me another Diet Coke®, please? Oh, and some more butter. Thanks.”

Okay. I’ve seen people eat huge amounts of food before, and not all of them were obese. In fact, in my teen years, I could consume massive quantities of food in one sitting, and I was fit and trim. But this spectacle was bordering on the ridiculous.

He started his breakfast with a bacon-wrapped sausage and waffle appetizer. Followed by the meatapalooza four-egg omelet, topped with cheddar and hot pepper cheeses and a hollandaise sauce. (The meatapalooza omelet included real bacon bits, three kinds of sausage, diced ham, diced Spam®, pepperoni, taco-seasoned ground beef, butter-sautéed onions and mushrooms, and gyros. Yes, and gyros). It also came with a huge helping of home-style, pan-fried potatoes drenched in “the best pork gravy east of the Mississippi.” On a separate plate, he ordered his chocolate chip pancakes with a couple pats of butter on each pancake, and he ordered the five-stack. He skipped the maple syrup. However, he dipped each forkful in a side bowl of warm strawberry compote.

I think we can all agree that this young man was eating way too much food, especially for a man of his size (I’m guessing near 350 pounds). And it was the wrong kind of foods, especially for someone who was complaining about getting fatter and fatter.

But the two things that surprised me most were not his size or the 49 pounds of food, fat and fizz he was consuming in “one” meal.

First, was his opening salvo, “Can’t the government do something…?”

Really? The government?

I’m certain we don’t need another bloated bureaucracy, tucked deep within the fatty folds of a Department of Corpulent Re-Education and Downsizing, to tell us (or force us to do) what we already know.

Second, was his lament that he didn’t want to get any fatter, “even though I know I will.”

And that is probably the primary reason he has, in effect, given up. He has undoubtedly endured more than enough failures at losing weight that he now mentally expects that he will just continue to get “fatter and fatter and fatter.” It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. He lives down to his expectation.

So for those struggling with extreme weight loss goals, here are three tips from my upcoming book on dropping 50 pounds or more.

Be Still. Take a deep breath and quiet your mind. The negative self-chatter that so often clutters our thoughts can damage our health as much as the negative eating can. Never “just eat.” Take a moment before each meal, and if necessary before each bite, to quiet your mind and be thankful for what you’re about to eat.

Be UnStill. While being still deals with your mind and emotions, being unstill deals with your body. You already know this, but I’ll say it anyway. Stretching to reach the TV remote is not exercise. Lifting your leg to find that M&M® you just dropped is not exercise. Bending down to get that bag of chips on the bottom shelf, is not exercise. And walking out to the car to drive out to the mailbox at the end of your driveway to get your mail, is not exercise. Check with your health-care provider and begin moving. And move a little more each day.

Be Aware. Do you know exactly how many calories you eat per day? Per week? Per meal? And I do mean, exactly. One of my favorite night snacks used to be a bottle of Wild Cherry Pepsi® with ten Ritz® Crackers topped with some aged Wisconsin cheddar cheese. I never bothered to actually count the calories, but I “figured” there were probably about 200 to 300 calories. And then one night, I really figured it out. My nightly snack, which I counted as “not being very much” was actually 795 calories. And if I had a second Pepsi® it was over 1,000 calories. Just for a “little” nightly snack.

This is by no stretch of the imagination, any sort of comprehensive weight loss system. It’s just a few tips to get started. These were the three tips that I began my pursuit to get from nearly 500 pounds down to my target weight of 210 pounds. You can do it.

Get started today.

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