Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Diet Schmiet. This is not about diets. This is not about weight loss. This is just about walking and feeling better.

Look around. Most of America is overweight - but somehow we all get around. It could be better but it could be worse. The focus of this blog is walking and feeling good. If you happen to lose a few pounds along the way, well, you probably won't complain. Right?

Why do I not talk about diets? Diets are unnatural. Diets are temporary and mind boggling. Diets are confusing and hard to follow. Ultimately, diets make us feel bad, requiring an AA (attitude adjustment) every time we 'break' the rules. Life's too short for that.

That said, if you are, in fact, on a diet, we won't ostracize you. We'll like you anyway. Some of us MUST follow a diabetic, low salt, or other physician-ordered diet. That's fine. Stick with it. The reasons for those diets are specific and will lead you to a healthier life. In fact, some of them are downright lifesavers.

I have to tell you about my husband's secretary. Three years ago, at age 52, she had a major heart attack. This was a woman, mom to four grown sons, who smoked, drank oodles of coffee and soda every day, lived on highly refined food (read fast food), never exercised, and had a bad family history for heart disease. She wound up staying in the hospital 10 days and spent another week or so at home before being able to return to work part time - then full time. During her imposed nicotine abstinence, she was forced to quit smoking (and gave herself a $200+ raise a month). When she left the hospital, she had a consultation with a dietician who instructed her on a low fat diet. This woman has followed this diet to a T. She never varies. Since the day of her heart attack, she has eaten no red meat, consumed no caffeine and no fast food, has eliminated calorie laden snacks from her diet, and cooks all her own meals. She lost about 20 pounds right away but has lost no more in the intervening three years. Why is that? Well, she did NOT start an exercise regimen which was also physician ordered at the time of her hospital discharge.

I have never known anyone to follow a diet the way this woman has. It has been remarkable. After her initial weight loss, when her weight plateaued, she complained that she was losing no weight. I told her that further weight loss would only be achieved with exercise. I gave her my one mile Leslie Sansone tape since I have moved beyond that. She cannot complete that one mile even though she is active at work all day! I told her to use the tape as a guideline and just do what she can. She walks to that tape only a couple times a week so it has not been very effective for her since she does no other walking outside the office.

So, diet is okay - but it's not the answer. Weight loss is possible with a diet - but will not be sustained unless further action is taken. That action is, quite literally, action - moving one's body. Walking is the easiest and least taxing. Walking is easy, accessible, normal, natural, and very efficient. If this gal would walk that one mile a day (15 minutes), she'd continue to lose more weight since she follows her diet so strictly and has done so for three years this month (December, 2008).

So, what about you? Do you think Atkins will change your life? Is Weight Watchers your path? What about South Beach, the cabbage soup diet, low fat, low carb, low everything? Bottom line is that diets don't work because as soon as you go off the diet, you regain the weight - UNLESS you have incorporated a plan of physical action to enhance your lifestyle. So, walk it off!

But remember our Prime Directive - it's about FEELING good! Do it because you'll feel better even if you never lose an ounce. The 100% guarantee still applies.

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