On Friday, my girlfriend and I wrapped up the Tim Ferriss diet. There have been ups and downs a long the way, but we finished to entire month of dieting. To celebrate, we went out and had a nice tasty dessert at Septieme here in Seattle.
I have to confess, though. I am a bonehead. I did not count the days right and we actually ended up doing the diet for 33 days. A bit more than a month. Well, I never have claimed to be very bright.
On Saturday morning we went to my mom’s house for our final weigh in.
My starting weight – 160
My ending weight – 148
I lost a total of 12 pounds in 33 days with no exercise! Not bad for my first diet.
My girlfriend lost 9 pounds.
Overall this whole experience has got me thinking about obesity and weight loss in America. Being a fairly skinny guy myself, I never really thought about it that much. I just figured that if so many people out there were fat and struggling to lose weight, and if there were so many diets, “ab crunchers,” and “thigh squeezers” out there… well, it must be really hard to lose weight.
Yes, I know some people have glandular problems that make it difficult for them to lose weight, but certainly two-thirds of Americans don’t suffer from hormone imbalances and glandular problems. Could it be that all these people are just lazy? Unwilling to put in the work and eat right and/or exercise? Could these people just be unwilling to give up the Big Mac and put down the tankard of soda?
After spending a few hours poking around the internet, I’ve read a lot of theories. There are discussions about how overweight people are just “hungrier” than people at a healthy weight. There are theories about willpower. There are claims about how the majority of overweight people are workaholics and spend so much time in the office that they don’t have time to hit the gym or eat a salad and that (gasp!) healthy people are actually the lazy ones (after all if they weren’t lazy, they’d working 80 hours a week and they’d be fat like me, damn it!).
After reading all this, I really can’t be too judgmental. I am not fatuous enough to assume that I know every angle of the debate or that I have all the answers after a few Google searches. But I do believe that American’s are heavier on average because:
First, I believe that people eat too much. I don’t really know why people seem to think that they need to eat three massive Applebee’s-sized meals totaling over 1000 calories each, every day. I’m barely ever hungry and I usually only eat two modestly sized meals a day. Lesson: Eat only when you’re hungry and only eat till you are satisfied, not stuffed.
Secondly, I believe that people eat too much crap. In doing this diet, I have been reading the backs of food packages at the grocery store to make sure that I was following the diet and not accidentally eating dairy or flour or anything else. Have you ever noticed how for some reason food companies seem to have an obsessive need to add sugar or high fructose corn syrup to just about everything? Lesson: Watch what you eat and minimize sugars.
And Lastly, I’ve noticed that lots of people will find various weight loss programs or diets out there that may very well work. The problem is that instead of following the “proven system,” they succumb to their first craving for KFC and try to rationalize, bend, negotiate, or otherwise twist the rules around so that they can enjoy their guilty pleasures while on the diet. I am sorry, but you will not lose weight guzzling soda and eating Twinkies. Lesson: Stick to the plan. There are no shortcuts.
The diet was a good experience and I’m glad I did it. For me it wasn’t about losing weight, it was about testing my willpower. Though I must admit, I do feel a certain sense of ease knowing that I have the weight loss problem solved (for me) and if I ever find myself overweight, I know how to fix it without navigating an ocean of diet pills, celebrity-endorsed scams, and shady diets.