Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The secret to losing weight

Forget those crazy fad diets. You want to know the real secret to losing weight? Stop hanging out with your friends -- or at least stop eating and drinking with them.

Think about it: When do you do the most unconscious and/or caloric eating -- and drinking? When you are hanging out with your friends. (Btw, this applies to women and men equally.)

Don't believe me? Talk to the producers of and contestants on Lifetime's new hit "reality" show DietTribe. Or read this article from TIME about a report released by the New England Journal of Medicine that scientifically proved that friends make you fat.

Oh and Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts? They are not your friends. Sure those Gingerbread Lattes (350 calories for a grande), Peppermint White Chocolate Mochas (400 calories), and Java Chip Frappuccinos (460 calories) make you feel good, especially in winter time while chitchatting with a friend, but drink a few of them every week and neither of you will look so good. Same deal with alcohol.

But getting back to your human friends, here's another bit of not-so-shocking diet news: Your girlfriends are not really your friends, at least when it comes to dieting. Sure, they may say they totally support your quest to shed a few pounds, but they don't really want you to be skinny -- or, more accurately, skinnier than they are.

Btw, I'm not saying to lose your friends or stop hanging out with them. I'm just saying that if you are serious about losing weight, don't eat or drink with them. Instead, suggest the two or three of you go for a walk or a bike ride or do some activity together that does not involve drinking or eating.

Want me to reveal a few more secrets to losing weight, which I know for a fact really do work? Of course you do.

Stop eating your kids' leftovers and snacks. That theory that if it's not on your plate it doesn't have any calories? BS. So next time you make your kid breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner and the little cherub leaves half of it (or even a quarter of it) on his or her plate, just scrape it into the garbage. DO NOT EAT IT. And spare me the "But it's wasting perfectly good food!" or "What about the starving children in Haiti?!" excuse. I'm telling you: If you want to lose weight, scrape whatever remains on your child's plate at the end of a meal into the garbage -- NOT into your mouth.

Similarly, get your mitts off your kids' snacks. (And while we are on the subject of snacks, check out this New York Times article about Americans' obsession with snack food.)

My suggestion: If you are tempted to eat your kids' snacks, don't buy them in the first place -- or have your spouse hide them.

And for God's sake, stop baking cookies or brownies with your kids every (or every other) weekend! That's just asking for trouble.

And another thing, quit inhaling your food. It takes 20 minutes for your brain to realize you are full. So when you eat quickly, i.e., in five or ten minutes, you tend to eat more.

Don't have time for a leisurely meal? Just WAIT at least 20 minutes after you've had that initial sandwich or salad or whatever before reaching for more food.

Finally, lay off the diet soda. While you may think drinking diet soda instead of regular soda will help you lose weight, drinking diet soda can actually lead to weight gain. Don't believe me? Look at how many overweight people drink diet soda -- and are still overweight.

And before you start sputtering about all those gorgeous Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi and Coke Zero spokesmodels, do you honestly think those people actually drink the stuff on a regular basis -- and/or don't have a staff of trainers and chefs to help them keep their lean physiques? Puh-lease.

A final note: For those of who are bitching thinking "But J., you are skinny! What do you know about the Hell that is dieting and trying to lose weight?" I know a lot more than you think. Indeed, before I moved to Stepford [not where I live's real name], I was 10 sizes larger and 20 or 30 pounds heavier (which is a lot on a petite 5'1" frame). Indeed, when I was in my teens and 20s (and older) I was so "chubby" that people made fun of me and guys wouldn't date me.

It was only after I stopped with the crazy fad diets (I still miss you cookie-and-yogurt diet!), gave up drinking Diet Coke (I had a liter/day habit), stopped going out to eat all the time or grabbing takeout (the only items in my fridge? Diet Coke, milk, and popcorn), wolfing down my food (those competitive eaters had nothing on me), and started paying attention to what I was sticking in my pie hole and exercising for 45 to 60 minutes three times a week that I was finally able to slim down and, more importantly, keep the weight off.


The Daily Del Franco said...

This brings to mind the old Friends episode...

Monica: The camera adds ten pounds of weight.
Chandler: How many cameras were on you?

Dave S. said...

I can attest to the risk of weight gain as a result of becoming the Zamboni for kids' plates. I have put on ten pounds in a single year, which for those who know me is shocking.

Here is a cautionary tale from the world of sports.

Powaqqatsi said...

You really nailed it in the final 2 paragraphs beginning with: A Final Note.

@ Dave - have a bag of M&M's and a plate of sushi. Your too skinny! :P

verification word: subbo

mmm .... sub

EMM said...

As a single girl, alone in the city, I will have to brave the outside world of food and wine! Otherwise, I'd sit at home and eat copius amounts of pasta.

I will do my best and not become too much of a fatty-boom-ba-latti.