“Sweep on, you fat and greasy citizens.” — William Shakespeare (1564-1616), English playwright and poet As You Like It (1599), Act 2, Sc. 1 A
NGELA Haupt writes in US News & World Report (http:// health.usnews.com/) of seven “never heard-of ” diet tips that may be useful. Some people try to lose weight before the holidays, before they just “let go,” so to speak.
• Take/Bring pictures of yourself. There are two kinds to consider. In a weight loss program, one is the “Before” picture. If you’re obese or overweight, take heart. If that’s how you look now, so be it. After all, you’re working towards an “After” picture that shows you ten, twenty, thirty pounds lighter. Another kind of picture to carry around and look at, especially when tempted to get a tub of ice cream, or a box of doughnuts, is a picture you’ll call “Best Me.” This is of course a picture of yourself at either your thinnest or when you were at your best shape. This photo is an inspiration, a talisman if you want.
• Gamble on your weight loss. That is, make a bet with friends that you will lose so many pounds in so many number of weeks or months. If you’re a gambling person, a financial incentive makes you more motivated. • Fight food craving by distraction. Ms. Haupt’s original article talks of getting busy with a coloring book when a cookie craving kicks in. That’s keeping the hands busy instead of reaching into a box or bag of food. A more practical distraction is to reach for your smartphone and play a few games. Or text/Tweet friends. Anything – to forget food.
• Brush your teeth. The author of The Flexitarian Diet, Dawn Jackson Blatner claims that “a fresh, minty mouth can help quash pre-and postmeal nibbling.” Aside from that distinctive taste, I think that for most people, brushing teeth is a chore and would rather not eat only to brush again after.
• Take pictures of your food. If you’re not losing weight (or even gaining), take pictures. These should be your edible evidence – and thus, res ipsa loquitur: large softdrink, large fries, and a double-patty burger – and don’t forget the sinful dessert pie ala mode. On the other hand, if you’re feasting on grilled white fish with asparagus, take pictures too! You’re on your way.
• Use spices (and caffeine). Capsaicin, black pepper, ginger, mixed spices, green tea, black tea, and coffee have all been shown to have thermogenic effects. These will speed up the body’s metabolism and aid in weight loss.
• Practice refusing. Finally, the author suggests role-playing, which (to me) is a bit much. You’re supposed to practice refusing food. But just how do you that with a slice of chocolate cake – soft, moist, and covered with thick brown icing – in front of you? My take is the “eat this – not that” approach. That is, if you’re serious about losing weight, you don’t refuse food but choose the healthier alternative (smaller portion, sugar-free, water for dessert, etc.).