|All original contents copyright 2018.
|So far, I have talked about myself and the general American population. Now it is time to talk about you.
In preparation for the upcoming chapters, I am going to ask you to complete a few exercises. We will use them
later in the book. Please really write down your answers, the process of thinking and committing the words to
writing has more impact than just imagining your answers.
First, make a list of ten major life goals. Do not over-think them, just write down things that are on your mind at
this point in your life. You may want to: dance at your daughter’s wedding, ride the Trans-Siberian Railway, hike
to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, earn a Master’s degree, write a book, pay off your house, buy a Corvette, or
whatever else is important to you. You can use this worksheet to write your goals.
Now, make a list of your ten favorite foods–even if they are bad for you. These are the foods that you would love
to eat in a perfect world where you are trim and fit and food does not make you fat. I am not talking about a list
that will make a nutritionist happy, but an honest list of the foods you love to eat when health and calories are not
My list looks like this:
2. Beer and pretzels
3. Mashed potatoes with butter and sour cream
4. Macaroni and cheese
6. Chicken enchiladas
7. Chips or crackers and dip
8. Pancakes with butter and syrup
10. Pasta with sauce
|Don’t forget the sauce.
Both in making your list of favorite foods and in deciding what foods to eat, do not forget that sauces, dressings
and side dishes can be a significant component of the main dish. For example, at a popular chain restaurant a
seven-ounce house sirloin has 280 calories. Make it a seven-ounce “Citrus Lime Sirloin,” by adding some
dressing, and the calories more than double to 570. Similarly, the amount of fat more than doubles, as does the
sodium, and the carb count goes from one gram to 33. At McDonald’s, a Premium Bacon Ranch Salad has 140
calories, but add a packet of Ranch Dressing and the calorie count jumps to 310 while the fat content more than
triples. Hot Cakes at the same restaurant sound pretty innocent at 350 calories, but add the obligatory syrup and
two pats of margarine, and the dish jumps to 570 calories. Sauces, dressings and sides can be a significant
component of your meal.
Make your list of favorite foods on this worksheet. Be sure to include the sauces and sides. For the time being,
ignore the boxes that appear before your favorite foods.
As a preliminary matter, look for patterns in your choice of favorite foods. Most people lean toward one type of
food or another. For me, it is the combination of grains, oil and salt that makes pizza and lasagna so attractive.
For others it is sugar combined with grain, or fried foods. Knowing these patterns will help you to identify your
weaknesses. We will work with this list later in the book.
Next, think about the health issues of your siblings, parents and grandparents. Every family is different, yours
might be subject to cancer, diabetes, stroke, heart attack, dementia, or a combination of diseases. Think of the
people who are living with these diseases. Think of the people who have died. Then ask yourself, what are you
doing to not suffer from disease the way that Mom, Grandpa, or Uncle Al did? What are you willing to do to not
become that person? Look particularly closely at your parents. They represent your genetic destiny. What are
you doing to not become your parents? We love to live in denial, but the reality is that without action,
chances are you will suffer the same fate.
Now, go back to the list of life goals that you made earlier in this chapter. There is a space for a check mark next
to each goal. Put a check next to every goal that you can accomplish without health.
Just about every goal requires health. Health cannot be taken for granted. However, this essential ingredient is
often ignored. We put health on the back burner while we earn a living. We put health off to another day while we
resolve relationship problems. We ignore health while we focus on family members. But we fail to realize health is
essential to reach our goals. Health is essential to support our families. Investing in health cannot be put off while
you work your way up the career ladder. You need health to climb that ladder. Health deserves as much time and
attention as all those other issues you claim make you too busy to become healthy. You will not accomplish your
goals or protect your family if you are dead. Health is the most important thing in life. All other goals follow
Finally, in this chapter, I am going to tell you a couple of stories, and then ask yourself to imagine yourself in a
particular situation. I am going to focus on diabetes, because it is an increasingly common disease and an
underlying cause of many deaths. I am also focusing on it because it is dramatic and often results in a
consequence short of death, one that I will ask you to imagine yourself facing.
Jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald was known as the first lady of song, winning 13 Grammy Awards, making more than
200 recordings, selling more than 40 million record albums and receiving honorary awards from two American
Presidents. Always a large woman, Ms. Fitzgerald was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1986. In 1991, she gave
her farewell concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall. In 1993, she had both legs amputated below the knee due to
complications from diabetes. She never fully recovered from the amputation. Three years later, she died.
Born in Utah in 1944, Larry Miller was a car dealer and businessman whose business empire included car
dealerships, radio and TV stations, movie theaters, the Utah Jazz basketball team, a minor league baseball team,
and numerous companies and investments worth more than $480 million. Although athletic when young, Larry
Miller was a big-bellied man. He was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the early 1990s. The diabetes caused a
2008 heart attack, kidney failure and in January 2009, he had both legs amputated six inches below the knee.
Less than a month later, he died at age 64.
Both Ella Fitzgerald and Larry Miller were highly successful and wealthy. Both were overweight. Both developed a
disease that could have been prevented by diet. On the day each faced amputation, what sum of money do you
imagine they would have paid to keep their limbs? They certainly would have paid a million dollars, and most
probably their entire net worth. Because it is a nice round sum, I am going to use the million-dollar figure. Would
you pay a million dollars to keep your leg if you were facing amputation? I would. Conversely, if you can achieve
fitness that allows you to keep your limb, you will effectively earn a million-dollars worth of health.
Now, think about the times you have been to the hospital. Think about the sights, smells and sounds. Were you at
the hospital for treatment, or visiting a loved one? Think of why you or your loved one needed hospitalization.
Other than child birth or accidents, for how many people did diet play a role in their being there?
Your hospital stay.
Imagine that years from now you have visited the doctor about problems with your right foot. Your diet has been
far from perfect, but not all that bad, you tell yourself. You are overweight, but not grossly obese. But despite your
rationalizations, your doctor tells you that things have gone too far and that you have a choice, to lose your life or
lose your foot. The surgery must be conducted as soon as possible and you are admitted to the hospital
Close your eyes and count backward from 20 to one. As you count backward, relax, and release yourself to
imagine this scene.
Imagine yourself reclining in a clean hospital bed. Listen to the beeping of the machines and the chatter of the
nurses at the nurses’ station down the hall. Think of the dull ache coming from your right foot and the
incontrovertible evidence the doctor has presented that it must be removed to save your life.
Picture the things you use that foot for–driving, working, playing sports, climbing stairs. Think how difficult life will
be, even with an artificial limb. Will you ever be able to run with your children or grandchildren? Will you be able to
walk in the mountains and see the Fall colors? Will you be able to hop out of bed at night to check on a noise, or
in a worse case scenario, to protect your family?
The leg must go, but ask yourself, if you could make a deal, what sum of money would you pay to keep it? If
money could buy health, would you pay a million dollars to keep your leg? And more importantly, ask yourself
what lifestyle changes would you make to keep that leg? Is there any food that you love so much, that you would
lose your leg for it? Would you try any diet, even if sounded odd, if it allowed you to keep your leg? Think deeply
about what losing a leg means to you.
Slowly count forward from one to 20, open your eyes and leave behind this exercise.
On the back cover of this book I made the wild claim that you could lose ten pounds in a day. The way to do it is
not to diet, but to eat with abandon. Eat the foods on your favorites list without regard to the health
consequences. Become obese. Ignore your doctor’s warnings that you are becoming diabetic. Ignore your doctor’
s warnings about foot care. When your lower leg is amputated, you will lose about 6% of your weight, more than
ten pounds for a 175-pound person. But I hope you will choose a better way to lose weight.
My father was a smoker for most of his life. Nothing made him quit. That is, until the day he received his cancer
diagnosis. Without a word, he quit smoking and never smoked again. He always had the power to quit, he just
never had the motivation.
Similarly, you have the power to become fit, you just have not made it your top priority. This book will provide you
with the tools, but it cannot provide the motivation. Only you can do that. Asking yourself to imagine losing your
leg–or losing your life–because of your health decisions introduces the first important premise of this book, that is
to make health a matter of life or death before it becomes a matter of life or death.
The right time to become fit is right now. People are full of excuses about job stress, relationship stress and life
stress. If you want a time without stress to improve your fitness, it may well never happen. The Simply Fit Diet
takes no special effort. Some dietary changes are involved, but there is no counting calories, measuring portions
or preparing difficult menus. You can eat all you want, and the food choices are easy. I will not even ask you to
quit drinking alcohol or coffee! The most important decision you will make is the decision to become fit. Do not put
it off. Start now.
|Fat, fate and free will.
The concept of free will underpins our society. Therefore, it is natural to assume that people know they can
choose to lose weight. However, a disturbing number of people (including some of my siblings) act as if fat is their
fate. If you believe fat is your fate, you are unlikely to change. Perhaps accepting fat as your fate relieves you of
the unpleasant recognition that you are fat because of the choices you have made. However, there are numerous
examples of people who have lost weight, from me (see Figure 3), to reality show contestants, and probably the
best example of all, the 10,000 people in the National Weight Control Registry who have lost an average of 66
pounds and kept it off for an average of 5.5 years.
As you start your weight loss journey, I encourage you to consider whether you believe that fat is your fate, or
whether you believe you can choose to lose. If you do not believe that you can achieve a healthy weight, it is
unlikely that you will. By having your values and goals in alignment, you have the best chance of becoming fit. In
order to choose to lose you must first believe you have a choice.
|Chapter 2. Let’s Talk About You