Over twenty amazing taste experiences to savor.
This is just a small taste of what you'll learn. There's a lot more to discover in the book.
Solving the Oprah Paradox: Why does Obesity Happen to Good People?
Over the years weíve all witnessed Oprah Winfrey's painfully public weight battles. Yet by almost every
measure she is more disciplined and more accomplished than most of us
even dream of becoming.
If, as many people think, being overweight is simply a lack of discipline,
then how can Oprah be overweight? Itís not possible. Reaching Oprahís level of
success requires almost unimaginable levels of discipline and dedication, yet
even she finds it hard to maintain her weight. This is the Oprah Paradox.
If you look at your life you will find overwhelming evidence that you are a
capable and competent person too. Although you may not be perfect,and most of us are not
as accomplished as Oprah, all the stuff you do in your life is actually quite remarkable. Yet we are
supposed to accept that in the area of food, people suddenly break down and
turn into incompetent weak-willed wretches who couldnít put a fork down to
save their lives. I donít think so.
There must be more to overeating than weakness. Think how amazingly
disciplined, strong, and capable you are in most every other aspect of your
life. The fact that you have problems with food means that deeper issues must
hide under the surface. The fact that the majority of people in the world will
have weight problems points to a deeper problem than mere human weakness.
Being overweight is not easily explained as simply a breakdown in willpower
Maybe, just maybe, discipline and willpower arenít the real issues behind
being overweight; maybe, just maybe, something deeper and more profound
is going on and once you understand what that is you can start controlling
your weight. That's what you'll learn in Your Designer Diet.
Just Eat Less and Exercise More is Wrong
Thin people often used to tell me, in that tone thin people have when they
are about to reveal the secret of losing weight, ďHey, just eat less and exercise
more. Itís that simple.Ē
Gee, how helpful. Iíve never thought of that. Thanks for sharing. Losing
weight has never been just that simple for me! Has it ever been that simple
for you? I didnít think so.
On the surface, that old favorite recipe of ďeat less and exercise moreĒ
canít be argued against. If you can ďeat less and exercise moreĒ you will lose
weight. But thereís more to the story.
In fact, you can eat a lot more yet eat fewer calories. In the book this is called
the Pump Up the Volume strategy. In this strategy you'll learn how you
can eat more and feel fuller, all for less calories. Isn't that a good deal?
And unfortunately exercise while important, isn't as effective at losing
weight as we would all hope. Exercise isn't a natural drive.
As you well know, it's very difficult to exercise consistently without it being
a drive. You notice there are no problems with eating consistently :-) Many strategies
in the book about show how to naturally get more exercise from your every day
Even if you do exercise more, that's not enough because: food has more calories than exercise burns.
A candy bar has a few hundred calories. Walking a mile burns about a 100 calories. We are
incredibly efficient survival machines. Work takes very few calories, which has allowed us to survive,
but it's tough on a diet. You can easily eat more calories than you can exercise off. In
the book we'll show how to turn the weight loss odds to your favor.
We all have a differing genetic tendency to burn calories
through non-exercise activity. This is called NEAT (non exercise activity thermogeneses)
score. Some people burn between 350-800 calories a day through fidgeting. That's 35-80
pounds a year! Overweight people tend not move when they don't have to. Thinner people
are up moving around. This burns a lot of calories. In the book we give lots of ways
to increase your NEAT and lose weight because of it.
Society is Wrong About You
Have repeated weight loss failures made you doubt yourself?
In our search for someone to blame for our weight problems, many of us
have at one time or another fallen into the popular, yet wrong answer of telling
ourselves: I am weak. I am a bad person. If I was only stronger and better
and had more willpower, then Iíd be thin.
This is what society thinks about us overweight people. This is what we
overweight people are told over and over again. We are bad. We are weak. We
Hogwash! Thereís more to being overweight than personal weakness.
After reading this book, you too will understand:
Society is wrong about you. You are not weak. You are not bad. You
are not unworthy. You can lose weight once you really understand
why Mother Nature has purposefully made losing weight so hard for
you. With this knowledge, you can then create your personal plan
for losing weight and staying on your diet for the rest of your life.
Being Overweight is Not All Your Fault
Here is a secret you probably already suspect and intuitively know down
deep in your heart: your hunger is real. Your hunger is not a figment of your
imagination and this means being overweight isnít entirely your fault.
Obesity grows from your biological drive to eat. Itís part of your nature
as an individual, as a human being, and itís also part of the nature of our
Hunger is a drive, like breathing and other processes your body automatically
performs for you. It turns out you have less direct control over your
own weight than you think, because weight is controlled subconsciously
through multiple body, mind and environmental systems. In the book,
weíll learn more about all these possible dangers and how you can protect
yourself from them.
Yet even given your powerful biological derive to eat, your willpower is
much stronger than you think. And in fact, only a few slip-ups a day may be
the cause of most of your weight problems.
Your Willpower is Better Than You Think
People just assume that because they are overweight their willpower
must be horrible. You might be surprised to learn your willpower is actually
Consider this: 200 extra calories a day, one lousy extra soda or candy bar
a day, can make you gain 20 pounds a year. Now imagine what happens when
slip-ups add up over the years. Obesity is what happens. Thatís all it takes to
edge into obesity: just one slip-up a day.
Why do you slip up? The threats. Threats are the forces that
cause you to slip-up and sabotage your diet. Over sixty different threats are
covered in this book. With all the threats working against you, one slip-up a
day is very, very easy.
Some Common Threats to Your Diet
Here are just a few of the more interesting diet threats:
- Obesity is about as genetically determined as your height. Most
genetic contributions to obesity make you hungrier.
- Weight loss triggers a starvation response that causes your body to gain all your weight back with a
vengeance. Thatís why 95% of people gain back all the weight they
- Junk food acts like a potent drug in your body.
- You may be wired to feel more pleasure from food and become
more easily addicted to food.
- Some people have more taste buds than average and these people
are thinner than people with fewer taste buds!
- You unconsciously eat more when food is closer to you or
when itís served from big containers. Youíll eat more even if the
food tastes horrible!
- You eat more from a bigger plate. Standard plates are now 50%
larger than they were in the past. Simply choose a smaller plate
and youíll eat less.
- Sleeping too little doubles your obesity risk.
- Exercise isnít a drive. You naturally want to rest. Yet some people
are naturally more active and these people are thinner.
- A highly contagious virus may cause some obesity. It was discovered
at about the time obesity started rising.
- Bacteria in your stomach may cause weight gain by more efficiently
extracting calories from food.
- Air conditioning may cause you to burn fewer calories because you
donít need to maintain your own body temperature. Air conditioning
became widespread about the time obesity started rising.
Threats like these constantly threaten to sabotage your diet, making you
fall off your diet time and time again. You are not consciously aware of most
of the threats, which makes them doubly dangerous.
Understanding the threats will help you overcome common misconceptions
about controlling your weight that may be holding you back.
Who would have dreamed the world of weight loss
was so bizarre? It's hard to image how complicated we humans are. This
means you canít explain someoneís obesity by saying they are lazy and have no
willpower. After reading about the threats, youíll probably think to yourself,
ďAh, thatís why losing weight and staying on a diet are so hard!Ē
How Do You Defeat the Threats?
You defeat the threats using the strategies presented in this book and by
applying the Designer Way principles. Strategies are how you overcome the
threats. If you can find ways of preventing slip-ups then you can control your
weight. Thatís what the strategies help you do, prevent the slip-ups caused
by the threats. The principles are powerful ideas for helping you make the
best use of the strategies. Weíll talk a lot more about threats, strategies, and
principles in the book.
Considering all the forces trying to spin your diet out of control, you do a
pretty job good of controlling your weight. You really do. Donít be so surprised!
But to do even better, you canít depend on motivation.
Motivation is Not Enough
Some say youíll lose weight if you are really motivated, no matter what.
People do lose weight, so motivation can work in the short run, but most
people gain the weight right back. Think about how many people, through
motivation alone, will never slip-up once in their entire life, once in a year,
once in a week, or even once a day? Answer honestly now.
Very few people can sustain enough motivation to stay on a diet every waking
moment of their lives. Thatís not a knock on people. Very few people have
the motivation and discipline to become world class athletes either.
Thatís why the strategies in this book do not assume constant motivation
and total control for success. You must learn how to control your weight
without depending on motivation. Motivation is not enough because of the
immense power food has over you.
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Food is Different from Everything ElseóFood Has Power
Weíve talked about how people who show incredible discipline in every
other area of their life somehow fail when it comes to food. What makes food
Food is different for a reason that should be obvious, but was still surprising
to me: food is the most important thing in your life, because food is
essential to survival.
Get lost in the woods for a few weeks and you wonít worry about sex, your
stock portfolio, or how you look. Youíll worry about food and how to get more
of it. Food is almost all youíll think about.
Tasty food reaches deep into your brain and makes you want to eat with
a real and true hunger. Food has power. The unlimited quantities of fatty
high-calorie and sugary foods available in our modern world are a constant
threat to make us slip up and gain weight. If you are prone to obesity, you will
often find yourself eating more than you want and exercising less than you
think you should.
Eating isnít something you decide to do. Eating is a powerful drive. Eating
is raw survival and your brain wants you to survive above all else.
The Problem: You May be Playing the Wrong Diet Game
For a moment, letís think of your diet as a kind of game.
What I have found in my research is that people are playing the wrong diet game.
They are playing the lose weight game instead of the stay on a diet game while
their body plays a completely different game called the survival game. People don't know
the real rules of the game. They don't know their real opponents. They don't
know the real game board. They don't know the real winning strategies. They
don't the real stakes. How can they ever win? My book teaches people how to beat the diet game.
Most of us have been playing the lose weight game without much success.
This is why the lose weight game isnít the one you need to play. Up to 95%
of all dieters gain back every pound they lose. And 65% of all Americans are
overweight and the trend is up, especially for children.
Dieting is not enough as Dr. James O. Hill, director of the Center for Human Nutrition said,
The popular plans only help you with weight loss. They don't help you with keeping it off,
and that's where the real issue is.
A recent study showed most diets
were about equally effective at losing weight, if only people could stay on their diet. The problem
is most people can't stay on their diet. The key is to pick a diet and stick to it.
But, how do you stick to a diet?
As a Type II diabetic who has been overweight for most of my life, I have learned how
to stick to a diet by researching proven scientific approaches and through hard won
practical experience. I have used the strategies presented in this book to lose over
100 pounds and to keep the weight off for many years. More importantly, I am in solid control of my diabetes.
Through the process of dealing with my disease I realized an original
approach for teaching how to stay on a diet was absolutely necessary and
could help a lot of people win their own health and weight loss struggles.
Sky rocketing rates of diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension in both children and
adults show how desperately unconventional solutions are needed. And it is not just the health risks
that are the issue, it's how personally devastated people feel by their inability to stay on their diet.
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Learn The 10 Designer Principles for Controlling Your Weight
The essence of how to control your weight is described in these 10 Designer Principles:
By following the ideas described in the principles, you
will learn exactly how to control your weight, in your own way, for the rest
of your life.
- Take responsibility.
- Understand your three natures.
- Identify the threats that sabotage your diet.
- Discover your strategies for defeating the threats.
- Follow the Designer Way for continuously improving your diet.
- Nurture your Designer Mind.
- Strive for improvement.
- Whatever works.
- Take the long view.
- Ask for help.
Principle 1: Take responsibility.
Many people have problems with their weight because they expect someone
else to tell them how they should control it. Unfortunately, that just wonít
work. We are all different and what works for one person may not work for you.
You have to discover your perfect diet for yourself and keep on discovering it
throughout your life.
Thatís why the responsibility for your weight is ultimately yours. Nobody
else can tell you which strategies will help you. Nobody else can notice when
changes in your life are making you gain weight. Nobody else can notice when
there are opportunities to make your diet better. And nobody else can make
the necessary changes in your life. Only you can do these things.
Many bad things happen to us in our lives. We do not ask for them to
happen and seldom do we deserve them, yet it is still our responsibility to
deal with them. Being prone to being overweight is just another unfair bad
thing we must learn to deal with. The good news is youíll learn exactly how
to control your weight in this book.
Principle 2: Understand your three natures.
When you understand your three natures: your nature as a human, your
nature as an individual, and the nature of how your environment influences
you, then controlling your weight becomes common sense. That common
sense helps you control your weight by building on your strengths and sidestepping
your weaknesses. Everything in this book flows naturally from
understanding your three natures.
You may not believe that now, but think of it this way: When your car
goes too fast you put on the brake. Braking is just common sense because you
know how to drive. In the same way, once you understand your three natures,
controlling your weight becomes common sense because youíll know exactly
why and how losing weight is so hard. It then becomes clear what you can do
Modern humans are in an epic struggle with our ancient hunter-gatherer selves.
There is a largely unconscious and hidden war going on with our bodies that we are losing.
We are ancient highly tuned survival machines thrust into a modern world of plenty where
every instinct drives us to obesity. What is emerging from research is a view that weight
gain and obesity are likely given the mismatch between the modern world and our ancient hunter-gatherer selves.
We are built to survive a world of scarcity and high activity. We were not built
for the modern world of plenty where tasty, high calorie food is available anywhere
at anytime in unlimited quantities while at the same time very little exercise is
necessary to earn a living. It is possible in this supersized, low-activity world
not to be overweight, it is just very, very, very hard.
This is a crucial, freeing insight that people need to know about themselves
because it makes the difference between feeling like a total failure and someone who knows
they have a hard but winnable fight ahead. Everything about weight loss being difficult
makes complete sense once we understand the life we lived 20,000 years ago compared to the life we live now.
The message is it's not all our fault we are overweight, that is just the way we
are built. Willpower is not enough. We are not moral failures. It's good to know there
is very sensible and logical reason for why losing weight and keeping it off is so hard.
As a human being you can
survive in any environment, outwit any threat, perform Herculean amounts
of work, and outlast gnawing periods of hunger. Unfortunately, these super
powers have a cost in our modern world. That cost is how easy it is for you to
As an individual, you have a unique nature that can both help and hurt
your weight. The problem is that thereís almost no way for you to know your
individual nature without experimenting on yourself. By experimenting you
can find your unique way of being overweight and in the process answer questions
like: Do you have a genetic predisposition to become overweight? Would
you do better on a vegetarian, low carb, or low fat diet? Are you a person who
naturally moves less? Nobody can tell you these things; you have to puzzle
them out for yourself.
The Designer Diet helps you to understand your nature. In this process, you
are connecting to a story that is as big as humanity. The knowledge you gain
helps you find ways of amplifying your own strengths and minimizing your
weaknesses. Youíll finally start working with your nature and not constantly
fighting against it. You arenít exploring your nature in order to highlight your
failings, but to exploit your strengths.
This is hard work. Itís hard to confront your weaknesses and work through
your failures. In the end, you become a better person for it. A great person is
someone who has triumphed over hardship and suffering. Thatís what makes
life worthwhile. Thatís what character is made of. On the Designer Diet, you
arenít just controlling your weight. You are also forging your character and
you are working toward becoming a great person.
Principle 3: Identify the threats that sabotage your diet.
Threats are the reasons you fall off your diet. You donít go quietly off your
diet. The threats push you kicking and screaming, but push they do. Over 60
threats are presented in this book and you can find many more on our website.
Some examples include not sleeping enough, having a genetic defect, living
in the suburbs, hosting a particular virus or bacteria, eating from big plates,
or simply having a body that doesnít like to move.
You donít even know most of the threats exist, because their effects are
out of your awareness. Yet the threats are active every moment of your life,
sabotaging your diet by tempting you to eat more and exercise less.
Weíll cover six key power threats:
- The Power of Starvation Threat. Your body has an incredible ability
to adapt to starvation by reducing your need for energy, making you
hungry, and filling your mind with nothing but thoughts of food.
- The Power of Genetics Threat. Genetics has about the same effect
on your weight as it does on your height.
- The Power of Food Threat. You fall off your diet not because you
are so weak, but because food is so strong.
- The Power of Rest Threat. You donít have a drive to exercise; your
instinct is to rest and conserve energy.
- The Power of Environment Threat. You probably wonít become
obese, even if your genetics make you prone to obesity, as long as
your environment makes it necessary for you to work hard or food
- The Power of Slip-Ups Threat. Small slip-ups over time equals
obesity. You make well over 200 food and exercise decisions a day
and research has shown as few as 50 extra calories a day leads to
obesity. A few bad decisions a day is all you need to gain weight.
We are each affected differently by each threat. Each of us is overweight
in our own way and is why you need to find your own way of losing weight that
fits your nature and your life.
Principle 4: Discover your strategies for defeating the threats.
The good news is, once you learn about the threats, you can figure out
your own ways to defeat them. These are called strategies. A strategy is anything
you need to know or do to control your weight. Some examples include
playing video games to lose weight, moving to a location that will help you
exercise more, finding ways to take more steps, using smaller plates, pumping
up the volume to eat more food for less calories, learning how to hide from
food, and creating a more favorable environment in your neighborhood,
home, school, and work.
Currently there are hundreds strategies to help you lose weight. Many are
covered in this book and the rest can be found on our website. Using simple
strategies, you can realistically lose a pound a week by making only small
changes to your life.
The strategies are organized into four major themes:
Lifeguarding stops you from being a victim of your thoughts.
Retrain your brain to stop the unwanted thoughts that make you
start eating and stop exercising.
The Joyful Eating strategies teach you how to eat less by enjoying your
food more. This is based on how your sense of taste works. You naturally stop
tasting food after a few bites, so eating more than a few bites of any food is a
waste of taste. Learn how to eat one glorious, delicious, perfectly eaten bite
of any food you want and you can be satisfied with just a few bites.
The benefits of this simple practice are many and surprising. Cravings,
restricted food choices, boredom, and eating too much are just some of the
reasons for falling off a diet. Joyful Eating solves all these problems in one
strategy. Joyful Eating makes it possible to eat any food you want in moderation.
You wonít have to restrict your diet to a small set of boring foods anymore,
the pleasures of the entire world of food are there for you to explore.
The Weight-Proofing strategies protect you from diet slip-ups by turning
diet danger zones into Safe Zones. A slip-up is when you eat more or exercise
less than you want because of the ever present threats that surround you. A Safe
Zone is a protected area you create in which you naturally achieve your goals
without relying on willpower every minute of the day. Using Weight-Proofing
strategies, you systematically remove diet slip-ups from your life by creating
ever widening circles of Safe Zones around you and your loved ones.
Weight-Proofing is about continually thinking how you can put yourself
in the best position to succeed at four goals: eating to your diet, burning more
calories, finding more joy, and preventing slip-ups. Weight-Proofing is like
baby proofing your home. When baby proofing, you remove every possible
way a baby might hurt themselves. When Weight-Proofing, you remove every
possible way you might fall off your diet. In the Weight-Proofing chapters,
you learn how to create Safe Zones for many important parts of your life:
personal, home and family, exercise, portion control, car, shopping, work,
school, and community.
The Lifeguarding strategies retrain your brain to stop the unwanted thoughts
that lead to automatic eating and urges to stop exercising. You donít have to be
a victim to your own random thoughts. You can learn to retrain you brain to
stop unwanted thoughts, because of something called brain neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity is the ability of your brain to change itself. Your brain is not
hard-wired into its current behavior and can be retrained to reverse the years
and years of bad habits that have been causing you to gain weight.
Principle 5: Follow the Designer Way for continuously improving your diet.
The key idea behind this principle is: if you keep doing the right things
youíll get the right results. The problem is figuring out the right things to do.
Usually the right thing is said to be something simple like avoid fat, but these
simple approaches rarely work.
The first reason diets donít work is because the chances are very high you
wonít follow your diet. You are not a computer mindlessly following instructions.
The odds are youíll make enough mistakes on your diet that over time,
youíll lose control of your weight.
Even following a diet perfectly is still not good enough. This leads us to the
second reason diets donít work. Strictly following a diet wonít work because
you constantly change, your life constantly changes, and your approach to
weight control needs to change along with those changes. If you donít adapt
your diet strategies as you change, youíll naturally lose control of your weight.
You canít do the same thing all the time and expect it to work when nothing
around you stays the same.
Here weíve finally found the deepest reason why your typical diet doesnít
work. We talk about ďcontrollingĒ your weight. Interestingly, how to control
things is a field of study unto itself. It turns out there are different ways to
control different types of things. These are called process control methods.
In the book we'll talk more about this interesting subject.
Right now, nobody on earth can tell you exactly what you will need to do
to control your weight. Sure, they can give you generalities like eat less and
exercise more, but what exactly should you as an individual do to eat less
and exercise more right now? To know that, you have to know your genetics,
everything thatís happened in your life and the results from all the different
strategies youíve used to control your weight. Only then are you in a position
to know how to control your weight.
What Iíve done is take the extremely successful and powerful control method
called the empirical process control model and adapt it to controlling your weight. Thatís why this
book is revolutionary. Itís a completely new approach for weight control. I call
this new process for controlling your weight the Designer Way.
A powerful way to think about being overweight is to understand that
there are millions and millions of ways for you to become overweight. Threats
are everywhere and they never let up. Yet, there are just a few ways for you to
become lean and strong. The process captured in the Designer Way is how
you sift through all the possible strategies to figure out which strategies are
your ways of becoming lean and strong.
Here's a diagram of the Designer Way:
The Designer Way has a steady rhythm of three actions that happen once
a week, once a day, and whenever the opportunity arises:
If you follow this deceptively simple process, youíll immediately notice
when a new threat enters your life. Once you notice a threat, youíll immediately
respond with a counter strategy. Ideally your counter strategy reduces
your weight again. If it doesnít, then work out why not and use what youíve
learned to select another strategy to try. By reacting quickly to reverse any
weight gain, you put yourself back in control of your weight.
- Start Spin. A time for reflection. Every week, take time to check if
you are meeting your goals, set new goals, and update your plan
on how you want to meet your goals.
- Daily Check. A time for quick response. Every morning, perform a
quick check to see if you unexpectedly gained weight. If you gain
weight, quickly respond by adjusting your strategies.
- Make a Move. A time for immediate action. Always look for opportunities
to prevent slip-ups, exercise more, eat to your diet and
find more joy in your life. If you see an opportunity to implement a
strategy, take it.
The secret of the Designer Way is to make small changes in your weight
control strategies in response to what is really happening in your life. The
result is your diet continually improves and that is what finally empowers
you to lose weight and keep it off.
This approach is stunningly effective and it described in more detail in the book.
Principle 6: Nurture your Designer Mind.
The Designer Diet is not just a list of goals and practices. Itís a mindset.
Itís a way of looking at the world. Once you make this mindset part of who you
are then your weight loss wonít be a one time thing anymore. Keeping your
weight off will be something you do naturally.
Why isnít the Designer Diet about goals? Because goals mean thereís a
finish line. There is no finish line. You are always trying to learn and improve
your diet. Thereís no peak to climb where you can shout ďEureka, I am done!Ē
The moment you think you are done the weight will fly back on and youíll be
Why isnít the Designer Diet a fixed set of practices? Because the Designer
Diet is a lifestyle, a mindset, a journey, not a destination. Once you understand
that, you can ease up on yourself and relax. There is no list of things for you to
do or not to do that will work for all time and every situation. You donít have
to run around looking for the solution. There is no one perfect solution for
weight loss. You canít be fixed because you are not broken.
Thatís the Designer Mind. Donít worry about goals or practices. Be steady.
Donít get too low when you gain a pound. Donít get too high when you lose a
pound. Just keep trying to do the right thing and over time your weight will
work itself out.
What else can you do? Give up? No, you canít give up. Can you eat less
than what you should be eating? No, your body will think you are starving and
do everything it can to make you gain weight. Can you exercise more than is
reasonable for you? No, youíll just end up quitting or getting hurt.
There is no escape from your weight problems. No magic can turn you
into a thin person. Weight problems are a natural and normal part of modern
life. That means thereís no reason to feel ashamed about your weight struggles.
Itís part of what it means to be human.
So, follow the Designer Way. Keep learning and getting better at your
diet. Thatís what it means to have complete responsibility for your weight in
the 21st century.
Principle 7: Strive for improvement.
Never feel satisfied with where you are. You can always do better. The
moment you start feeling youíve learned all there is to learn or youíve done everything
you can do is the exact moment youíll start gaining weight again.
At some point you are almost certain to think youíve got your weight
problems solved. Youíll abandon the Designer Way and go back to your old
habits. Well, you donít have your weight problems solved, as your scale will
soon tell you. So donít get down on yourself when a little weight comes back
on. Just pick up where you left off and keep going.
Feel proud and happy with your progress. But remember, progress isnít
a sign itís time to stop, itís a sign thereís more progress to be made in your
Principle 8: Whatever works.
Whatever works and be as extreme as you need to be is a good one line
summary of the Designer Diet. What will work for you? Nobody can tell you.
Nobody, not your doctor, not your partner, not your best friend, and certainly
not the media. Nobody can know how you feel inside or how your body will
respond to different strategies. Believe in your own experience to figure out
what works for you.
To know what works youíll have to experiment with different strategies
using the Designer Way as a guide. Donít feel bad if a strategy doesnít
work, but keep trying and be creative. Try something and see what happens.
Something will work.
When you do find a strategy that works, be as extreme as you need to be
to make it work even better. Donít feel embarrassed. If you need to hide food
from yourself at a table so you wonít be tempted to eat, then thatís just what
youíll have to do. Remember: whatever works and be as extreme as you need
The Designer Diet doesnít waste any time on the philosophy or the politics
of weight loss. It doesnít try to tell you what foods you should eat or stay
away from. It doesnít spend time trying to make you feel bad or guilt you into
anything. No, the Designer Diet is about helping you understand why losing
weight is so hard and then using that knowledge to explore all the possible
ways of losing weight that work for you and your life.
Itís completely practical. You try different things and if a strategy works for
you then thatís all that matters. What matters is what helps you control your
weight, nothing else is important. Ultimately you must make up your own
mind about what works for you.
Principle 9: Take the long view.
Nothing is more frustrating than your weight. It magically fluctuates
up and down for seemingly no reason at all. And itís so easy to let these little
failures make you depressed or angry at yourself. We often let so much anger
and disappointment build up in ourselves. Over time, constant failure often
becomes a deep point of shame and that shame can easily cause an ever
worsening downward spiral of dysfunctional behavior.
Let go of that anger, shame, and disappointment. How do you let go? By
having perspective. Step back and remember the great challenges you face
with your weight. You are a highly efficient weight gaining survival machine.
Your hunger is real, natural and expected. Controlling your weight was never
meant to be easy. And it isnít.
You will have weight problems. Thatís the way of it. That is your nature
as a human, your nature as a person, and the nature of the world you live
in. You are the way you are so youíll have the best chance of surviving in a
dangerous, unpredictable world. Thatís why there is no need to feel shame
or embarrassment. There is no reason to torment yourself. Weight control is
simply a problem most modern humans must now learn to deal with.
You can control your weight if you keep doing the right things and donít
quit. Nurture your Designer Mind and follow the Designer Way and you will
put yourself back in control of your weight. By immediately noticing any
weight gain, finding the cause, and then figuring out counter strategies, you
will get your weight back down again. You can always control your weight.
This is the long view.
Principle 10: Ask for help.
All the principles, threats, strategies, and ideas in this book arenít enough
to free you from your weight problems. Most of them arise from impulses
beyond your conscious control. These impulses canít be completely destroyed
because they are part of your nature. And if you give in to your impulses you
will gain weight and increase your health risks.
What you learn in Your Designer Diet is another way. You learn to be alert
to your weight problems. Being alert gives you a gap, a window in which you
can change how you would normally respond to the forces throwing your
weight out of control. That gap gives you the space you need to see possibilities
in your life you might not have considered before.
By being alert, you can choose to respond differently. You can respond
using strategies in this book, strategies youíve created for yourself, or strategies
youíve learned from other helpers along the way.
You canít be alert to everything. A lot of weight gain happens from unnoticed
life changes. Perhaps a change in jobs, a change in season, or a lingering
cold is the root cause of a recent weight gain, but you are too close to a situation
to see it. Or perhaps you notice a problem but youíve run out of creative
ideas of how to respond.
What do you do in these situations? Ask for help! Do your best, but sometimes
your best isnít good enough. Every problem can be solved with enough
dedicated and friendly people helping you. Someone will have an idea or suggestion
that will help you get your weight back under control again.
A Real-Life Example: My Unexpected Weight Gain
How do all the 10 Designer Principles work together to put you back in control of
your weight? A fair question. Letís look at an example of how I handled some
unexpected weight gain using the 10 Designer Principles.
One morning I was a bit shocked to notice I had gained weight. But through
my Daily Feedback System, which weíll talk about more in the Designer Way
chapter, the evidence was right in front of my disbelieving eyes. My clothes
looked and felt tight. And when I looked at myself in the mirror there was
definitely some extra flab around the middle.
I was more than a little confused. Why had I gained weight? I was pretty
sure I wasnít eating any more or exercising any less than usual. What was
I started thinking about what new threats may have entered my life.
Nothing came to me at first, but then it hit me: the weather had turned cold
and rainy a few days earlier. That was it. I wasnít getting out as much so I
wasnít burning as many calories as usual. I just hadnít noticed until my Daily
Feedback System gave me an early warning of a train load of weight gain
heading for me in the future.
I had my early warning so what was I going to do about it? I started by
making a few small strategy changes to bring my weight back down. The first
was to reduce my afternoon snack so I was eating 100 fewer calories. One
hundred calories is about a mile of walking and with the horrible weather it
would be hard to walk that mile.
I waited a few days to see how that strategy change worked. Using my
feedback system I determined that my weight hadnít dropped. And thatís really
excellent news! Not gaining weight is a huge win. Just think how much better
off you would be if you could just not gain any more weight. But I wanted to
lose the weight I gained, so I decided I needed to be more extreme.
Next, I spent 5 extra minutes a day on the elliptical cycle. After a few days
my weight was going down again. My clothes fit a little better, but it was clear
I wasnít losing enough.
I realized I had to move more, even though the weather was like a prison
cell with ropes of rain for bars. My strategy was to find more steps whenever
and wherever I could. I took the stairs more. I cleaned the house more. I got
up and walked more. I played with the dogs more. I did everything I could to
find more steps to take.
All these little strategy changes worked. My weight went back down. That
is, until the next problem popped-up causing me to gain weight again!
By finding the weight gain immediately and doing something about it
immediately, I kept my weight from ballooning out of control. Thatís a big
change from how Iíd handled weight problems in the past. Previously, I would
only have noticed I gained weight after I put on 20 extra pounds. And at that
point it was hard to do anything about it. Finding problems early makes them
much easier to fix.
This is just a simple example, but it shows how all the principles, threats
and strategies can work together. You can always keep your weight under
control by adapting to your changing life.
The Power of the System is Noticing Early and Acting Now
The true power of this approach is that it allows you to make things better
by finding problems early. Actively finding problems rather than being the
victim of problems is a real switch in the typical power relationship we have
with our weight. Usually we feel victimized by our weight. Following the 10
Designer Principles changes that.
You become the powerful problem solver in your life. First you find
problems and then you quickly solve them. Thatís the continuous cycle of
improvement that puts you back in control of your weight. You continually
improve yourself by making small changes in response to what is happening
in your life, seeing how it works out, and then making more changes.
You are learning by doing, which requires you to act. Donít worry that
you donít know everything and are unsure about what to do. Go ahead and
take action. Taking action moves you forward, helps you learn, and makes
you better and better at staying on your diet. Constant improvement is how
you reach and maintain your goals over a lifetime.
In this example, my problem was that I didnít notice the world had changed
around me. I didnít notice I was spending more time inside and that was all it
took to start the weight gain train in motion. You are always changing, your
life is always changing, and your weight is always changing. You stay in control
of your weight by quickly adapting to these changes.