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Sensible advice that worked for me
on May 9, 2007
Last November, 16 months after my son was born I was still carrying an extra 45 pounds. I bought this book just after Thanksgiving, read it, and took the author's advice to just try three of his suggestions.
Five months later I have lost 35 pounds. And I am still losing.
The author's point is that we don't monitor every calorie. We can't. Instead we work with cues to decide what to eat, and when to stop. Understand the cues, and you can change them to lower your daily calories.
I enjoyed the tales of diet research, but I think what worked for me was the practical suggestions -- instead of trying to rein in my "emotional eating," I just bought smaller plates and started covering half of the plate with veggies. Sounds dumb, but now I serve dinner off of the salad plates, and I eat less without thinking about it.
I especially like the insight that cutting 10 calories a day for a year equals one pound. I used to think of 50 calories here and 100 calories there as not really important, but now I realize they were adding up. I apply this insight to seconds and desserts and snacks. I pick up a 50 calorie cookie and I ask myself -- is this cookie, right now, worth 5 lbs in weight? Occasionally the answer is yes -- and I enjoy my cookie. But more often I realize I'm not really hungry, I'm just eating the cookie because it is there.
I think I was unusually ready to lose some serious weight. And my weight loss has definitely slowed in the last month. I've only lost about three pounds, instead of the 5-7 I had been averaging. But overall I have never had such good, quick results from a weight loss regimen. I can't recommend "Mindless Eating" highly enough.
P.S. I would think that the opposite of the advice in the book would also work if you were trying to gain weight -- buy big plates, eat many small snacks, and so forth.
Update: I wrote this original post in May of 2007. It is now August of 2007. I have lost another 10 pound, which means I have now lost the full 45 pounds of "baby fat" I gained during my pregnancy. I have gone from an "obese" BMI to the high end of "normal" BMI. Now it will be interesting to see if I keep losing weight (I would like to lose another ten pounds.) But even if I never lose another ounce, I am happy, proud, and grateful to Brian Wansink for writing "Mindless Eating."