Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Most Powerful Word In Weight Loss Is 'No'

Learning to GENUINELY say "no" is the key to lasting weight loss

Remember former First Lady Nancy Reagan back in the 1980's with her "Just Say No" campaign? She was attempting to help her husband, the late President Ronald Reagan, combat the growing drug problem among kids at the time by simply encouraging them to say "no" to drugs and alcohol. I remember how the press and Reagan's enemies had a field day over this supposedly "unreasonable" expectation for kids to "just say no" to something as tempting as drugs and alcohol.

Well, guess what people? If you are overweight or obese and sincerely want to lose weight and keep it off forever, then take a wild guess what you are going to have to do? That's right, you need to start saying "no" to some things. Aww man!

Livin' la vida low-carb is not about saying "no" to all carbs forever, but it IS about saying "no" to certain kinds of carbs that will prevent you from moving forward in your goal to shed those stubborn pounds that have stuck around even longer than your cousin Eddie who comes to visit you at Christmas. :)

Here's an illustration to help you visualize what I'm talking about on this concept of saying "no":

You're in a restaurant and the waitress asks you what kind of drink you would like. The first thing that pops into your mind is a Coke (NO!), but then you order a Diet Coke. When she returns with your drink, the waitress suggests an appetizer of some potato skins (NO!), however you politely decline.

You are having trouble choosing what you would like to order and the waitress again chimes in with a fantastic description of their Chicken Strips Meal deal with Mashed Potatoes and Corn as well as dinner rolls (NO, NO, NO and NO!!!). You choose the Chargrilled Chicken Salad instead without the croutons (GOOD BOY!) and she asks if you would like Thousand Island dressing with that (NO!), and you tell her you would like Ranch dressing instead.

The meal arrives and you enjoy every last bite of it when the waitress comes back again. This time she suggests you try for dessert their new dripping with fudge sauce Chocolate Cake a la mode (NO!) and you again politely decline realizing that you are staying committed to the low-carb lifestyle 100% by making good decisions about what you put in your mouth.

Was there anything particularly difficult about what transpired in the above scenario? Not at all. In fact, that's a pretty typical experience for me when I eat out at a restaurant and it has become almost automatic now that I've been livin' la vida low-carb for 2 1/2 years. It is ESPECIALLY important that you keep that "no" response ready at a moment's notice while you are losing weight because it means you are saying an emphatic YES to your weight loss goals. That's the best YES you'll ever hear, too!

I don't know why people get so strung out about having to say "no" to certain things just for a short period of time in order to lower their weight and improve their health. Perhaps they are worried if they say "no" long enough to something that they will stop desiring that food they love so much. AND WHAT WOULD BE WRONG WITH THAT?!?! Isn't that precisely the point of saying "no" to ANYTHING you are addicted to so you can break the habit? Of course it is and that includes addiction to carbohydrates and sugar.

For me, I no longer desire to eat sugar except VERY small amounts on VERY rare occasions. I probably eat about as much sugar in a year's time that I used to eat in just a week with my old way of eating before I started livin' la vida low-carb. That's because my desire for sugar has waned so much that it actually REPULSES me now where it used to give what I thought was the ultimate pleasure. Now I realize sugar was ruining my health and was at the root of why I became so morbidly obese.

"No" is the most powerful word in weight loss and it actually gives YOU back control of your body. You are not at the mercy of those Fritos or Doritos any longer. That bag of Oreo cookies or package of Twinkies isn't the master of YOUR domain. YOU have taken back complete and neverending control of the wheel of your life and nothing will decide what you allow to go into your body without your permission. Make up your mind right now that you will REFUSE to give up control EVER again for yrou dietary habits. If you do that earnestly, then you will reap the rewards of weight loss success.

There are NO EXCUSES for NOT saying "no!" Say it with me now -- "NO!" Say it again -- "NO!" One more time -- "NO!"

See, saying "no" isn't so hard to say when you KNOW why you say "no." You know? :D

5-11-06 UPDATE: One of my regular readers e-mailed me about the picture of that woman at the top of this blog post. While she was angry and upset about it being there at first, she now realizes it perfectly illustrates the point I was making in this column on saying "no" for weight loss.

Here's what she wrote:


I am a HUGE fan of your blog. I have read your book twice. I gave it to a friend of mine to read. I read your blog everyday...sometimes several times a day I check to see if you have posted something new.

Today you posted a picture of a very large woman with a blog about saying NO. I read the entire blog, but couldn't get the picture out of my head. You have always talked about the way obese people are treated and judged and that woman looks absolutely miserable. She appears to have posed for that picture and I am sure she had her own reason for letting it be taken.

When I saw the picture I was at first disappointed that you posted it because I immediately thought she was being made fun of or exploited. But then I read the post with it and that made sense. I looked again at the picture and it made me get up and go walk...something I had decided I wasn't going to do today.

I just had very mixed feelings about the picture....I don't want to reach that size so I know I have to make the changes you talked about and move more which I did, but I felt sorry for her because the look on her face is one I can see in the mirror some days.

My response to my reader was this -- MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! Keep on livin' la vida low-carb! And pray for people like this woman to find a way out of the obesity trap. It can be done if they want to say "no" bad enough to their old habits.


Blogger Unknown said...

I almost never eat out, and am never "suggested" items.

My problem is eating 1850 calories a day and still feeling like I'm starving. In case you think that's not enough calories, trust me, it is: my resting metabolism was tested at only 1600.

5/10/2006 8:55 PM  
Blogger Darleen said...

When eating out I let the waiter or waitress know right up front that I follow a low carb diet and ask what they suggest. Sometimes it's good and sometimes they don't have a clue. I pick the protein I want and ask if there are substitutions for the starches (there usually are). Make sure the ice tea is sugar free and I'm good to go. My husband and I usually order an appetizer each and split a meal. This has worked out perfect for carbs and cost. I think most important is that you don't feel limited by what is on the menu - almost all places will change things around to suit your needs - just speak up and ask.

5/11/2006 6:45 PM  
Blogger Jan said...

Hi Jimmy,

I loved this article and the image and posted about it at my Think Slim blog

As I said there "So many of our weight problems are a result of saying "Yes" too many times - not just "Yes" to more food but "Yes" to too many obligations and activities so you don't have time to plan, shop for and eat good food and you don't have time to move your body as much as you should."

Your blog is always refreshing - I love that you don't pull any punches about all the nonsense that goes on in the weight loss world.


5/15/2006 2:08 AM  

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